October 06, 2020

Reflections on the 2020 RLI Resident and Young Physician Leadership Summit

Domnique S. Newallo, MD, RT (R)(CT), is a third-year radiology resident at Emory University School of Medicine.

As I think of my experience attending the 2020 RLI Resident and Young Physician Leadership Summit, I can’t help but be excited for a future as a physician leader. Knowing that even if I am not the chair of a department, leadership is still crucial for the development of my career. Most of us have encountered natural leaders who instinctively do the right thing. Yet, for the majority of trainees, leadership is something we have to work on — making this conference an invaluable resource.

There are multiple vital lessons that I took away from this session. The first is to be decisive, although mistakes will happen. It’s normal to make mistakes, as long you accept that failure is a part of the process of growth. The next lesson I got was to embrace the importance of change, which is pivotal in being proactive. If I am set in how I do things, I won’t be able to grow effectively or help others reach their potential. Next, being a leader involves having a basic understanding of human psychology so that you can be empathetic, authentic, deal with difficult conversations, and build on your communication skills.

The next lesson I learned was to control your emotions, and work on your emotional intelligence. Our mood has a significant impact on judgment, and as a leader, it’s my responsibility to manage my emotions mindfully. Furthermore, psychology and emotional development are essential traits to bridge generational gaps. Lastly, I learned not to be afraid to ask for advice and never stop learning. A true leader knows they will never have all of the answers, so they must be open to asking questions so they can learn other skills.

When it is time for me to search for a job, there will be multiple avenues I will have to be aware of. The goal of a job search is more significant than money and will require a deep understanding of my personal goals. As encouraged in one of the sessions, the purpose of a job search is to find a place that fits the plans I have set forth, so I can remain there for 30 years. It’s easy to get lost in what is important when a trainee is presented with an income that they haven’t encountered before. Still, we have to be mindful that we have to do what we say we can do and keep in mind that our lives will not be centered around a career as we progress through different stages (marriage, family growth, etc.). Additionally, paying attention to the nuances of our initial contracts and understanding what the verbiage entails will aid in choosing the right fit.

Preparation for the future is fundamental to success. Attending conferences like this one inspires me to update my long-term goals further so that I can ultimately maximize my development. Most of all, leadership can be taught, and being exposed to leadership skills will help me evolve — in my career and in my personal live.

Access the RLI Virtual Summit