2020 Alumna Dives Into Leadership Role

Kayla Heppler, MHA 

In late September, Kayla Heppler found herself drinking from the proverbial firehose. She was one week into her new role as a clinical engineering director for Intermountain Healthcare and learning scads of responsibilities — from overseeing regional engineer teams to standardizing procedures across her oversight area. It was … a lot.Thankfully, Heppler felt she could rely upon her leadership style, first honed in Weber State’s MHA program, to carry her through. “My ability to bring people together and my collaborative leadership style, it’s really what my boss was looking for,” she said.

Prior to graduating in 2020, Heppler observed and learned about various leadership styles in WSU’s MHA program, where she was the Outstanding Student of the Year. She came to understand the difference between managers and leaders, she said, and developed her own approach.
That approach not only included collaboration, but acceptance of her knowledge gaps. For instance, she leads teams of engineers without being an engineer herself.
“Realizing I don’t have to be the expert in everything has been huge,” she said.
For more than six years, she has been a part of the healthcare industry. She started as a financial analyst, then moved to the clinical engineering team. As part of that team, she became a clinical contract specialist and then a central support manager. She held that position until starting her current role.
As she gets her feet wet, Heppler realizes that she’s got some consensus building to do with teams that continue to be siloed and resistant to change.
“I’m going to have my work cut out for me in order to gain everybody’s trust,” she said.
Nevertheless, thanks to Weber State’s MHA program, she understands the big picture in healthcare and the “whys” behind many healthcare administration decisions, which is critical knowledge in the ever-changing environment, she said.