Meet Michael Watkins, Harmony Healthcare Account Executive
1. Tell us about a moment you made a leap of faith.
I’d have to say it was when I switched gears and changed my career path. For over a decade I worked in politics, grinding out 80 hours a week and solving complex accounting aspects for numerous federal, state, and local campaigns. I was periodically called upon to attend events, and it was there that I learned I loved being in front of people and conversing with current and potentially new clients who had upcoming goals and initiatives.
I was approached multiple times to pursue lobbying aspects in D.C., but ultimately I decided I needed a break from the grind that is politics. I wanted a new career where I helped people directly. I shifted gears with no idea how working in a new industry would play out or if I would be as successful as I had been in my old career. All I knew was that I wanted change.
Working in healthcare staffing has afforded me everything that I thought it could. The real joy comes from helping other people, and that is what we do at Harmony Healthcare. We help people and organizations solve problems. It brings me joy to help other people win. In that way, it is very similar to political finance. When I help an organization solve a problem, it wins. When a consultant lands a new job, she wins. And in the end when all these pieces come together, I ultimately win. It’s a great feeling – one that I could never have experienced in my old career in the way that I can here at Harmony Healthcare.
2. Tell us a fun fact about you from your high school years.
Wow! That’s a tough question, as it has been so many years.
I remember my time at Jesuit High School where we went on to win the regional state championship during my freshman year. I had been a competitive swimmer at a very early age and was approached to join the team. I made varsity my freshmen year, but not many knew at the time that I joined simply because it was a great way to get a ride home after school.
In hindsight, it was a great move. I gained a lot of great friends who I still keep in touch with to this day.
3. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
At one point in my life, I actually worked on a farm. My duties included various project such as cleaning up stalls, clearing pastures, and cutting down trees. It was here that I discovered I had a great passion for working on machinery.
When I left, I was given a set of lug wrenches used to swap out the wheels on the tractors that are in no exaggeration humongous. The farm was being shut down, and I thought it was a great passing gift that I would never have a use for. Years later a TECO truck with a crane had a flat tire outside my home in Tampa. The workers were staring at it waiting for their field manager to show up with the wrench to pull off these massive lug nuts to swap the wheel out. I smiled, walked into my garage, and came out with the tool they needed. Their jaws dropped when they saw this set, and they asked how a young man with a small car had them. I told them the story and had them on their way in under an hour.
4. What type of leader do you aspire to be and why?
I’ve always had the mentality of leading from the front. No matter how busy I may be I am always willing to take time out of my day and help out. I am constantly reminded of my own struggles when I was learning new trades, and when I see others going through that same process, I feel motivated to let them know that what they are experiencing is normal.
If we want to grow as leaders, it’s crucial that we remember where we came from.
5. Create a soundtrack to your life with just 5 songs.
- “Keep it Gold” by Surfaces: This song reminds me of traveling, spending great memories with friends and family near and far, and always trying to be positive about things.
- “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd: My father is originally from there, and this song makes me want to just get out on the water and go fishing, play some music, and have a great day with friends
- “One Love” by Bob Marley: Whenever I need to decompress and slow down, I put this song on and it relaxes me. Pretty much all of Marley’s songs do this, but this one is my favorite.
- “Tell Me” by Groove Theory: This song just goes. Every time I’m in the car and need something to just get in a good mood, I play this song.
- “OTW” by Khalid: Whenever I listen to this song, it reminds me of how much I’ve needed friends to help me in the past and in return how I’ve helped them. We always have each other.
6. What is your favorite catchphrase?
“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
7. If you could hop on a plane in the next hour, where would you go and why?
I would jump at the chance to travel back to Dubai where I visited my brother in 2015. I haven’t seen him for nearly a year, and he lives there with his wife with 3 kids.
He’s been living there for 9 years, and typically I only get to see him once a year during the Christmas holiday season. This year he will not be traveling due to COVID. So if I had to choose I would love to go see him. My older brother and I have always been very close.
8. What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
The best gift ever would have to be all the lessons I learned from my grandfather. He spent over 20 years in the United States Marine Corps. He instilled in my brother and me core values that we carry with us to this day.
Also, all the times my father took us hunting, fishing, and playing sports like baseball and basketball after school. As I got older, I noticed how much he sacrificed day in and day out to make this time for us as kids. Time is so valuable, and you can never get it back. That is why I feel like it was the best gift ever.