Mary Bains manages a team of Admissions Coordinators who interface directly with Pre-Med students interested in diversifying their medical experiences abroad. Mary has also worked with students as they prepare to go abroad on our Fellowships, and those interested in learning more about our Fellowships.
What is your favorite travel memory?
I have traveled pretty extensively and it's very difficult to narrow in on just one memory, but one that stands out immensely was my time this past summer, 2018, in Hungary. Despite having traveled to Asia, Europe, and Central America extensively, Central Europe is amazing and a unique outlier! Budapest was gorgeous and so diverse in landscape, but it also has a fascinating history that from my perspective has been overlooked by westerners. The double occupancy and participation with the Axis Powers in the 1900s has affected the buildings, the history and the art extensively, and I felt like there was so much I could learn while there.
I loved Budapest more than other large capitals in Western Europe like Madrid, London, Paris and Rome because there is a certain respect for tourists and especially for those interested in learning more about Hungary's history, and it was relaxing. It was my first solo-adventure as well, so the ownership of seeing and going where I wanted was fascinating.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
I have learned so much here at Atlantis. This was my first full-time job after college and, despite my expertise in the environment and field of sustainability, I came to work at Atlantis, a clear-cut business. While here, I've learned about sales, about leadership, marketing, professional development and growth mindset and how to take advantage of opportunities to grow. I'm so grateful for the unexpected lessons I've learned here that will transfer to any role and allow me to better understand the world.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Well, I'll include one:
"Deciding to be on the Pre-Med track is one thing, but actually completing the Pre-Med track is something entirely different.
For four-five years, we are constantly competing with peers and other students across the country for entrance into medical schools; it can be incredibly stressful and daunting. However, my experience with Atlantis, and other fellows, has given me the confidence that I can be a Pre-Med student, as I have now seen the end goal first-hand.
It has given me the confidence to be able to speak to more than just our nation's healthcare, but to that of another country, and to be able to communicate/learn nonverbally, as I did many times in Ponferrada… also I’ve gained independence from no longer needing to compare my resume to others, but to rather use my unique experiences to enhance my own resume through life-lessons and networking." - Rachel, Furman University; Ponferrada, Spain
But I'll also include that, when I've seen the Fellowship abroad, even my eyes have been opened and I've been inspired immensely by the care of foreign physicians. Getting to see a doctor in Spain in January 2017 speaking with and empathizing with his patients in the Internal Medicine ward actually changed my perspective of medicine and of my work with Atlantis. To know that people are genuinely called to touch the lives of others and affect them with kind words, and expressive actions was very encouraging to me and I have since been considering whether pursuing a career in medicine would be a realistic next step for me.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I would love to go on our Fellowship to Portugal. Portugal has an excellent healthcare system and is a country that I've yet to visit. Students especially look at Portugal as the undesirable cousin of Spain, but my colleague spent her summer in Portugal and found it incredibly rewarding and beautiful. Student testimonies from Portugal were also some of the best, so I'd love to see this site. Lisbon, specifically, because there is so much interesting history, color, and life there! Also our founder is Portuguese, so I'd love to see his culture.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
I'm proud of the people on our team. My first year at Atlantis was a tough adjustment from college to sales and the busyness of everyday work-life, but my co-workers here are absolutely phenomenal. Driven, thoughtful, encouraging, and kind... they push me to be a better employee and manager. I'm proud of who I work with and who our team is.
I've been proud of my employees and the small areas where they've grown immensely. When I see someone on my team struggling to find joy and balance their time and then get to see a complete 180 after working together and problem-solving, THAT is the most rewarding thing.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
The toughest thing for us to be successful, I believe, is training our teams to find joy in what can be a lot of monotony and having excellent employee engagement. Every student conversation and interview is different, but I think having the enthusiasm and ownership in our work and being able to pass on success stories and inspiration is the most important. Our team is excellent; it's a matter of harnessing energy and making sure that employees feel engaged and that they are worth our investment.