Job Shadow: Jay Edenborg, public affairs director, Mayo Clinic

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumni Jay Edenborg has been working at the Mayo Clinic Health System as the director of public affairs for eight and a half years now.

“I like the variety of things I get to do,” Edenbourg said “The department covers so much and I never know what all I’m going to be doing on a given day.”

In the four hours that I spent with Edenbourg, we went to a department opening ceremony for the Family Medicine department, we sat in his office and discussed his professional career, we dressed up a Bigfoot sculpture from the Eau Claire Sculpture Tour in a lab coat and we attended a marketing plan meeting for the Home Health & Hospice and Palliative Care departments for the 2017 year.

If that doesn’t speak to the spontaneity of his job then I don’t know what does.

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Jay Edenborg, director of public affairs, and associate Lori Haapala, public affairs specialist, connect during a weekly meeting to discuss current projects and assignments.  © Sara Klein 2016

Edenbourg graduated from Eau Claire in 1998 with an undergraduate journalism degree and a passion for reporting.  After spending a couple years in Wausau, Wisconsin, writing for a local paper, he realized that it “just wasn’t gonna be the career fit” for him.

Leaving reporting and journalism behind, Edenbourg decided to explore other options that his degree had afforded him.

“The exposure to healthcare and the options that my degree offered really opened my eyes,” he said. “I narrowed my focus to healthcare organizations.”

With the new focus in mind, Edenbourg worked in pharmacy management as a proposal director for United Health Care for just under three years.

“I found that I really like working in healthcare,” said Edenborg.  “Even more than that, I liked the healthcare provider side of healthcare.”

In college, Edenbourg had interned with Mayo Clinic as a public affairs intern and greatly enjoyed the experience.

In order to return back to that “provider side of healthcare,” he left United Health Care to accept a position as director of public affairs with Mayo Clinic here in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and has been here since.

I am always intrigued by what people end up doing with their careers.  To see what foundation they have (what their college major is), where they start out (their first job) and where they end up.

Edenbourg, for example, started with a journalism major and worked as a reporter, but is now working in public relations for a healthcare conglomerate.

The most beneficial thing that I have taken away from this assignment is the opportunity it might have given me.  While rambling through questions about his professional career and how he got to where he is now, Edenbourg and I got a little off track and ended up talking about this internship with Mayo Clinic.

Not only was I able to learn about a new field and make a few professional connections, I now have an internship prospect for next summer as well as an excellent reference.

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