International Women's Day Interview with CCH Leadership

International Women's Day Interview with CCH Leadership

Kelly Pease
Editorial Contributor

Bill Gates. Elon Musk. Steve Jobs. Jeff Bezos. We are constantly being bombarded with news about strong male leaders in the business world. Yet, you rarely hear about the female leaders. As a 2020 graduate from the Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola University in Maryland, I left school ready to take on the world. Working at Christie Campus Health, I am surrounded by female leadership each day. I find this very inspiring and refreshing. For International Women’s day, I wanted to highlight some of the female leaders at our company. Maryellen Pease is the CFO/COO of Christie Campus Health, and Kate Begley is the CEO. Below is an interview with Kate and Maryellen.

Kelly: What is it like working as a woman leader in the business world?

Maryellen: As a leader at CCH, I try to remember all the best attributes of the leaders I respected the most throughout my career and I try to put what I learned from them into practice each day. 

These include:

  • Listening to others
  • Respecting everyone for their contributions to the cause (Saying “thank you” is important!)
  • Working hard
  • Being honest and maintaining your integrity
  •  Being willing to roll up your sleeves and help whoever needs it
  • Being optimistic and assuming the positive intent of others
  • Making sure you are trying to see another’s perspective
  • Always trying to learn
  • Always remaining calm
  • Never expecting things to go exactly as planned, but being able to work through the challenges that come up by working as a team. 

As a woman and mother of four, I am also well practiced at the arts of time management, prioritizing, and multitasking. 

Kate: In my view to be a good leader you need three things, trust, respect, and clear and frequent communication. Whenever I took on a new role, I would go on a “listening tour” for my first 30 days. I would listen to the people who are doing the job, over the years I have gained a great respect for the insights of the people on the frontlines interacting with our customers or making the operations run. I would find out what was going well, what we could do better and how we should go about making those changes? Once I had a clear understanding of what we needed to do to achieve our goals and please our customers, I would share the vision with the team and ask them to help build out how we get there. Once we established where we were going and how we were going to get there, I looked at my job as helping to remove the obstacles and making sure the team had the resources to get the job done. It is important to me that the team knows that I am not looking for perfection, things don't always go according to plan, the key is to make our best efforts, own our missteps and work together to right the ship and get to the next level. It is through teamwork and trust that we accomplish great things.

Kelly: What drew you to Christie Campus Health?

Kate: The mission may be why I took the job, but it is not what first drew me to Christie Campus Health.  What drew me to Christie Campus Health was the people.  I worked with several members of the team in a prior life and liked and respected them.  After meeting with the founder and other members of the team I was convinced that they were committed to making a difference in young people’s lives and had the experience, energy, and enthusiasm to make it happen (having the right product offering was an added bonus).  I was thrilled to join the team!

Maryellen: CCH drew me in on SO many levels. I am one of the few lucky individuals who can say that I love what I do because at CCH we have:

  • Great leaders who are experts and passionate about what we do.
  • A fantastic and committed team that has so much experience and is so respected by me.
  • A chance to be part of such an important solution for colleges and so needed by today’s students.
  • A chance to work at a mission driven organization building something from the ground up and being able to do work that I love with such amazing people who make me smile every day.

Kelly: What advice would you give to the younger generation of women just starting out in their careers?

Maryellen: There are so many amazing opportunities out there. Keep an open mind and don’t shy away from a challenge. If you work hard and remain true to yourself and respectful of others, you will accomplish great things. Remember that things will not always go as planned, but it is all about managing through what comes at you and learning every step of the way.  Always try to remain positive and assume the best of others and things should go your way. 


  • Be bold.
  • Sage advice that my father gave me when I was starting out in the work world was, “look at your job as if you are being paid to learn” and that is what I did. I volunteered to take on assignments others did not; I looked at it as an opportunity to learn a new aspect of the job.  This was noticed and appreciated by senior management and soon others would ask me to take on larger and more important tasks. 
  • The other gift this philosophy gave me is the feeling that I could not fail, if I learned something from the experience, it was a win.  What I learned made me better the next time I took on the task and before I knew it, I had become an accomplished speaker, salesperson, and leader. 
  • Knowing that I could not “fail” also gave me the confidence to take risks.  Taking risks allowed me to widen my experience, knowledge, and sphere of influence. 

Last and most importantly, my advice would be to work hard but have fun, laugh and be in the moment.  When you are collaborating with a coworker, no matter how much you have to do, engage and focus on the task at hand, you will be more productive, more connected and find more joy in your work.

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