When looking back on the foundation of her career in respiratory care, Audrey Ballard immediately thinks of Ivy Tech. Not only did her time as a student create the inspiration to go down this path, but also showed her how rewarding a career that helps others could be.
Audrey discovered Ivy Tech while attending a four-year college. She was three years in with an undecided major, working in a hospital that surrounded her with career ideas.
“I was intrigued by the desire to help someone in need,” she said.
From there, Audrey began to research local respiratory programs. When making a decision, she knew she had to make the right choice. She was a new mom and needed to take into consideration a healthy way to balance home, work and school life. That’s when she found Ivy Tech. The School met all of her needs and she was able to go part-time.
During her time as a student, she was very close with her classmates. Not only did they study together, but participated in team building activities outside of the classroom too.
Audrey continued to serve others while being a student and became a mentor to incoming respiratory students during her last two years. She supported the respiratory program to help advocate for the profession by becoming a student member of the American Association Respiratory Care (AARC).
On top of all of this, and being a mother, she made the Dean’s List and graduated Cum Laude.
In May 1997, she graduated with her degree—and it only inspired her to further her education.
“I was able to advise colleagues on procedures and patient needs, as well as assist in developing protocols,” she explained. “That led me to want to do more and help make a difference in organizations that served the public.”
Audrey went on to graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Allied Health from IUPUI in 2002, then a Master of Arts in Executive Development from Ball State University in 2007. Five years later, she graduated with a Master of Public Health from the IU School of Medicine.
While continuing her education, Audrey was mother of three and a clinical specialist for respiratory care at Methodist Hospital. She held this position for 14 years. She came back to her alma mater Ivy Tech to be an adjunct instructor for four of those years.
Audrey changed directions and in 2006, worked at Indiana Donor Services (formerly the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization) to enhance lives of those on a transplant waiting list.
All of these roles were fuel to the fire for her passion to help make a difference in the lives of others.
Shortly after obtaining her Master of Public Health in 2012, she moved to Virginia where she served as Manager for
Respiratory Care and Pulmonary Diagnostics and Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.
Over the years, Audrey has also spoken at respiratory care conferences to share significant statistical information. This helped provide important information with others in the profession, allowing them to have a better understanding of what overall needs were, and better ways to serve patients.
All of this experience since graduating from Ivy Tech grew Audrey’s interest to an international level. In November 2016, she came back to Indianapolis where today, she is a consultant for Eli Lilly and Company. She works in the oncology business unit for patient tailoring and global strategies.
This role allows Audrey to work with cross-functional teams on a global level. They work to close gaps and provide a robust strategy for those with cancer.
“While working in my field, there had been challenges along the way,” she said. “I have met many people and these individuals have influenced me. I’ve listened and sought ways to help make a difference despite the challenges.”
Audrey has built trust in her patients, their families and individuals she has led. When she thinks of how it all came to be, it all started at Ivy Tech.
For students looking to ways to grow in a career, Audrey recommends Ivy Tech.
“Ivy Tech is personable,” she said. “Seek the resources they have on campus. Understand how these resources will align with your needs to help you be successful in achieving your academic and career goals.”
Audrey remembers the campus being friendly, and noted it is an excellent environment to develop professional relationships.
“The classrooms are not extremely large or overwhelming so there is an opportunity to reach out to your instructors for additional guidance. Developing this approach will help you in future endeavors.”
Audrey’s career path is inspirational to others, including her three children and granddaughter.
She continues to give back to her local community and participates in the Big Brother Big Sister program in Indianapolis, where she is a “Big” to her 11-year-old “Little.”