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RYAN Polly

Company: The University of Vermont Medical Center
Title: Manager Learning & Leadership Development  and Diversity
Age: 39


Favorite Part of Job: Seeing the impact my work has on both individuals as well as the larger culture and community. 


Most Inspiring Mentor: My childhood music teacher. I carry so much of his wisdom with me today. When I feel like giving up, I hear him on my shoulder saying, “reach for the moon and beyond, if you don’t make it, you’ll still be among the stars.” 


Tell us something fun about yourself that few people know: In 5th grade, I won the Southern California speech contest for my speech “The MABC” which described a vehicle that could convert from a motorcycle, airplane, boat, and car and could deliver McDonalds hamburgers in a compartment under the radio. 


What three words best describe you: Inspirational. Creative. Confident.


What song on your playlist are you ashamed to tell your best friend: Given my best friend is also my spouse, I’m pretty sure they know every song on my playlist. 


Favorite Downtime Activity: Cuddling with my two youngest children.


Favorite Social Media: Facebook (it’s the social media for those of us nearing 40). 


Person you would like to share a Vermont beverage with: If my mother was alive, I’d love to share one with her. Would be great to get to know her from an adult perspective and share beautiful Vermont with her. 


If you had unlimited access to funds, which causes would you support: Anti-bullying and youth suicide prevention, particularly for transgender and non-conforming youth.

I would also support the effort to end homelessness and food insecurity. 


What else would you like to accomplish in the next 5-10 years: I would like to finish the book I’ve been writing and see the curriculum I am building (spiritually informed leadership) become integrated as a common practice in organizations. 


What motivated you to live and work in Vermont: I met my spouse 10 years ago and moved across country for them. I now love it here and am proud to be a transplant. 


Career Highlights: Leading a diverse team in the creation of UVMMC’s first organizational Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategic plan has been a huge highlight. In addition, designing and facilitating a globally award-winning leadership development program that has positively impacted so many people. And of course, helping my staff continue to grow and develop themselves is always a highlight for me. 


Community Involvement: I am currently on the board of the Pride Center of Vermont where as I serve as the chair of the board development committee. In addition, I provide coaching and leadership development for small non-profit leaders (pro-bono). 

As an Ordained Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister I provide spiritual services in the community. I have recently developed Community Inspired, a spiritual (but not religious) community of diverse individuals coming together in spiritual practice to build relationships and leadership capability.


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