Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Director of Operations, Avera eCare
Sioux Falls, SD
Health Services Administration, 2015

"Based on my experiences at USD and thus far throughout my career, my advice is to get involved, stay involved, challenge yourself, never stop learning, and don’t forget how you got where you are. Thank those who helped you and pay it forward."

Q&A with Steve:

Describe your current educational or professional pursuits.

After graduating from USD in 2015 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Health Services Administration, I went on to pursue a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) at the University of Minnesota and graduated in May 2017. Throughout these educational pursuits, I completed five internships and several applicable projects to my course of study. After graduating with my MHA, I moved back to Sioux Falls and completed my Administrative Fellowship at Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center. Avera McKennan’s Administrative Fellowship is designed for young healthcare administrators as an intensive one-year leadership development position in which the fellow serves in numerous roles throughout the organization. Currently, I serve as director of operations for Avera eCARE, one of the largest providers of telehealth services in the country.

The knowledge and skills I gained while attending the University of South Dakota, as well as my time in Minnesota and elsewhere, have promoted continuous learning and development that have ultimately led to my current position and ongoing professional pursuits.

How did your USD experience influence your career path?

The opportunities I had while attending USD lent themselves as extremely valuable to my current career path. In the classroom, I received an education that provided a basis for future learning. The most crucial lessons came from experiences with student organizations and extracurricular activities outside the classroom. These opportunities taught me not only how to succeed, but also how to fail and learn from my mistakes. Interactions outside of class also taught emotional intelligence such as effective communication, body language, and personality traits. Being involved in several student organizations also promoted the idea of volunteerism, which has held strong as I continue to serve on community-based committees and boards. I credit these learnings, as well as many others, to my time attending USD.

Tell us about your proudest achievement.

My proudest achievement comes from my involvement as the co-overall chair for USD’s largest student-led philanthropy organization, Dakotathon. Service to this organization took passion, focus, and commitment. Every dollar raised went directly toward the children and families of Children’s Miracle Network to help offset travel expenses, purchase state-of-the-art medical equipment, and offer financial assistance to the increasing cost of healthcare services. Throughout my tenure as co-overall chair, I developed skills in fundraising, managing people, leading projects, communicating and advertising, delegation, running efficient meetings, and more. Our executive team consisted of 23 total members with varying responsibilities. Working with this group taught an immensely valuable lesson in teamwork and the type of commitment it takes to achieve organizational success. My co-chair and I effectively communicated our vision to the rest of our team and ultimately, we were very successful, raising over $84,000, all “For the Kids.”

We experienced more fundraising success than any other Dakotathon executive team in the organization’s history, so my co-chair and I made it a priority to transition our successors in the hopes the organizational culture of passion and success would remain for years to come. This also proved to be immensely effective as the executive teams to succeed ours have continued to increase their final fundraising totals beyond what we thought was possible.

Serving my tenure as Dakotathon’s co-overall chair taught me more than I could imagine on both a personal and professional level. I was fortunate enough to serve a mission-based organization, lead a tremendous team, and craft a culture of success that has influenced years after my tenure has ended. I would not have had this experience without USD.

What was your USD experience like? Were you involved in any campus organizations or activities?

USD served as the basis for my personal and professional growth, offering a plethora of learning opportunities along the way. I was involved in several student organizations and partook in many campus activities. I was a technology fellow for the Beacom School of Business, played guitar in the College of Fine Arts’ production of the musical “Rent”, served as an usher for other College of Fine Arts productions, was a member on the Political Science League Executive Team, was active in Greek Life as a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon serving one term as philanthropy chairman and on several committees, led student bands for the annual Strollers Show, participated in an Alternative Week of Off-Campus Learning (AWOL) trip to Baltimore, MD, was an active member of the Health Services Administration student organization Health Executives Advancing in Leadership (HEAL), served on the student search committee for a new campus activities director, was the inaugural “DJ in the MUC Pit Lounge” on Friday afternoons, and was actively involved with Dakotathon serving as co-overall chair as a senior.

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