By John Wallace
Northern Arizona Healthcare Systems Director Nicole Dhanraj, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, GPHR, CPPS, PMP, CRA, R.T (R)(CT)(MR), excels at her job and in giving back to the imaging community. It says a lot about a woman who stumbled into what has turned out to be a very successful career.
Her career began in a way that introduced her to radiology.
“Well, I really wanted to be a vet,” Dhanraj recalls when asked about how her career started. “However, circumstances led me to inquire what the military had to offer, and I guess I signed a contract and landed in radiology school!”
She is pleased with how things turned out and looks forward to going to work every day.
“Because I get to leave a legacy in radiology, leave radiology better than I found it,” Dhanraj said when asked why she loves her job. “I get to impact our communities through imaging and, most of all, work with a team who want the best for our patients.”
She said her approach to leadership is “vulnerable and authentic.”
“I recognize that I know that I do not know, so I am not afraid to ask for help of others,” Dhanraj explained. “I bring my all to the team. I truly care about them. My style is a combination of servant and transformational. I try to inspire through example and create a safe space so staff can approach me with any situation. I also want to create a memorable experience of their director, so I try to focus on developing connections so people can trust and have confidence in me leading them.”
On the other hand, Dhanraj said she has benefitted from the opportunity to work with some great individuals.
“My mentors have pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of. They have helped me build critical thinking skills, a strategic mindset and my emotional intelligence,” she said. “My mentors, interestingly, are raw with me, and I think that is critical because they don’t always sugar coat their words. They tell me as it is, push my limits and help me to break my own perceived barriers. I have been broken down and put together so many times, but in a good way!”
“I mentor the next generation of leaders through the MTMI pathways to leadership program, my manager, supervisor and the newer leads in my organization. I also have several people that I informally mentor, especially as challenges arise or they seek new opportunities,” she added. “I mentor health care dissertation students through Walden University.”
Dhanraj adds that she enjoys learning about other industries and borrowing techiques, ideas, processes and more and using them at work.
“I am like an octopus. I love to learn about various industries and learn new tools and techniques so I can apply to my current operation. I am proud of my diverse background as I think that has been the foundation to keep breaking my own ceiling of knowledge and expertise,” she said.
Away from work, she enjoys spending time with her family that includes her husband, four children, two parrots, two parakeets and a fish.