Alumna Bonnie Blanchfield ’81 returned to her alma mater to discuss how her backgrounds in accounting and corporate finance, combined with research skills, have enabled her to experience a highly untraditional career path, yet earn her current status as Senior Scientist in the Center for Clinical Innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Blanchfield is a health services researcher and consultant in the Center for Innovation, Division of General Internal Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Partners Healthcare. In addition, she is the Research Advisor for Crimson Care Collaborative, a student-run clinic of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Her extensive career began in public accounting at Peat Marwick Mitchell, before moving towards corporate management. After getting married and living briefly in the United Kingdom, Blanchfield steered her career towards healthcare, ultimately receiving an SM and ScD from the Harvard School of Public Health in the fields of health policy and management.
However, Blanchfield’s path was not a straight shot from school into her field. She has moved between consulting and research, management and teaching. She credits her opportunity-filled major as the key towards being able to create her own unique career path.
“I chose Siena because not only was it close to home, but I knew about its excellent reputation for business, which led me to take the path of accounting,” says Blanchfield. “My major opened so many doors for me, allowing me to get a job very easily in any given situation.”
She explains that when moving to the United Kingdom with her husband, her qualifications enabled her to secure a job in no time. It is because of Siena’s excellent business program, she says, that her success story is so unique.
“I thought it was very interesting how she transitioned from job to job, and how her business and accounting background helped her in her career,” says accounting student Trajan Artt ’20. “She opened my eyes to how your background can really influence your career path.”
With her experience, Blanchfield has a wealth of information on how to create the best path for yourself. She advised students to pursue their passions, be open to trade-offs, always continue challenging themselves, and stay true to their values.