Allison Patchett

Allison Patchett
Episode 105

Join host Japhet De Oliveira as he sits down with Allison Patchett, Director of Finance at Adventist Health, as they discuss her work in finance, her love for animals, her travel experiences, her fear of needles, and her faith.
Libsyn Podcast
"The Valley of the Kings is just incredible. When you walk through those tombs, you will think it's fake. The way that the hieroglyphics on the wall are so vivid as if they were painted yesterday, but just thousands of years old. It's incredible."

Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira with his guest today and discover the moments that shape us, our families and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, welcome friends to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. I'm with my guest here, we are actually in Roseville, California, recording this particular episode, opposite the table within the room here, and I'm delighted that they have finally found the time to make this possible. It has been a bit of a juggle, but it's great. It's great. If you're brand new to the podcast, we have 100 questions. They progressively become more open, more vulnerable, the closer you get to 100 and they're about stories and experiences that shape you, the guest, into the leader that they are today. So I'm going to begin straight away. I'm just going to ask them number one, and what's your name and does anybody ever mispronounce it?

Allison Patchett: My name's Allison Patchett. No one ever mispronounced that, no.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great, that's great. And they spell it correctly?

Allison Patchett: For the most part, yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, Allison, what do you do for work?

Allison Patchett: I work in finance. I'm the director of finance for our corporate office and our shared services.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, so what's shared services?

Allison Patchett: So shared services are our service lines that cross all of our hospitals, so things like finance, IT, HR, things that can be managed centrally so that they're standardized. But we do have boots on the ground at all of our hospitals.

Japhet De Oliveira: And you're the director of finance, so break that down for me. Like you just move numbers around or?

Allison Patchett: Pretty much. So I help create our budget every fall for the following year, and then throughout the year I help make sure that people stay within that budget. If we need to deviate from the budget, I help track that, track the return on investment on the different projects that we do. And I try to meet with our shared service leaders at least once a month to review what are the initiatives and strategies that we're trying to work on, how can we fit that into our affordability model?

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's fantastic. That's fantastic. How long have you been doing this?

Allison Patchett: I've been working in finance for shared services for about five years, but I've been working for Adventist Health almost 10 years now.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really, a decade?

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, all right, that's fantastic. All right. Hey look, when you woke up this morning, first drink of the day. Water, liquid green smoothie, coffee, tea, what did you have?

Allison Patchett: It was coffee, Starbucks. I have it right here.

Japhet De Oliveira: Is that your go-to every day?

Allison Patchett: No, not always, but a friend brought it to me at work so that's always nice.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's actually really good. Hint, hint. All right. Allison, where were you born?

Allison Patchett: I was born in Marshfield, Wisconsin, a very small town.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow, Wisconsin.

Allison Patchett: I am not from California.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, okay. Do you miss Wisconsin?

Allison Patchett: I'm actually going this next week. My parents still live there. I do like it. I'm a small town girl at heart for sure.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. Now, when you were a child out in Wisconsin with the cheese and the snow and the winds, what did you imagine you'd grow up to be?

Allison Patchett: Oh, probably not in finance. I probably wanted to work with animals or something like that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you still love animals then?

Allison Patchett: Oh, definitely. I have a little dog. He's the best thing.

Japhet De Oliveira: Actually, you know what, that just made sense to me then because your profile picture at work is with a dog.

Allison Patchett: Yes. Actually, funny story with that photo. When we were first sent home from the office, there was a campaign, I think, it was work wherever well, and so they wanted pictures of us working from home. And so I took that picture, I was with my dog at the dog park over a lunch break, and that was the picture I took

Japhet De Oliveira: And it stuck, all right, that's great. Talk about habits. Are you an early riser or a late night owl?

Allison Patchett: Early riser for sure. I probably was in bed by nine o'clock last night.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, and what's early for you?

Allison Patchett: In the 6 o'clock hour for sure. Not like 4 A.M. I'm not crazy.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Now, if people would describe your personality, would they describe you as an extrovert, an introvert, and would you agree with them?

Allison Patchett: I think people would describe me as an extrovert and I would not agree with that. I think I'm very introverted. I need my time at home by myself with my dog.

