One on One with Robin Divine - Albuquerque Journal

One on One with Robin Divine

Robin Divine was on the job at TriCore Reference Laboratories for just a short time when the coronavirus threw the state’s largest clinical lab into “crisis mode.”

Robin Divine (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

“Coming in, having a little over 45 days to get my feet wet, then COVID started to take flight – you learn so much when you get thrown into an event or a crisis mode like that,” says Divine, who is Tricore’s chief business development officer. “I actually love it.”

TriCore is an independent, not-for-profit lab that is co-sponsored by Presbyterian Healthcare Services and University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

Divine, who was a longtime Presbyterian executive, also leads business development for the Tricore Research Institute, which works on clinical trials, and the Rhodes Group, which offers software and data analytics.

Tricore, along with the state Health Department, has been “supporting the vast majority of testing across the state for COVID,” she says.

Adding to Divine’s résumé is her title as New Mexico’s only “Spinning Master” instructor with Mad Dogg Athletics, an equipment and education company.

Pre-COVID, you could find her at the Jewish Community Center teaching a 5:30 a.m. class to about 30 hard-core “very committed” students who range from a “Boston marathoner” to a “brittle diabetic.”

Divine says her approach, at work and at the gym, is to lead people to achieve their goals through motivation and feedback.

“I really want those I’m leading to be able to at least attempt to choose their goals – and not be the reason they can’t,” says Divine. “I don’t want to stand in their way.”

Has it been stressful starting a new job in this field during the spread of coronavirus?

“Stressful, yes, just being on call 24/7, 365 has been. But that is kind of the way an executive is anyway in a health care organization because it is a 24/7 environment that you work in. This has been a little more intense, because there’s been such a need to focus on some of the special populations and a sense of urgency to help and support them, like the tribes and the nursing homes in particular, and now the prisons. It’s more of making a difference for our community, and we’re impacting so many potential lives, so it’s a good stress.”

Did you know early on that you wanted to be in the health care field?

“Yes. My father is a retired pediatrician. One of my fondest memories was going with him to the hospital to (check on) newborn babies. I worked in his office during the summers and whenever I had a break from school to earn a little extra money, so it was just the exposure. I had planned to be a pre-med when I went to college … but I wasn’t quite sure that medical school was the right thing for me. Looking back, I think I made the right decision to go on the track I did. Being a physician now is really hard. The challenges that they face and the commitment that they’ve had to make, through their education and the hours of commitment and the commitment to their patients, it’s big. I think what I like is that I can enable clinicians to do their best work every day and remove some of the barriers they encounter.”

Robin Divine (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Tell me about your second career as a spin instructor.

“I think the No. 1 reason that I stay engaged with it is because I can have any walk of life in the class. I can have every type of person at every fitness level in the class, and we can all be in the same room together and have the same kind of experience, but it’s individualized. I lead them, and they can take it as far or as easy to meet their needs. Some of them come just for the pure socialization, to be with other people. That’s what’s really hard about not having classes the last three months. You miss that interaction with people.”

What else do you do in your free time?

“Right now, I’m not riding outdoors as often, but … I’ve always been very active. I was a gymnast as a child and quit in high school. I’m a little bit tall, so it became hard. I switched my love into modern dance and was in a dance company for a number of years (at Sandia High School). When I went to college, I needed an activity, an outlet to stay engaged and try not to get the freshman 15, so I became really active in taking classes and then I decided I needed to teach them. It just wasn’t fulfilling what I needed. I wanted to get up in front of groups and lead those exercises. So I became a certified instructor and started teaching at Gold’s Gym here years ago.”

Do you have any pet peeves?

“Close the cabinet doors when you’re done.”

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

“I had a student in spinning (who) achieved his fitness goals and weight reduction goals, and he attributed it to my classes. He said I motivated him to continue to show up, and it wasn’t like it was a chore for him. It actually was a pleasure to come and experience rides with me and interact. He said he always felt guilty when he didn’t come and that he owed me an explanation, although I wasn’t expecting that.”

What are your favorite foods?

“I love asparagus and artichoke hearts. I like healthy foods. I much prefer to eat quinoa and shrimp and asparagus over pizza, although I must have pizza days. And occasionally, ice cream.”

What’s an example of a difficult time in your life and how did you cope with it?

“The one that comes to top of mind is when my mom was terminal (with breast cancer). I was pregnant with my middle daughter at the time, and I was trying to propose (to Presbyterian) a senior services program. My mom was actually hospitalized at Presbyterian at the time, and one of the most challenging times was knowing that she was terminal in the hospital, and I’m in a meeting presenting this recommended program. She had just been hospitalized. I finished my presentation and went up to her room. We lost her that night, and the next day I found out that my proposal was accepted and I was given a full-time job. It was so bittersweet, but I knew that in many ways my mom had influenced my ability to just get out there. I had nothing to lose, and all I wanted to do was get up into her patient room and see her. So I just did my thing and then left and let the chips fall where they may. It turned out well, and I know she was looking out for me the whole time.”

Do you have a philosophy of life?

“I try to live my best life every day, and my ultimate goal is that I want to make a difference. I don’t necessarily want to leave a legacy, per se, where people say, ‘Ooh, Robin Divine did this.’ I want to be the behind-the-scenes person who’s making a difference in somebody’s life every day. Whether they know it or not, it doesn’t matter. I want to know that my being on Earth is creating value.”


with Robin Divine


with Robin Divine

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