40 Under Forty: Heather Fink, community improvement coordinator, Healthy By Design

2014-02-02T00:15:00Z 2014-02-10T16:40:14Z 40 Under Forty: Heather Fink, community improvement coordinator, Healthy By Design The Billings Gazette
February 02, 2014 12:15 am

Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Limit screen time to two hours per day. Participate in one hour of physical activity each day. Steer clear of sugary drinks.

These words of advice are part of Healthy By Design’s effort to make Yellowstone County a healthier, safer place to live.

Healthy By Design is a community health coalition of Billings Clinic, RiverStone Health, St. Vincent Healthcare and other partners.

Heather Fink was named the community health improvement coordinator last fall. As part of her duties, Fink facilitates the Community Health Improvement Plan, which is based on the results of the community health needs assessment, a study that aims to improve public health.

Fink has worked in the nonprofit sector since her college days. “I just always felt it’s where my heart was, to make a difference,” she said.

Her first job out of college was as a youth director, and she served as communications director for Lutheran Social Services of Iowa.

“That’s the place where I was introduced to a breadth of social services and health services and understood the array of things that are needed to make our community whole,” Fink said.

She also worked for the Montana Office of Rural Health and the American Diabetes Association and was the grants manager at St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation before joining Healthy By Design.

“I guess I really believe in that phrase that it takes a village, not just to raise a kid, but to make a community work,” she said.

Fink and her husband are in the process of adopting their 9-year-old foster son.

What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? Personalities can be tough, but they also make the work interesting.

What did you learn from that challenge? Seek to do the right thing, and be humble doing it.

What’s the best business advice you have received? “Sometimes you have to win tomorrow.”

Who gave you that advice? David Irion, executive director, St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation.

Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Assist with access to basic needs for all, including preventive health services and mental health needs.

Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? Positive sustainable outcomes. In the nonprofit sector, many times it isn’t about money, and although heartwarming, it isn’t just about the feel-good stories. It IS about real, measurable change, which yields those great stories as well as sustainable results.

Which living person do you most admire? My husband, Jason Wintrode. He is willing to help anyone in need, is intelligent, has overcome adversity, and can always make me laugh.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Receiving my master’s degree and then packing up my car and moving to Montana. Next will be parenthood.

I’m happiest when I’m… outdoors.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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