Japhet De Oliveira: Fair enough, fair enough. All right, now here's a question about this morning when you woke up at 6, what was the first thought that went through your mind?

Allison Patchett: I wasn't ready to get up.

Japhet De Oliveira: That happens to all of us sometimes. Yeah, no, it's totally true. All right, here's a leadership question and then I'm going to hand the floor over to you and you get to pick the numbers between 10 and 100. So are you a backseat driver?

Allison Patchett: No, I'm a passenger princess. I want to be driven around.

Japhet De Oliveira: A passenger princess, I've never heard that phrase before.

Allison Patchett: I want to be driven around.

Japhet De Oliveira: Did you coin that?

Allison Patchett: No, no, no. I wish.

Japhet De Oliveira: Passenger princess, all right, all right, that's good. All right, here we go. Floor's open. 11 to 100, where do you want to go?

Allison Patchett: 14.

Japhet De Oliveira: 14, all right. Oh, tell us about what you enjoy doing outside of work.

Allison Patchett: Ooh, I like to travel. My parents and I like to travel a lot. Earlier this year we went to Turkey and Greece.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nice, which one did you enjoy the most?

Allison Patchett: Turkey for sure. Yeah, Turkey's incredible. We've done other great trips. We went to Norway to see the Northern Lights. We went to Egypt. I really liked the Valley of the Kings. That was incredible. So lots of great trips traveling with my parents for sure.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Oh, fantastic. So do you have a list of how many countries you've been to?

Allison Patchett: I don't.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, you should start-

Allison Patchett: I should.

Japhet De Oliveira: ... to tally it up. Yeah, that's great. All right, that was 14. Where next, up or down?

Allison Patchett: Up to 19.

Japhet De Oliveira: 19, what's your exercise routine?

Allison Patchett: I used to be really good about it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Pre-Covid, pre-Covid or?

Allison Patchett: Actually during Covid I got really good. I was going a couple times a week. This year I've kind of fallen out of that and I need to get back into it. That will be my New Year's resolution.

Japhet De Oliveira: So you do New Year's resolutions?

Allison Patchett: Definitely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you keep all of them?

Allison Patchett: No.

Japhet De Oliveira: I don't know anybody who really does. All right, that was 19, so where next?

Allison Patchett: 21.

Japhet De Oliveira: 21, share the best compliment you've ever received.

Allison Patchett: Maybe that I'm like my dad.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh really?

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, so tell me about your dad then. What is it that you like? Oh, that's great. What do you love about your dad? That's a bonus question, by the way.

Allison Patchett: He's quiet, slow to anger and I would like to be more like that. I actually don't know that I am like him, very even keeled but he has a great sense of humor. And my mom tells me that I have my dad's sense of humor for sure.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's fantastic.

Allison Patchett: I think that's a compliment, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, well, when he listens to this he'll be glad to hear it.

Allison Patchett: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's great. All right, all right, where would you like to go next after 21?

Allison Patchett: 28.

Japhet De Oliveira: 28, if you had to give an impromptu 30-minute presentation, what would it be? What would be the topic?

Allison Patchett: Probably about what I do for work because that's what I know the most about. Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you like teaching?

Allison Patchett: I do, yeah. I'm not an upfront type of person though. I actually am an ad hoc professor for William Jessup University.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right, the secret's out.

Allison Patchett: But it's online. It's online so I don't have to do in front of the class presentations. I wouldn't do that.

Japhet De Oliveira: What do you teach for them?

Allison Patchett: I teach audit.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my goodness, that sounds riveting.

Allison Patchett: I know, just what you want to do.

Japhet De Oliveira: Why do you like auditing? Is it the forensic side of it or?

Allison Patchett: It was my first job with Adventist Health, actually. I worked in the internal audit department with Don Dyer, and I just think it's really fun to pick everything apart and then to really understand it. And I think that I've carried some of those habits on in my life. I'll really just ask people questions about what they do. Sometimes people might think it's a little probing, but it's like I'm curious, I just want to understand this better.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's pretty good. That's fantastic. All right. Where next?

Allison Patchett: 25.

Japhet De Oliveira: 25, all right, share the most beautiful thing you've ever seen.

