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How To Be A Fierce Women In Healthcare That Drives Change ‒ Celebrating Women's Day

Written by: Julia Akinyooye RN MSN, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


To celebrate International Women’s Day, what better way to do it than to highlight women who are making a difference and becoming a beacon of legacy. So, this month, we celebrate and bring women who are making an impact to the forefront. Whether they are women impacting the community they serve, impacting others through their own businesses they, or in their professional careers, they are EXTRAORDINARY visionaries. As a healthcare business consultant and clinician, I especially want to highlight fierce women in healthcare! Women in healthcare have not only helped us navigate through the pandemic, but they have also risen to the top in their careers, all while being a student of life, pilar to many, and advocate to the underserved. Meet Dr. Casey-Ann Collins, specializing in OB/GYN, and Phyllis Williams, Associate Professional Counselor specializing in mental health matters. In my interview with these two fierce women, they spoke about the importance of creating paths for other women and how they achieved their own success.

two women smiling at camera

Dr. Casey-Ann Collins & Phyllis Williams MHP-LP, APC

Tell me about yourself, profession, company, what you enjoy doing when you are not working, goals and aspirations?

My name is Casey-Ann Collins. I am a doctorally prepared Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. I earned my Doctorate at Downstate Health Sciences University and my master's degree at Long Island University (C.W. Post). I reside in New York where I work for a premier OB/GYN practice called Garden OB/GYN. I currently specialize in Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as Dermatology. With over 12 years of healthcare experience, I am passionate and dedicated to providing optimal, compassionate, and personalized care to all my patients. However, working in Women’s health has been a huge blessing as I spend my days not only treating but empowering women of all ages and races to be the best versions of themselves. As a provider with Jamaican and Costa Rican roots, I take special pride in advocating for women of color and addressing various disparities seen within the world of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

My goal in life is to be the change I want to see. I have stood by this life motto by embarking on medical mission trips and enriching the community as I founded a non-profit organization called Operation Faith Filled and founded a mentoring/consulting program for nurses called Motivation Chase. When I’m not pouring into others I refill my cup with self-care (fitness, a spa day, church, etc.), spending time with loved ones, traveling, appreciating fine art, enjoying/dancing to good music, and finding moments in life to be grateful and laugh hard (it’s the best medicine).

What do you find is most important to working women who are professionals today? Are priorities changing?

I believe what is most important to professional working women is recognition and equal pay in the workforce. It is well-known women are underpaid in comparison to men, regardless of their credentials and experience. That being said I would encourage all women to use their voices to advocate for themselves when it comes to being compensated for their value and worth. About 80% of women make up the workforce in healthcare, don’t be afraid to ask for a raise or better benefits. If you bring value to that company you should be compensated and if that is not the case then it may be time to seek a new employer. Hopefully, companies will start to prioritize the fact that women sustain the economy and should be compensated appropriately just like men.

How can women better enable each other instead of competing? What needs to change in your opinion?

As women, we have to understand that there is room for ALL of us to shine and win. We have all been blessed with different talents, gifts, and skills that can be used in a special and unique way. Personally, I love supporting women as we are more powerful and impactful this way. An example of supporting another woman looks like showing support, providing encouragement, referring her to people who can provide upward mobility, or just a simple compliment or shout-out. These are all life-changing things we can do to inspire and lift up other women. I think we need to reverse the stereotype that women don’t support other women by utilizing a more collaborative approach when it comes to achieving success.

Best advice For the Rising Businesswoman

You have to believe in yourself, know who you are, and what you stand for first. I say this because as women the world will often assume that we don’t know what we want or know who we are. There is a tendency for people to want to make decisions for women so if you don’t know who you are you can easily be persuaded into unwanted situations. Secondly, find out what your niche is and use that as your superpower, no one can do what you do as you can right? So use that mindset daily, especially if you find yourself falling into the trap of comparison which is so easy nowadays with social media.

One of my favorite sayings is don’t compare your chapter 5 to someone's chapter 20, give yourself some grace, be patient, focus on your focus, and do what YOU do best my dear.

My last advice would be to step out of your comfort zone, put yourself out there, start networking, etc. this is all necessary for your personal growth and career advancement.

What do you think helped you get so far in your career? How can we mentor young girls to dream bigger?

