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Powerful Women: Let's Talk – 76: Jane Gietzen

Jane Gietzen
Jane Gietzen
Jane Gietzen

Jane Gietzen, director of information services for Spectrum Health, is our guest on this edition of Powerful Women: Let’s Talk

Jane Gietzen is known for her community service, leadership and service to her employer, Spectrum Health, as a director of information services. She holds important certifications, roles on boards, and is a stellar distance road cyclist. We ask her about her life and her story her on this edition of Powerful Women: Let's Talk.

Powerful Women: Let’s Talk is created by WGVU NPR and made possible by WGVU NPR sustaining monthly donors. Become a sustaining monthly donor now at wgvu.org/donate to support WGVU NPR’s local programs, including Powerful Women: Let’s Talk.

Full Transcript:


Intro: produced by women about women Powerful women. Let's talk is a series of interviews with women who are trailblazers and have helped shape our world transforming who we are and how we live.


Shelly Irwin: Jane Gietzen is known for her community service leadership and her service to our employers spectrum health as a director of information service. She holds important certifications roles on boards and is a a stellar distant road cyclist we ask her about her life and her story on this edition of powerful women. Let's talk. cyclists versus, biker right?

Jane Gietzen: Yes,

Shelly Irwin: we'll talk more about that. And of course, you moved 27 times. How can that be possible?

Jane Gietzen: I don't know. But I don't miss it. The joke is the next move will be in an urn.

Shelly Irwin: I wasn't going there. But I'm glad that this is one of your last stops. You been with spectrum what since 1999?

Jane Gietzen: Yes, just celebrated my 23rd anniversary yesterday.

Shelly Irwin: Yeah. Nice. What's it mean to be a director of information services.

Jane Gietzen: Well, right now my responsibility is to lead a team of amazing people that are supporting and building our clinical systems for all of our frontline providers and nursing staff and allied health professionals and it's a big responsibility. What we do matters. It's awesome.

Shelly Irwin: Was this your roadmap? Did you know at this point your life, you would be this director.

Jane Gietzen: No, I did not. I just wanted to go to medical school when I was a child and now having the opportunity to hang around with providers every day. I'm glad I didn't do that. But I can still contribute in a really meaningful way. I started in industrial engineering in the trucking industry and then had to pivot career in software business and again interviewed to get off the road and have been at spectrum ever since.

Shelly Irwin: And back to those 27 times of moving what would have been a a highlight of a place. You lived.

Jane Gietzen: Well that they all were amazing places and contributed to my life in different ways. But I would say the highlight is moving back to Grand Rapids

Shelly Irwin: Good You are a leader in this community and it's your job…how did this get developed in your life.

Jane Gietzen: Great question. I think I just gravitate towards being able to make a difference in life and hope to take people along with me in that journey.

Shelly Irwin: What do you look for in your leaders.

Jane Gietzen: I really look for people that are empathetic accountable. And when I think about accountability, I think of it as a inside out behavior. It's something that's within us. Not necessarily that you can be held accountable. But you are accountable by nature and just the authenticity, which is something I've learned over the years

Shelly Irwin: is it true leaders wear red?

Jane Gietzen: of course Absolutely. Yeah, the power suit in play today. Yeah.

Shelly Irwin: Is that true?

Jane Gietzen: That leaders wear red? No

Shelly Irwin: that it's a strong color for it?

Jane Gietzen: Absolutely is a strong color. I I will say since I've been working at home since March of 2020. My attire isn't the same as it would be in person. But I'm still think I'm effective.

Shelly Irwin: How was working at home for you and your family and let me add that you are also a community member. You had to probably give something up for these these couple of years.

Jane Gietzen: Yeah. It's been an interesting journey and I think we've gotten a lot better at it over time and really being able to be with each other in a different way. But our whole team is working from home. So we've had to get really creative in how we interact and how we plan and how we work together and that's gone very well. We have really smart people and very creative people that are always figuring out new things and new ways to interact. As for my community boards, most of them went virtual. And you know, every board met board construct is a little different. So it's been a learning curve for those that don't aren't like me that work on this every day. But it's again, been a Good journey.

Shelly Irwin: Yes. Community service. Yes. Important in your life. How did that. Get developed again by moving around so much. How could you have…did you ever have a mentor.

Jane Gietzen: My ultimate settling in period was when I moved back to Grand Rapids and started contemplating adopting my girls from China. And I knew that their life experience would be very different than mine. And so I started exploring the issues of racism and the impact of racism and all the different constructs that we have in this community, both education and neighborhood development, etcetera. So if you really trace down my board service. It's all connected to that desire to have justice

Shelly Irwin: tell me about your girls and that opportunity to adopt.

Jane Gietzen: I have 2 amazing adult daughters

Shelly Irwin: they’ll always be girls to you right?

Jane Gietzen: Yes, they and I can still see their baby faces. I look close enough. They're they're amazing young women and they've had a great journey. They came to us as a young, very young and 9 months and 10 months respectively. And the I think the one thing that I sort of underestimated the impact of that of that first 10 months on them in their life. And so we've had to do a lot of work as a family to kind of overcome some of that early rauma. But it's been a wonderful and growing journey.

