By: Beth Cox Hollingsworth, VGM Marketing
Everyone at VGM knows it, even Van Miller himself. The secret to John Gallagher’s success on the road is in the support he receives back at the office from his executive assistant, Emily Harken. Emily has 14 years at VGM, and a year and a half working with the government relations team. If you’ve been active politically, you’ve probably talked to her on the phone or via email. For you to get to know her better, we interviewed her about her job. Here’s what she had to say.
Beth: What’s your role in VGM Government Relations?
Emily: I’m the executive assistant and director of operations for the VGM Government Relations team. It’s my job to do what John, Mark and Tom aren’t able to do when they are out traveling and assist them with their projects and travels. I put together John’s PowerPoint presentations, schedule congressional meetings for providers and collect John’s thoughts for the Legislative Update. Basically anything that requires a computer or time at the office, I do! I also oversee our intern, Collin.
Beth: What’s it like to work for John, Mark and Tom?
Emily: The three guys have very different personalities that make it fun and interesting. It can be somewhat demanding because of the strict timelines. In government relations everything has to be done now!
I have a different relationship with each one of them that helps us get the job done. All three are fun in their own way. I get to hear the guy banter and political banter. They don’t all have the same view, so it’s fun to hear them go at it. But it’s rare that they’re all here together, because they’re gone so often.
Beth: What do you like best about your job?
Emily: I like to talk to HME providers on the phone and feel the sense that I’m helping them participate in the legislative process. I like to learn more about politics and the political process in general. In my past position at VGM, I didn’t do this type of work, so the learning curve has been steep. But now, more than a year into the position I’m surprised by how much I have learned and the types of things I’m doing on a daily basis.
Sometimes I get a little star-struck when I meet a politician in person. I’m guessing a lot of our providers feel the same way.
Beth: What has been your most rewarding project?
Emily: It’s not necessarily one project, but it is so gratifying when I score a meeting with a key legislator for our members. Hearing that the meeting was successful and hearing the feedback from the meeting from providers is absolutely the best part of the job.
Beth: What keeps you up at night?
Emily: The workload more than anything. We’re constantly jumping from one meeting to another, from one state to another. Keeping all of the details straight when I’m managing so many people and events can be difficult.
Beth: If you had to divulge a secret about working with John Gallagher, what would it be?
Emily: I think John himself will admit that he’s quite “The Diva.” When he’s on the road so often, he gets a little uptight when travel plans don’t go his way. I can’t blame him, because I know it’s stressful. But he’s definitely earned the nickname. Haha
Beth: What do you do in the free time?
Emily: My husband, Shark, and I enjoy boating on the Cedar River during the summertime. (His nickname is Shark.) I have a son, Sam, who is almost two years old. He’s a riot, keeping us on our toes all of the time. Balancing a busy work life and enjoying time with my family is my life. I’m also known to be a social butterfly, so when you’re in town, be sure to look me up!