Translating between technology and people to provide better care for veterans
Shika Reynolds solves complex problems—no matter the situation. As a medical systems manager at Leidos subsidiary QTC, an Army veteran, and a court-appointed advocate for at-risk youth, she has solved challenging medical, research, business, and community issues. In these distinct roles, she leans on her experience, her critical thinking skills, and the support from her family, leaders, and team. With an undergraduate degree in biology and a master’s in organizational leadership, Reynolds thinks like a scientist who sees failure as an opportunity for innovation.
“I see the potential for more,” Reynolds says. “I like to play around with things and not give up just because the first method we tried didn’t work, but to really study it and learn from the mistakes.”
Military Service and Advice for Career Transitions
Reynolds is a fourth-generation military service member with family members who work in healthcare. Inspired by her family members, she served in the United States Army Reserve as a platoon sergeant in a combat support hospital and as a licensed vocational nurse. During this time, Reynolds performed hospital administrative duties and directly cared for patients. When she considered the next step in her career, she initially thought she would pursue a job in a defense research laboratory. But when a QTC recruiter found her resume online and reached out about an open position, Reynolds was excited to consider a different path.
Instead of focusing on a direct and obvious career path based on education and military experience, Reynolds advises veterans to think more broadly about how skill sets and passions align with the next step in their careers.
She explains, “As we identify what we’ve really enjoyed in education in the military, we can do our own query to find out if the job we are considering is maximizing the things we enjoy the most.”
Rethinking and Exploring Creative Solutions
Her colleagues at QTC noticed Reynolds’ passion for solving problems, and they promoted her to a project manager role after two years. In her current position as a medical systems manager, she’s like a translator between technology and people.
She manages a team that uses software to convert medical forms into usable formats. The forms enable medical examiners and health practitioners to report information so that people in government roles can determine service members’ readiness or any healthcare and disability benefits that soldiers or veterans are entitled to receive.
Additionally, she works on the company’s initiatives for artificial intelligence (AI) and process improvement. For example, she is exploring how to use AI to save time by sifting through large amounts of health records to find what she calls “a needle in a paper haystack.” All of her work involves rethinking processes and going beyond the status quo to provide the best possible care for service members and veterans.
“We’re exploring,” she says. “We’re going to have to tinker around a bit. We’re going to have to be inventors.”
Uplifting the Community Through Advocacy
Outside of work, Reynolds extends her innovative mindset to uplifting and supporting vulnerable people in the community. She volunteers as a guardian ad litem through a program called Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Through this volunteer program, Reynolds represents at-risk youth and advocates for them through the court system.
She mentors a teenager who enjoys reading, writing, drawing, and painting, so she makes sure the court’s decisions support his love of the arts. Reynolds also advocates for his preferences for housing, schooling, and medical services that support his needs as part of the LGBTQ community. She also exposes him to new experiences and teaches him life skills, such as how to drive a car.
“I think the world can be a better place if we take one person at a time and help them realize that there is another way,” Reynolds says.
“There’s not just one way to get things done. There are many different paths. The challenge is to figure out where they are and how they open up.”
Reynolds was recently chosen as a Health Employees Recognizing Others (HERO) peer-nominated award winner. She was selected for this award for supporting Leidos’s mission, values, and for her exceptional contributions at work and within her community. Reynolds embodies and showcases key values of loyalty, selfless service, and integrity within and outside of her normal schedule at Leidos.
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