February 15, 2016 | (14) Comments

Tuesday marked one of my favorite days of the year – the day we host our annual Employee Recognition Celebration to honor Texas Children’s employees for their years of dedication and commitment to the organization. And this year’s was our largest celebration yet – we honored 32 recognition award recipients and another 473 employees celebrating 15 to 40 years of tenure.

All told, we had about 8,900 years of service represented in the ballroom on Tuesday. Wow! That’s 3.2 million days of service to the mission of Texas Children’s, our patients and their families. That was more than enough reason to celebrate, and that we did, starting with an awesome brass band that kicked things off New Orleans style!

2k16-0075-AK4_1874 2016 Employee Recognition Celebration044As festive as it was, I was still so humbled by this room full of committed employees from across the organization.

Together, we’ve broken ground on new buildings, added floors to existing facilities and developed new treatments to advance health care for children and women around the world.

None of this would have been possible without each person sitting in the audience on Tuesday, doing their part to respond to our needs, innovate new ideas and lead tirelessly every day.

I remember when I joined Texas Children’s in 1989 – there were only 1,100 employees. The Clinical Care Center and West Tower did not exist. We did not even have a dedicated pediatric emergency center when I joined the organization. Today, we have more than 13,000 employees, and we had nearly 3.5 million patient encounters across Texas Children’s last year. We now treat patients from nearly 60 countries and all 50 states. We have the Pavilion for Women, West Campus, Health Plan, Health Centers, a network of 53 pediatric practices, four urgent care centers, the two Center for Children and Women locations, and we have a comprehensive women’s Ob/Gyn network.

Pause a minute, and think about just how much we’ve accomplished together. It’s simply amazing. Neither our history nor our future would be possible without the people who work here. And especially without those sitting in the room that day who have given so much to the organization for so long to bring these accomplishments to fruition.

And now, we are building Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands; the cranes are up, and work has started on our CareFirst tower; and we are expanding our care into east Texas through the STAR Kids program. This is all happening because of a strategic vision for growth, the structural leadership and support to advance that vision, and, most importantly, you – the people who drive and fulfill the vision.

It doesn’t sound like enough, but thank you. For the 15 years. For the 40 years. And for every year in between. Thank you to the Super Star, Catalyst, Best of the West and SMILES honorees celebrated on Tuesday and every year before. You all are the heart of Texas Children’s, and your legacy is tremendous.