Jen has been with Allina Health for eighteen years. Today, she manages Pulmonary Rehab, Respiratory Therapy and Patient Transport at Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus. As popular and respected as she’s become by her staff and colleagues, Jen has a wholly separate fan-base outside of work.
Jen’s the lead singer in a cover band called Flight Risk, and she just released a new album with her other, long-time band, Shoot Lucy. “People don’t throw stuff at me, so… so far, so good.”
Oh, and she performs in musical theater. “Yes, it’s a theater show, and it’s called Girls’ Night Out: A Tribute To The Superstar Women of Country. We sing and we talk about the women that we’re paying homage to. And,” she drops to a mock-conspiratorial whisper, “we even dance a little bit.”
Audiences seem to take kindly to Jen, and the other members of Flight Risk know how lucky that makes them. Terry, the drummer, speaks up first. “She’s an awesome talent, sweetest gal ever—many times to a fault. She can never say no to anybody, but we love her.”
“She’s a great vocalist,” says Paul, bass player.
“Yup, super vocalist,” Bill, lead guitarist, chimes in. “Great friend, just an overall fabulous person. That’s why she has so many friends on Facebook.” That one earns a group laugh.
"Rumor Has It"
Jen’s talent was apparent to them from the beginning. “First practice, our second guitarist at the time didn’t make it,” says Paul. “He calls me after I get home, and he asks me, ‘Well, how did she do? What’s she like?’ I said, ‘Well, I can see this band changing to become a backing band for her.’”
Why? “She works the crowd, and people come out to see her. It’s incredible. …The first time she got up on the bar and started singin’, it was pretty cool,” he grins.
Jen tells a more self-deprecating story. She attributes her time singing in bars as a way to keep herself “out of trouble.” “You know, if I’m occupied and in a place where I’m having a good time, then I won’t take on another project. I’m really content right now,” she says. “I bought myself a motorcycle a couple years ago, and I go to the Harley-owner group meetings. I’ve met just amazing people, and we have adventures when it’s time to just get out and do something different, and kinda clear your head.”
Is it therapy? “I think so…!” She sounds pleasantly surprised, as if she just came to the same conclusion, herself. “There’s something about being on a motorcycle. It’s kinda that whole ‘the reason why the dog sticks his head out the window.’ Motorcycle riders get it. Other than probably surfing or water-skiing, it’s maybe the closest thing to flying.”
Or, perhaps, singing.
Josine Durant is a Senior Human Resources Generalist at Abbott Northwestern Hospital who feels a deep, personal connection to the ethos of Allina Health. Even though her work doesn’t involve treating patients, she takes seriously her role in making Allina Health the organization that listens—truly listens—to its patients and families.