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As the director of clinical operations at Moffitt Cancer Center at Wesley Chapel, Jazmin Calzada is a well-respected member of the cancer center’s leadership team. For 20 years, Calzada has been part of the Moffitt family, holding various roles throughout her tenure. She primarily credits her supervisors and mentors, as well as a serendipitous award, for not only her past achievements, but also her continued success.

“In high school, I had the opportunity to be a part of the certified nursing assistant program,” Calzada said. “At the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. But I did know I was impressed by the people around me at Moffitt.”

Calzada was among the first recipients of Moffitt’s Diversity Scholarship Award, which helped her pay for nursing school while she continued her career at Moffitt. Despite growing up with limited means and in an underserved community, Calzada was the first in her family to graduate from college. Her plans were delayed following the birth of her son, but when it was suggested that she apply for the diversity scholarship her entire life shifted.

“I was really struggling to get back to school,” she said. “When I was awarded the scholarship, I knew that this was my opportunity to beat the odds and break the cycle I was surrounded by.”

The scholarship paid for four years of her schooling and allowed her to work 16 hours a week to gain experience as a Moffitt oncology technician. Since then, Calzada has climbed the ladder of leadership at Moffitt and was recently named the director of clinical operations for Moffitt at Wesley Chapel. Previously, Calzada served as a manager at Moffitt's International Plaza location.

Ensuring that all those entrusted to her care receive nothing short of an amazing experience is a strong part of who Calzada is as a person and as a leader.

“My manager kept urging me to join committees,” Calzada said. “She saw leadership skills in me I never knew I had and encouraged me to join a multitude of projects and committees to help enhance those opportunities.”

Calzada eventually became an assistant manager in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Clinic and then manager at Moffitt at International Plaza. When news of a new Wesley Chapel location began circulating, Calzada knew she was ready for the next step.

“Over the years, Jason Kawa, the director of nursing and satellite operations at our International Plaza location, has watched me perform in many different settings including my manager role,” she said. “He always made it a priority to mentor me and strongly encouraged me to get my master’s degree. Moffitt has always recognized the value and importance of promoting those who believe in the mission to provide the best in patient care.”

Calzada has taken her role as a leader and a mentor to heart. She always tries to look for the next manager or the next director among the staff.

“I have always encouraged those on the staff to pursue new opportunities to grow their careers in whatever areas they may be interested in,” she said. Calzada said that it is this ongoing planning for the future that has allowed her and her team to experience success at Moffitt at Wesley Chapel.