Allison Patchett: I mentioned before going to Egypt with my parents, the Valley of the Kings is just incredible. When you walk through those tombs, you will think it's fake. The way that the hieroglyphics on the wall are so vivid as if they were painted yesterday, but just thousands of years old. It's incredible.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is pretty inspiring, and it's amazing that it's so old. Right?

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: And yet feels so real, that's great. All right, that was 25, so where next?

Allison Patchett: 29.

Japhet De Oliveira: 29, share three things that make you instantly happy.

Allison Patchett: My dog for sure.

Japhet De Oliveira: What dog do you have?

Allison Patchett: I have a small, long-haired chihuahua.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, okay, all right.

Allison Patchett: He's a little mutt, but such a sweetie. I never thought I would want a small dog. I'm a big dog person, but yeah, he's a sweetie.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's awesome. So dog is number one.

Allison Patchett: Ooh, my bed. I'm a big sleeper. If I don't get my eight hours of sleep... probably my bed, yeah, instantly happy. And then family, just spending time with my family.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. That's great. Fantastic. All right, so where next after 29?

Allison Patchett: 35.

Japhet De Oliveira: 35, share something that's a special interest or unique talent that you have.

Allison Patchett: Unique talent?

Japhet De Oliveira: Uh-huh.

Allison Patchett: I used to play violin.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Allison Patchett: I have not kept up with it, which I'm kind of sad about if I'm being honest. I started when I was four years old and took lessons until I was 18. And then when I went to high school and college, I just kind of stopped practicing every day. I picked it up within the last two weeks.

Japhet De Oliveira: Did you really?

Allison Patchett: And I had not picked it up in probably 10 years, and it was both better and worse than I was expecting.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's interesting, that's interesting. Are you still able to generate a beautiful sound from it?

Allison Patchett: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Allison Patchett: But it was much harder.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, sure, so are you going to start playing now a lot more?

Allison Patchett: I would really like to. I need to make time for that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, the violin is really beautiful. That's really awesome. Great, all right, where next after that?

Allison Patchett: 39.

Japhet De Oliveira: 39, this is so funny, if you didn't need to sleep, what would you do with your extra time? The eight hours?

Allison Patchett: Probably practice my violin. Yeah, I don't know. Spend more time with friends and family.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's good.

Allison Patchett: During the week, I don't make as much time to do that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, so the weekends become very packed.

Allison Patchett: Yes, definitely. During the week I just kind of come to work, go home, yeah, the routine.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's okay, it's okay. We all have those habits. All right, that was 39, so?

Allison Patchett: 45.

Japhet De Oliveira: 45, all right, let's go here. When people come to you for help, what are they usually asking for? Not that I've ever come to you for help more than once.

Allison Patchett: Asking for more positions in their budget.

Japhet De Oliveira: Great idea, great idea.

Allison Patchett: Yeah. I mean, sometimes people just ask for help understanding what costs have hit their department, not always understanding where to go look to find that information, and I enjoy helping people with that.

Japhet De Oliveira: I've noticed that, and you have a really great team as well.

Allison Patchett: Yeah, wonderful.

Japhet De Oliveira: Did you select all the team or?

Allison Patchett: No, some of them were already here. My prior boss, Nick Johnson, hired some of them, but we had a recent hire this summer that I helped pick and she's been great.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. Well done, well done. No, it's a great team. You guys are very, very helpful. Not that I've come and asked you for help many times. That's great, all right. Where next after that? That's 45.

Allison Patchett: 50.

Japhet De Oliveira: 50, all right, share about who has influenced you professionally.

Allison Patchett: Probably my old boss, Nick Johnson. Actually he was my boss when I was in internal audit working for Don. Nick was a supervisor then. And then he went to CVN to work at Hanford. But when he came back, I wasn't really sure that I was going to stay in the organization. Our internal audit team was decreased. There were some layoffs. I was one of them. And so I was kind of looking for a different path and wasn't sure I was going to stay. And Nick was working on building up shared services and he convinced me to see the vision and convinced me to stay. So that was really impactful obviously. I don't know where I would be now.

Japhet De Oliveira: What a turn so quickly.

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's fantastic. Good for you. All right, and good for Adventist Health as well. So that was 50, where next?

