September 28, 2017

It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago our great city was submerged in water. And although the sight of the devastation is something I will never forget, what I have thought about more often since then is how we, together, braved the storm.

Shortly after Hurricane Harvey, I met with Texas Children’s Board of Trustees, and I explained how we’d fared during the storm. I shared our incident command approach to operations and gave an update on our facilities. But I was most proud to talk about you, our amazing staff and employees.

Throughout the storm, I spoke with our leadership team multiple times a day, every day, keeping a pulse on everything that was occurring throughout the organization. The weather and operational briefings were important, but the stories of our people moved me most. There were so many shining moments where staff and employees showed incredible strength and kindness, even in the midst of a pretty frightening and unpredictable storm.

The Board was moved as well. So much so that they wanted to do something to honor every single Texas Children’s employee. So last week, the Board approved a resolution to recognize Texas Children’s staff and employees, and I’m sharing it here.

Hurricane Harvey Resolution-1

In addition, it’s also important to acknowledge our awesome community and the partners who weathered this storm with us. So many individuals and businesses responded with in-kind donations to help our patients, staff and employees immediately after the storm, and I sincerely appreciate their generosity. A heartfelt thank you to all, including:

  • 7K Investments LLC
  • AbbVie Foundation
  • Air Care and The Women’s Hospital of Texas
  • Airgas
  • J. Kessinger
  • Antone’s
  • Bellows
  • Brown Bag Etc.
  • Chick Fil A
  • Chipotle
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Costco
  • Cotton
  • CVS
  • Direct Energy
  • Direct Relief
  • The Gerber Foundation
  • HEB
  • ICHIGO Asset Management International PTE Ltd.
  • Infogroup
  • Interface Architectural Signage Inc.
  • The JPB Foundation
  • James Brooks
  • Kroger
  • March of Dimes
  • Morris-Dickson
  • Morrison’s
  • Northwestern Mutual Foundation
  • Pallotta’s Italian Grill
  • Panda Express
  • Teammates for Kids Foundation
  • US Army Reserve: 1st/158th Assault Helicopter Battalion Ghost Riders
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals
  • Vizient Foundation
  • Walmart Foundation
  • Wyndham Hotels

The actions of our community and partners spoke volumes about their appreciation for you and the seamless care that continued at Texas Children’s throughout the storm. And we were able to do what we do that much better because of the spirit of generosity that surrounded us.

 

September 11, 2017

“The key characteristics to look for when selecting people are a winning attitude and a strong work ethic.”

I am asked all the time, “Mark, how do you make decisions about picking new leaders? What are the characteristics you’re looking for?” Of course there are a lot of important things to look for when we’re selecting people to come here. Texas Children’s is a very special place, and every person who becomes part of our team and our family subsequently becomes critical to our mission. So we must be selective and thoughtful when choosing them.

There’s a lot of great potential when a person has a positive attitude and a strong work ethic to match. I’ve seen people succeed time and again because of these two qualities. Education is important, honesty and integrity, that’s a given. But a great attitude drives a passion for excellence, and a strong work ethic sees it through.

Staff and employees who possess this winning combination are always seeing the good in a situation and the possibility to do something greater. Dialysis technician Rudy Garza exemplifies this notion. Rudy joined Texas Children’s more than 20 years ago as part of the Materials Management Department. At the time, he was simply focused on securing health insurance. He and his wife were about to have their first child, and his band – albeit very successful – didn’t offer a health plan.

Little did Rudy know that his new gig and his old one would eventually come together. Throughout his career at Texas Children’s, Rudy always strived to become better at his job and do more than is asked of him. To get a position working closer with patients, he tapped into our tuition reimbursement program and earned his nurses aid certificate, which paved his way to becoming a dialysis technician in our Chronic Renal Dialysis Department.

Shortly after starting the position, Rudy’s enthusiasm for his job landed him an opportunity to volunteer at Camp Okawehna near Nashville, Tennessee. Texas Children’s clinical staff volunteers annually at this camp, which supports children with end-stage renal disease. Rudy suggested to camp organizers that he bring his band, Vital, to Camp Okawehna to play for the children. He’d kept the band alive for years by playing on the weekends. The camp goers loved the music so much that Rudy and his bandmates have now been going back to perform for more than 10 years.

In appreciation of Rudy’s dedication to the camp and to children with renal disease, leaders of Camp Okawehna inducted Rudy into the Camp Okawehna Hall of Fame last year. Rudy graciously accepted the honor, calling it a blessing.

I love that Rudy is such a hard worker with a can-do spirit. He has a knack for humbly seizing opportunities and turning them into something that helps him help others. He is a true asset to Texas Children’s, and we are happy to have him as a member of our family.

I’d like to hear from you … what key characteristics do you think makes someone a good leader and why?

Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!

Over the next four weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will highlight employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section of the blog post. 

In September, the Corporate Communications team will collect all of your comments and draw the names of 100 commenters to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.

So make sure you respond to the question at the end of

Mr. Wallace’s blog post to be entered to win!

Click here to watch a video about how Texas Children’s and the Houston Texans are leading in patient care and on the football field every single day.

September 1, 2017

donate-now-4

Well, Texas Children’s family, we made it. We weathered another storm, and I believe we’ve come out on the other side of it stronger than ever. In fact, as I keep thinking about what all our people – and even our facilities – endured over the past several days, one word remains planted firmly in my mind: sturdy.

I think that word is sticking with me because it’s more than strong. When tested, sturdy endures, time after time. Sturdy takes some lumps here and there and encounters a few hurdles now and again. But from adversity, sturdy emerges smarter, more agile, resourceful and resilient. That’s us. We have proven time and again when faced with challenges that we will bind together to be there for our patients, their families and even more importantly, we will be there for each other. The bond between Texas Children’s employees is incredible, and it is at the very core of our amazing culture.

Although this storm has passed, I know this is not over for so many of you. I understand that you are starting over and having to rebuild your lives. It’s a difficult process that will take time. But on your hardest days, I want you to remember that you’re not just part of our one amazing team – we’re part of one pretty amazing community. The past few days showed the world much more than just devastation. Houston reminded the world what compassion looks like and what it looks like to be selfless and to give everything to ensure the safety of your fellow man. I believe you have the strength to recover from this and that with the continued support of our Texas Children’s family and this incredible community, you will.

Thank you to everyone for your preparation, your leadership, your work, your prayers and even for your laughter in the midst of the storm. You endured, and you got us through this. Again. Stay sturdy, Texas Children’s. You are amazing.