At Altru, Meghan Compton serves as Chief Legal Counsel, overseeing legal affairs, compliance and risk management, leading legislative advocacy efforts and advising the Executive Team and Board of Directors. At home, Meghan is a wife and mom to three superheroes busy boys.
We’re proud to share that Meghan was recently named to Prairie Business Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list, featuring 40 of the top business professionals under the age of 40 in the northern Plains. We recently sat down with Meghan to better understand what drives her everyday success.
Why did you choose to work in healthcare?
It encompasses innovation, change, challenges, learning and healing, all with the purpose of bettering our lives. Healthcare is an exciting and rewarding industry to be a part of.
What is your educational background and career history?
My first “real” job was in high school as an office assistant for an architectural firm. The firm was on the third floor of a restaurant that had a big brick pizza oven, so I came home smelling like garlic every day. I really loved that job.
After graduating high school, I attended college at the University of North Dakota. At the time, aside from a dream of being an artist the rest of my life, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I pulled out the academic catalog and started circling classes that looked interesting. With the exception of all the math classes, every class in the book was circled. At the end of my four years, I had double majored in Philosophy and Communications.
I had a great professor of philosophy in undergrad that helped me develop analytical skills, think critically and prepare me for law school. I went on to Law School at the University of North Dakota and near the end of my third year, I thought I better decide on a job and most of my colleagues were going into private practice… so I thought that was the natural path.
I started my career at a great local firm, but it didn’t take me long to decide private practice wasn’t giving me the energy I needed. It did, however, expose me to medical malpractice and health law. To my surprise, I was fascinated by healthcare and could envision a lifelong profession in this complicated industry. I started thinking about ways to gain experience and had an opportunity to start my healthcare journey at Altru in the Patient Safety Coordinator role. Looking back, it was that job that lit a fire in me and solidified my plan to make a career in healthcare.
What’s the best thing about your job?
There are so many bests, it is hard to choose. If I had to pick just one, it would be the people. We have great people who perform surgery, take great care of our buildings, nurse our patients back to health, make us good food… the list doesn’t end. They are all the best.
What has been the best day/moment of your career so far?
Well, that is a tough one, but the first one that comes to mind is November 8, 2017. We announced to our staff and community a New Era! I am so excited for the community, patients and our Altru team to design, deliver and receive care that is truly world-class. You can’t really beat that.
What do you feel has had the biggest impact on your career success so far?
Leaders. And not just those that lead “at the top,” but those that lead in all kinds of ways, whether it’s leading people, processes, passion or change. I never stop learning from all the talented people around me.
How do you measure success?
Honestly, I don’t know if I do. A person and organization’s job is never complete, so it can’t be measured by an end. Instead, I consider our willingness to grow as a way to measure success, being comfortably uncomfortable.
How has Altru supported you throughout your career growth?
Altru has allowed me to grow, change roles, take risks, lead and even fall down a few times to help me back up. It didn’t always come with a title, but whenever there was an opportunity to be a part of the work, I asked for it and my leaders and teammates supported that.
Describe your typical workday.
It’s never the same, with the exception of coffee! But that is the beauty of the work I do and in part, what I enjoy most (the variety of work… not the coffee, although I like that a lot, too). I spend a large portion of each day with other members of the Exec team, working on strategic initiatives, rounding with my own team and others, and probably most importantly, trying to help leaders lead.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
My husband and I have three boys who keep us on our toes. In the summer, we spend the majority of weekends at the lake, and in the winter, on the ice rink in our back yard.
Outside of spending time chasing after them, I love to exercise, travel and, when I’m lucky, talk my husband into a remodel project.
How does working at Altru support your lifestyle?
One of the best parts of this organization is our Altru family. Having a great team gives us the ability to spend time for our families, work from home when we need to, and take vacation when we want to. The key is flexibility!
Who is your main mentor in life?
I have too many to choose just one. Growing up, my parents drove me to believe I could do whatever I put my mind to, as long as I was willing to work for it. They did that not only through words, but through their own actions. I want to role model that same parenting with my own children.
If you had an extra hour every day, what would you spend it doing?
I’d spend it outside. Wouldn’t matter the season, I’d be active outdoors.