Allison Patchett: 55.

Japhet De Oliveira: 55, share about something that frightens you.

Allison Patchett: Needles.

Japhet De Oliveira: And the 99% of other people, yeah.

Allison Patchett: Yeah, it's surprising I work in healthcare, but there's a reason why I work on the side that I do.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's okay, that's okay. I'm glad when they give me the jab and I don't look. Can you look?

Allison Patchett: I do not look.

Japhet De Oliveira: I don't look.

Allison Patchett: But it's beyond that. It's just knowing I'm there. It's the smell, it's everything.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right. All right, where do you want to go next?

Allison Patchett: 60.

Japhet De Oliveira: 60, when in life have you felt most alone?

Allison Patchett: This last summer. I mentioned that I went on a trip to Turkey and Greece with my parents. When we were in Greece my mom got really sick and she was hospitalized and I was sitting in the emergency room. My dad was back with my mom, and I knew things weren't good because I could tell my dad was crying, but trying to hide it from me, and I just broke down crying. And someone in the emergency room came over and tried to talk to me and didn't realize that I didn't speak Greek. And that just made it worse because I felt like I'm all alone in this foreign country, I don't know what's going on. My mom's really sick. It was really scary. So that moment, I think, for sure I felt really scared and alone and just confused.

Japhet De Oliveira: Is your mom okay?

Allison Patchett: She is.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Allison Patchett: She's doing much better.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Well, that's fantastic. It is interesting when you're in another country, I don't know if you've ever had this experience, where you hear somebody speaking English and you kind of follow them.

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, I'm with you with that. All right, that was 60. Where next?

Allison Patchett: 68.

Japhet De Oliveira: 68, if you could learn one new professional skill, what would it be?

Allison Patchett: Do you mean within my profession or any profession?

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm open to either. That's actually interesting.

Allison Patchett: Within my profession I'd like to do better about presentations. Sometimes I watch other leaders in our organization give a presentation and I'm just in awe of their poise. They don't stumble over their words, they don't rush. They seem so comfortable up front and I am not very comfortable up front, so I'd love to do better about that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, and then did you have another area outside of that?

Allison Patchett: Outside of my profession, I kind of wish that I could dance. I think that'd be really cool.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really cool, that's really cool.

Allison Patchett: Either that or self-defense. That'd be super cool. I want to do karate, black belt, that kind of stuff.

Japhet De Oliveira: I think dancing and self-defense are pretty much the same.

Allison Patchett: It depends how you're doing it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, well good, I hope you get one of those going. All right, that's great. All right, where do you want to go next then?

Allison Patchett: 72.

Japhet De Oliveira: 72, all right, tell us about what you want to do when you retire and why are you waiting?

Allison Patchett: Well, I was going to say travel, but I'm not waiting.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, and that sounds great.

Allison Patchett: I'm doing it now.

Japhet De Oliveira: You want to do more travel?

Allison Patchett: Yeah, I want to see everything.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you want to hit every continent, Antarctica?

Allison Patchett: Actually, my dad went to Antarctica over Thanksgiving and my mom and I stayed home. I told myself I had no interest in doing that. I don't like the cold. I left Wisconsin for a reason. And then he showed me pictures of the penguins that he got to stand right next to and now I'm jealous. Now I wish I had gone.

Japhet De Oliveira: You're going to have to go now.

Allison Patchett: I'll probably go now.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, it does look pretty amazing. All right, where next?

Allison Patchett: 78.

Japhet De Oliveira: 78, all right, tell us about what gives you childlike joy.

Allison Patchett: Going to get ice cream.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, and a particular flavor or?

Allison Patchett: It depends, there's different moods. Sometimes fruity, sometimes chocolate, probably more often chocolate.

Japhet De Oliveira: And do you have a particular brand that you love the most?

Allison Patchett: I don't think so, but it has to be a sugar cone.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh really?

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: And do you like ice cream that's chewy or ice cream that's really soft?

Allison Patchett: Very soft.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, all right, all right. That's awesome, that's awesome. Okay, good. All right, where next?

Allison Patchett: That was 78?

Japhet De Oliveira: 78, y.

Allison Patchett: 84.