And we're all very close. They don't live at home anymore. But we see them often

Shelly Irwin: nice tell me about the B word. The balance word. Has it been easier or harder with these past couple of years with meandering things from home.

Jane Gietzen: I actually find balance maybe an artificial construct. And I like to think of it more as integration the way that I have done that traditionally when I have been on the run in pre covid world is is really bringing my passions together. So for example, I often bike with a good friend from work. So I know it's amazing that we could make it through a bike ride without talking about work that we we really couldn't. So that idea of integrating my passions, bringing my girls into some of my community work and that that's kind of how I see balance. And that has gotten a little easier in covid just because it the demand for events etcetera is just much lower.

Shelly Irwin: All right. What was your first bike?

Jane Gietzen: The first bike was a huffy sting Ray with a banana seat remember those?

Shelly Irwin: Yes.

Jane Gietzen: And then my second bike was one. I saved up for with all my allowance and when I was in late elementary school about a 10 speed which I had all the way through college because I get my miles on my bike. And for me, a bike is freedom and it still is to this day.

Shelly Irwin: Yes. Did you seek. Out that that passion for the bicycle or did it just come as you did. I'm an obviously looking at how does one find their passion or their own bicycle for lack a better metaphor.

Jane Gietzen: So I put that biking on the shelf for a while and then took it back up. And when I got that got back on that bike remembered, all those feelings from being a kid and just being able to get on my bike and go somewhere. I like going places on my bike not just riding around in circles, right.

Shelly Irwin: Alright 27 times you've moved. But you've been a bartender tell me a story.

Jane Gietzen: My favorite bartending story is I worked for a. Fairly upscale restaurant in Newaygo and it was a family business. Not my family. But I was injected in this family business. I started when I was 15, you know, in that restaurant

Shelly Irwin: that was illegal to bartend

Jane Gietzen: no I wasn’t bartending then but I worked my way up to bartender And I think my favorite story that I use often is I unfortunately had to make the decision to Stop serving somebody who had had too much and that person did not react well to that to that scenario. And I'll never forget as long as I live at the end of the day, my boss came up to me and said, you know, you've done the right thing when somebody reacts in that manner and I use that so often in in many things I do in leadership. When you get a very defensive reaction, you're probably on to something.

Shelly Irwin: you self described yourself as an introvert. You are a community leader businesswoman you were a bartender How how does one parallel an introvert and these these activities you done.

Jane Gietzen: So when I think of being an introvert. It's kind of where I get my energy from. So I live with an extrovert who if we go out to a party or something of that nature. She will come home and can't sleep for, you know, days or hours at least I on the other hand, am exhausted. I enjoy it while I'm at it, but it it takes takes energy away from me. I recharge mostly on one-on-one conversations like this or interactions with a very small group of people, then I get more charged up. So the bartending thing as an introvert was that I could have that one-on-one sort of face to face conversation. The other benefit. I had a big slab of wood between me and that person.

Shelly Irwin: Well, that’s extra on that disclosure. What what do you hope for your girls in the future.

Jane Gietzen: I want them to have joy. And I think the way that you do that is you connect with what you care about and you start to pursue things that contribute to that. I'm blessed in a career that makes a difference in the world and I hope they will have that same option. My youngest one is very interested in social work. And my oldest one is a medical illustrator has very strong passion art performance and is engaged in all of that. So I feel like they're really moving very well towards those goals of being aligned with their passions.

Shelly Irwin: What's still on your dream list.

Jane Gietzen: we went to China with our girls. And I would like to do one more trip to China with them now as as adults and spend some time. There helping them sort of reconnect to where they came from.

Shelly Irwin: I can picture. All climbing the wall, right. We did that and we call it that great ladder because it's way steeper than it appears in many pictures. You have to have some fitness. When you do a trip to china

Shelly Irwin: what is your word for the year

Jane Gietzen: growth. We're going to be going through a lot of growth both at spectrum health as well as is in our family and As long as we're growing, we're striving.

Shelly Irwin: Any would have could haves? Or are you going to move forward. Jane Gietzen?

Jane Gietzen: No would have could haves, just marching forward.

Shelly Irwin: nice that’s exercise. Thank you, Jane Gietzen Thank you for this edition of powerful women. Lets talk continued success to you.

Jane Gietzen: Thank you.


Outro: produced by women about these powerful podcasts focus on powerful women in how their strength transforms who we are and how we live. Want to hear more powerful women. Let's talk get additional interviews at WGVU dot org or wherever you get your podcast, please rate and subscribe powerful women. Let's talk is produced by WGVU at the Meijer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU its underwriters or Grand Valley State University.


Shelley Irwin is the host and producer for The Shelley Irwin Show, a news magazine talk-show format on the local NPR affiliate Monday through Friday. The show, broadcast at 9 a.m., features a wide variety of local and national news makers, plus special features.
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