2021 40 Under 40 award recipient: Emily Babson

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Emily Babson. Courtesy 616 Media

Emily Babson, 34

Director of organizational development and leadership training

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

Prior to being offered her current role, Emily Babson was a recruiter on Mary Free Bed’s talent acquisition team. She had been in that role four years, but it had become very apparent only a small portion of her job was recruitment.

“I was spending most of my time in talent development, mentoring and coaching,” Babson said. “Although it wasn’t in my job description, I naturally became the person people sought out for professional development, mentoring and advice about exploring career advancement opportunities.”

Mary Free Bed previously used a national consultant to conduct its customer experience and leadership training, but Babson became such a champion of these initiatives, the organization decided she should run it.

“It was initially intimidating, because this new role required me to hold Mary Free Bed leaders accountable for our leadership expectations, and at the time I didn’t have experience being a formal leader within the organization,” she said. “I asked one of our senior leaders, ‘How am I going to influence people who have been doing this longer that I have?’ Her response? ‘You already have, and now is your chance to show us formally what you have in you.’”

In winter 2020, Babson was tasked to lead the opening of the organization’s COVID Vaccine Clinic.

“From writing the documentation needed to become a vaccine provider on Thanksgiving Day, I knew that what I was doing was completely outside myself and would affect thousands of lives,” she said. “I felt so honored that our executive team thought highly enough of me to put probably the most important project of the decade in my hands.”

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