What’s your spark? This profile is part of a summer series on dreamers and leaders in New Hampshire.
Dr. Holly Mintz, chief medical officer of Ambulatory Services for Elliot Medical Group, always knew she wanted to be a pediatrician.
“I loved science and math,” she says. “I love working with kids, so it was a nice and natural progression for me to go into the medical field.”
And while pursuing that dream led her to a career and life in the Granite State, things didn’t exactly go as she planned. She grew up in Washington state, and after graduating from the University of Washington, she had her heart set on attending medical school. She wasn’t accepted.
“For me, that was absolutely devastating to not be accepted at my college alma mater,” she says. “I really thought it was the end of the world at the time. I was 21, and I was very settled in Washington, and it just seemed to me like the end of the world. I wondered why I wasn’t good enough to get in there. Why didn’t they want me? I reflect now, and I can’t imagine myself in any other place. It is like this was the path I was supposed to take.”
She moved east to Syracuse, New York to attend medical school, and she completed her residency at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital. Mintz learned about a job opportunity in New Hampshire at Elliot Pediatric and applied. 25 year later she continues to learn and grow with the Elliot Health System.
“I always expected to move back to the northwest,” she says. “My path and significant other at the time wanted to come to New England. This was the most random decision and move I could have ever done. We didn’t know anybody, and we didn’t have any family here.”
The decision to accept and go for this random opportunity brought her more opportunities.
“I think a lot of people kind of have a path they are determined to achieve,” she says. “I never really imagined that I would be in the position I am in. Things might not work out exactly as you think they might, and that’s okay.”
Mintz says she has welcomed opportunities, and they have led over time to her current role in the community. The greatest lesson she’s learned from those experiences is to live in the moment – and that it’s okay for plans to change.
“I feel I have really benefited from leaving my heart and mind open,” she says. “Just really enjoy the experience, learning from the experience, and seeing how many opportunities that has opened for me. I share this with my children a lot; keep your heart and mind open.”
Mintz said challenges and rejection helped her learn and grow.
“Don’t let those small barriers get in your way, because there are other ways to pursue your dream,” she says. “Everybody will have to face some kind of barrier or adversity. Be brave enough and have faith enough in yourself that you can pursue and succeed. It is not always going to be smooth sailing. Opportunities will come into your life if you just be open.”
Mintz wants to continue to make a positive difference and says she feels grateful to work for an organization that is completely committed to the community.
“Since I have been here, I have had the opportunity to watch Elliot go through an enormous number of changes in growth, and I am so proud to work for an organization that is committed to the mission of serving their community. I have watched us expand services in pediatrics, trauma services, cancer services, and behavioral health services. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”
Over the past five years, Mintz has also done international volunteer work, but her calling is to help more in New Hampshire.
“I realize there is so much need in my own back yard,” she says.
As a leader, she’s focused on improving her communication skills and outreach.
“I think especially over the last year, I think the most important impact was being able to communicate,” she says.
Now, Mintz and her family consider New Hampshire their home.
“We love it here,” Mintz says. “We love the community. My favorite place is Lake Shore Park at Lake Winnipesaukee. It’s so peaceful, and the community is so warm and loving, and it’s quiet. It’s the one place I truly feel like I can put things down and look out at the lake and just reflect.”
As for the next dream, Mintz says she would like to be an actress: “I still have some hopes.”