Japhet De Oliveira: 84, where do you go to find peace?

Allison Patchett: Somewhere in nature. Different vibes for different places. There's a beach in Oceanside San Diego area that my family vacations at a lot. And walking the beach there, I think... I mean, we go down there probably once a year... and so walking the beach there I would say.

Japhet De Oliveira: There's something kind of amazing walking the beaches, isn't there?

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. It's really good. That's beautiful. All right, where next? That's 84.

Allison Patchett: 90.

Japhet De Oliveira: 90, okay, here we go. Tell us about how you overcame a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Allison Patchett: I am trying to think of an example of an insurmountable obstacle that I've experienced. I'm having trouble picturing anything because I feel like I've had a good support system in my life.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good, that's good.

Allison Patchett: And so, not to say that I haven't experienced tough times, like death of someone in the family, things like that, but anything that I've gone through I haven't really felt totally alone or like I didn't have support or a way to get through it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's okay, that's great. In fact, that's fantastic to be in that space. Good. All right, that was 90.

Allison Patchett: 95.

Japhet De Oliveira: 95, all right, tell us about how you see your faith and your life intersecting.

Allison Patchett: Especially this year with what I went through with my mom, I actually was thinking recently that in those moments in the hospital in Greece, I don't remember thinking like God will get me through or anything like that, I think I just felt so scared that I wasn't even thinking about hope or comfort or things like that. But in the months since then, I've really thought to myself that God had a hand in it. I didn't say it earlier, my mom had meningitis and most people die from that. And so it was really incredible, it was a miracle that she made it through. And when you look back at the series of events, we went to the emergency room the day before we were going to fly home. If everything had happened when we were flying home, she would've died. So if you just think about the course of events, God definitely had a hand in that. That's been something that's been top of my mind this year for sure.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah, it is interesting how your faith can be translated into different spaces and it's not applied in the same way all the time, but it comes to life at certain moments. So that's pretty good. All right, you have time for two more. Where would you like to go for your last two? And you can tell me both or you can tell me one at a time. Your choice.

Allison Patchett: Did we do 17?

Japhet De Oliveira: 17, I don't think so. 17, share what day is most special to you on the calendar and why? The entire year.

Allison Patchett: February 26, it's my birthday. I'm very big on my birthday.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Allison Patchett: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. I would not have guessed if you hadn't said that.

Allison Patchett: I do not come into work on my birthday.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh really?

Allison Patchett: Yeah. It doesn't matter if it's the middle of the week, a Wednesday, my birthday is me time.

Japhet De Oliveira: What if there was, I don't know, a system finance committee, I mean, you're off?

Allison Patchett: Yeah, I would make it work. If John or Don asked me, I would make it work, but I would really prefer not to.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, so then do you do something special on your birthday every time?

Allison Patchett: It's not the same special thing, but it always has to be a special day. Even if I think back, one of my favorite birthdays, everyone was busy, it was probably a work day, but I went to the mall. I got my nails done. I went to see a movie by myself. But I remember that being one of my favorite birthdays.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's pretty good. That's great, Allison, I like that for you. All right, we're down to the final one. Where would you like to go for your final number?

Allison Patchett: Did we do 24?

Japhet De Oliveira: Let's look here. No, we did not. Okay, you ready?

Allison Patchett: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Tell us about a time you were over or underdressed for an occasion.

Allison Patchett: Oh, this is good. I had an interview and I dressed up in a pantsuit because that's what I think you do for an interview, especially in my line of business. The guy showed up in a hoodie and sweats and he even made fun of me for dressing up. I knew I was not going to work there. He made me feel so bad and I thought, "Well, why would I come wearing that?"

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, dear. Well, Allison, it's been an absolute privilege and pleasure to be able to talk to you and to hear a few of the stories that shaped your life. Thank you so much for taking time.

Allison Patchett: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: And I just want to encourage people who are listening to do the same. Sit down with a friend, get a coffee, get a tea, ask some good questions, learn a little bit about their life, and it will change who you are and it will change them as well. So God bless everybody. We'll connect again soon.

Allison Patchett: Thank you. Bye.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story and Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at The Story and Experience Podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health through the Office of Culture.