Alyssa Gallagher

(San Diego)

The Accountant | 30 Under 30 Class of 2019

"I love what I do because I feel challenged, well-rounded, full-filled and part of something bigger than myself."


Where did you grow up?

Billings, Montana.


Who is your role model?

Our female CFO Staci Dickerson.


Where do you live now?

San Diego, California.


What is your theme song?

Pumpin' Blood by NONONOs and Love on Top by Beyonce.


What does a typical day at work look like for you?

Each day is a little different for me, but a typical day might look like kicking off emails in the morning. Throughout the day, I am typically attending meetings or on calls with individuals across Sharp Healthcare in our pharmacy teams, patient services teams, physician medical groups or vendors that I am working with on various projects. A part of my day will be doing detailed accounting calculations and developing financials for our company’s medical groups. I will then be analyzing the financials from a big picture perspective to identify unique trends and to tell the story behind the numbers (was it more surgeries this month, the effects of flu season or fewer babies being born?). You might find me presenting my financial findings about how the hospital is doing and opportunities for growth and improvement to the CEOs and CFOs of the hospitals. You might also find me in meetings to brainstorm health and wellness events for our employees as part of Sharp Best Health, or teaching courses as a high reliability organization instructor.


Why do you love what you do?

I love what I do because I feel challenged, well-rounded, fulfilled and part of something bigger than myself. I love that I found an organization that I was able to utilize my skills while also being part of something that means so much to me. I have found that if you are passionate about your purpose, it makes a world of difference. 


How did you discover your passion for your job?

Since a young age, I was always a math and numbers girl, which led me to my career in accounting and finance. Healthcare is also something that has been a passion of mine since I was little. I grew up with a nurse grandmother and mother, and a physician father, and it was always something that tugged at my heart. I have had close family members who have battled cancer whose lives were changed by the caring hearts of those that helped them when they were at their most vulnerable. This industry is so personal to me in so many ways.


How do you define success?

I define success by feeling like I have left something better than how I found it. I believe that if I can be creative and innovative to create something new or add value and insight to a current situation then that is success. I always ask myself, “If I were to leave tomorrow, what impact would I leave behind?”


What motivates you?

I am motivated by being challenged daily and by doing work that is meaningful and valuable. I love being of help to someone, whether it is with my skill set or with my heart.

What sort of work do you do as a board member of Women Inspiring Leaders?

As a board member for Women Inspiring Leaders (WIL), I had the opportunity to work with other women leaders in a variety of fields across healthcare, marketing, sales, business, engineering and education. Our organization hosted keynote speakers, women’s networking events and various other leadership resources. As a board member I was able to be a voice for the organization’s purpose and help drive the mission of the nonprofit. I also had the opportunity to be a writer for the WIL blog which focused on topics relevant and unique to being a woman in the workforce, such as balancing career and motherhood, work-life balance, female role models, dealing with change, resiliency and being courageous.


Why is it important to you to be involved with female empowerment-based groups?

I believe as women we crave connection, we crave understanding and we crave mentorship. There are unique things that we face as women leaders and having those who have gone before us to be there to inspire us to show us what’s possible, while also personally getting to provide wisdom and advice to those just starting out have been some of my favorite moments in my career and personal life. I have noticed when one woman shares her honest challenges or successes, it opens the door for the next to share and learn. As women, we are stronger when we empower each other.

As the lead accountant for Sharp Healthcare, Alyssa does detailed accounting calculations for the company’s medical groups and analyzes the financials from a big picture perspective to identify trends and tell the story behind the numbers. For example, were there more surgeries in a month or what were the effects of flu season? Often, she presents her financial findings on how hospitals are doing to their CEOs and CFOs. This allows them to have opportunities to grow and improve. “I love what I do because I feel challenged, well-rounded, fulfilled and part of something bigger than myself,” Alyssa explained. “I love that I found an organization where I was able to utilize my skills while also being part of something that means so much to me.”


Early Bird or Night Owl


iPhone or Android


Facebook or Instagram


Podcasts or Audiobooks


Hours a Week


Tell me about the “Walk-A-Pup” event you founded and how have you grown that?

The ‘Walk-A-Pup’ event came to be four years ago when I was first brainstorming ideas as a member of our Sharp Best Health Committee. We bring wellness programs and events to our employees to focus on stress relief, exercise, nutrition and overall wellness. I had researched that spending time with dogs or pets can decrease stress and release happiness hormones. Not to mention I had experienced it first hand as an animal lover myself. Not only this but getting up and exercising during the work day has tons of benefits. I found a contact at the San Diego Humane Society and they brought 10 rescue dogs to that first event where employees could sign up for walking shifts during their lunch breaks. The event filled up within minutes and more than 100 employees came out for it. It was a win-win, as employees loved getting to spend time with cute pups during the day and get some exercise and the shelter animals got to get out, get loved on and possibly even find a new home (many have gotten adopted). This event was such a hit that it has now become a quarterly event at my work over the last four years, and it has expanded out to all of the Sharp Healthcare hospitals for all of the nurses and doctors to enjoy! It has been so rewarding seeing my first event grow to what it has become. What was once an idea in my head came to a reality and has now reached hundreds of employees.


Are you still part of the University of San Deigo (USD) Alumni Mentorship Program? Why did you choose to be a part of that?

I currently am still a new member mentor and advisor for my Epsilon Gamma Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta. I chose to be a part of that because I remember being in that position and feeling so lost sometimes with so many questions. Having gone through it all so recently, I wanted to be a resource and provide advice to those following in my footsteps or those footsteps of my peers. I also did alumni mentorship through the accounting program at USD  for all of the same reasons. I love being there for others and giving them any insight I have gained in my life experiences. I truly believe that if you have the right support system and mentors you can tackle anything.


How do you find the time for all your volunteer work?

Being as busy as I am, I have found that sometimes I may have to give up something one night like a night of Netflix or spending that extra hour of overtime at work to make time for volunteer work, but I am always so grateful I did. Your work responsibilities will be there tomorrow but in one night you can make someone’s whole year. What I have found is that as soon as you find your why and look at life through the bigger picture, it all falls into place. I had the opportunity to spend a year as a weekly Arts for Healing volunteer doing art projects bedside with cancer patients and other long-term patients. When I was younger, my Aunt Nancy also battled cancer and was often hospitalized for extensive periods of time. Each patient I was able to make smile was a reflection of what I would hope for her and all of my loved ones.


Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

One thing that I have learned that was a game changer is this: I truly believe you can find a way to fulfill each and every piece of who you are in your life. And this fulfillment is often a combination of 1) what you do in your work, 2) how you volunteer your time and 3) your hobbies. Sometimes those three things are the same, and sometimes they are completely different, but honor who you are and find ways to make time for what you love. I love math, have a passion for patients and love to paint. I found that I am happiest when I can be multi-dimensional. I work in finance, volunteer in healthcare and paint as a hobby. In making time for each of these things, I feel like I have found my niche.

"I have found that if you are passionate about your purpose, it makes a world of difference."