Monika Smith, DO ’21 EMBA is integrating her business and leadership education from Villanova with her role as Chief of Emergency Medicine at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, N.J. Throughout Dr. Smith’s undergraduate studies in molecular biology and biochemistry, as well as her studies in medical school, she observed that leadership skills were simply expected of medical students, but never taught or developed: this prompted Dr. Smith to join the Villanova Executive MBA program.

Dr. Smith attributes the Villanova EMBA program with strengthening her business acumen, as well as the communication and leadership skills needed to deal with any situation, especially in crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic. The skills she developed at Villanova ultimately led her to a job promotion at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes as Chief of Emergency Medicine. She states that the program “helps you realize who you are as a person and what your goals are,” transforming her on both a “personal and professional level.” In particular, Dr. Smith reflects fondly on the team-building exercises that take place at the start of each module, which establish rules of engagement and trust amongst the teammates, and set a positive tone for a learning environment for the rest of the module. Dr. Smith also finds value in having an executive coach throughout the EMBA program. Sessions with her coach further reinforce and build upon learning that takes place in the classroom. Her coach helps to develop leadership skills on a deeper level and offers mutual support. Dr. Smith meets with her executive coach twice a month, but explains that the coaches are always accessible and more than happy to help students. 

Dr. Smith acknowledges that healthcare is a business, and that the landscape of the field of medicine is constantly changing. As such, she attributes her focus on building soft skills to differentiating herself in the business of healthcare, and knows that these soft skills will translate to all facets of her life. Dr. Smith wishes that this development of leadership skills was provided throughout her undergraduate and medical school experiences, and states that she has gained more leadership ability through the Villanova EMBA program thus far than in medical school.

We appreciate Dr. Smith’s eagerness to enhance her career as a healthcare professional with the invaluable communication and leadership skills offered through the Villanova EMBA program, and applaud her dedication to enhancing herself professionally for the betterment of her patients.

Dr. Monika Smith ’21 EMBA

Dr. Monika Smith ’21 EMBA

“You don’t need to have a title to be a leader, you can lead from any level.”