July 23, 2012

Rebecca Stewart

AGE: 38

TITLE: Director of Media Relations

COMPANY NAME: Hartford Hospital

COMPANY'S LOCATION: Hartford

RESIDENCE: West Hartford

What do you do? Most people knew me from my previous life in news at Fox CT and as a columnist at the Hartford Courant. Making the switch was a bit scary, but it has been incredibly rewarding over the past two years to take those skills and apply them in a totally new way. As the director of media relations at Hartford Hospital, I've been blessed with bosses who are creative, strategic thinkers — who encourage my own creativity. So I've been able to do so much more in this role than even I anticipated when we created this job. I'm the primary liaison between reporters and our experts. Spending ten years in news means that I have a true understanding of what reporters need, so I can prepare our experts to deliver. My job is to make sure we share our story, and that people have a window to see the miracles that happen within our walls each and every day. It's a great job, because I get to meet and share the miracles of amazing patients, their families and their remarkable physicians. All of whom inspire me each and every day. As part of our plan to tell our story in unique ways, we also created the Hartford Hospital News Service.

What do you want to be doing in 10 years? I love what I am doing right now. In a perfect world, I'd be able to expand the news service/production company to produce more award-winning documentaries. We have so many amazing stories that could come out of our hospitals, and we only see a fraction of them. My perfect job would allow me to tell them all. I also see far more video in the future of health care — people have so many options and they need to be educated before they make these vital and important decisions. Communications and patient education are vital parts of health care. I like to think that my job is and will continue to grow, an important piece in educating the public, spreading the message so that people know what's available to them.

What is your biggest strength? My ability to think quickly on my feet. I think that comes from years in a newsroom, of having to get information, digest it — and make sure it makes sense to the masses. It has to be accurate, honest — and it's always on deadline.

Where do you go for new ideas? I think the best ideas come when you take a moment to pause and listen. I like to think of myself as a constant student, an anthropologist. I'm a voracious reader – books, newspapers, magazines. I am always reading and learning. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to chat with people and get to know them. Some of my best ideas come from chatting with friends, family members or even perfect strangers who may not be in the same industry at all.

What is the best advice you received? Think big; and live your dream.

What service or charitable cause has your attention? There are two causes that have touched people I love, and these are the causes I hold dear: domestic violence awareness (Interval House) and the Melanoma Research Foundation.

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