My career path was built on faith, discipline, dedication, tunnel vision, resilience, and meeting women who become mentors and/or a vision of where I wanted to be. These women were essential as they provided the blueprint of what I wanted to achieve but also provided the inside scoop on the importance of sacrifice and achieving success. I want young girls to understand that they need to dream big but to also understand those dreams may come with sacrifice and require discipline that many may not fully understand in the moment but will understand later. We can mentor young girls by taking them under our wings, becoming their advisor and guide while still teaching them the importance of hard work and discipline, as there are no quick fixes or easy routes on the road to success.

Phyllis Williams Associate Professional Counselor

Phyllis, tell me about yourself and what you do.

I am an Associate Professional Counselor licensed in the state of Georgia and New York. I am also the proud owner of Tuyee Holistic Services LLC. A little bit on my educational background. I obtained my Masters in Science degree from CUNY-Hunter College School of Education with a concentration in Mental Health Counseling, in addition to my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. A little bit on my theoretical approach. I utilize an integrative approach to therapy by applying a combination of therapeutic strategies to fit the individualized needs of my clients. I specialize in the use of, but not limited to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Psychodynamic Theory with a Solution Focused & Person-Centered Approach.

What is your specialty?

I specialize in anxiety, depression, personality disorders, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, grief, trauma, post-natal trauma, relationship conflict & familial conflict, etc. I have experience providing individual counseling (child & adult), group counseling, couples therapy & family counseling in outpatient, inpatient & community-based settings. I have worked in various fields of mental health namely applied behavioral analysis, developmental disabilities, OPWDD, DBHDD, case management, community intervention, crisis intervention, evidenced based practice & private practice.

What are your thoughts on therapy?

Healing does not have to look magical or pretty. Real healing is hard, exhausting and draining. The best part about being in therapy is that you do not have to do it alone. The work begins when you leave my office. With my support, I strive for my clients to independently utilize healthy coping skills learned in sessions to apply upon daily interaction with others & themselves. I aim to provide effective treatment to clients while exploring the underlying causes of each client’s mental health concerns. With a modern holistic approach to therapy over time, we can break the mental health stigma in our society.

What is your most important diversity goal you or your company have right now?

As a biracial woman, born in West Africa, Ghana, mental health in the African community is deemed inappropriate, a taboo frowned upon. Often times we are told to “brush our problems under the rug,” “deal with it” or “let God do His work.” Over time, I have learned how damaging that could be to our interpersonal growth & mental health development. It creates built up rage, insecurities, complacency & delusional beliefs. My academic experience has provided me the tools to break out of that generational mindset & choose differently for myself & of my legacy. My company motto states, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” With the appropriate support, you can achieve the healing, happiness & peace that you desire but it takes work to get there and results do not happen overnight.

What do you think helped you get so far in your career? How can we mentor young girls to dream bigger?

Success comes with determination, perseverance & patience. Those are the 3 skills that have helped me in my career. To the young ladies out there, you have to believe in what you want and follow your dreams regardless of the negative feedback. Do not allow other’s biased opinions to deter you from taking that leap of faith. Life is full of risks. You will not know unless you try it. You have to want this more than anyone else. With that mindset, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

How can women better enable each other instead of competing? What needs to change in your opinion?

The unfortunate reality that I observed in our community is that women are in constant competition with one another. Instead of uplifting each other and sharing our resources & knowledge, we bring each other down. Power comes in community and unity, not with an individualistic mindset. Imagine how much more we can achieve in sharing the wealth. There will be competition, jealousy & snakes in the grass. Respond to them appropriately, professionally & morally. Say less, observe more & take note. You owe them no explanation. Set boundaries with those that critique your dreams & aspirations and those that show little to no support. Less talking and more action.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

If I could go back in time to give my 20 yr old self advice, it would be to save your money & invest. I would also tell myself that everything happens for a reason & every experience that you encounter is preparing you for your destiny.

To learn more about these two fierce women in healthcare follow for women healthcare tips.

Dr. Casey- Ann Collins

Phyllis Williams Associate Professional Counselor

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Julia Akinyooye RN MSN, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Julia Akinyooye is the Chief Operating Officer at Emmanuel Consulting Agency Inc, a premium home care business consulting firm based in New York. Julia is a masters prepared professional Registered Nurse with over 15 years of experience serving the home care community as an operational consultant, former homecare business owner, & serial entrepreneur. Her mission is to provide homecare entrepreneurs, start-ups, & established businesses with premium training & education to ensure compliance with state regulations. She has developed & implemented frameworks & strategies to set owners up for success through hands-on execution of all necessary business tools to ensure a seamless & efficient run of business.



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