Your leadership story

October 29, 2019

Back in April, I asked you to share how my Leadership Maxims apply to you and your roles at Texas Children’s. I received so many thoughtful responses, all of which confirm that employees at Texas Children’s take Maxim No. 2 – Leadership Applies to Everyone – to heart.

I recently had the opportunity to visit with all respondents and thank them for sharing their leadership stories.

Since then, I have chosen five responses to highlight on my blog over the next few weeks. This is the first time I’ve featured guest bloggers and I’m really excited! Each blog will focus on one of the first five of my 10 Leadership Maxims:

  1. Leadership always influences or determines outcomes – not some of the time, but all of the time.
  2. Leadership applies to everyone.
  3. We lead in our professional lives and in our personal lives.
  4. We all should have our own definition of leadership.
  5. The key characteristics to look for when selecting people are a winning attitude and strong work ethic.

The first guest blogger – Daniel Osmand, a paralegal with our Legal Department – writes about Maxim No. 1: Leadership always influences or determines outcomes. I hope you enjoy learning his intimate thoughts on leadership and stay tuned for the guest blogs to come.

Maxim 1: Leadership always influences or determines outcomes – not some of the time, but all of the time

Leadership always influences or determines outcomes – not some of the time, but all of the time – and thank goodness it does! Today, I work for the top children’s hospital in America because of leadership choices my parents made years ago in war-torn former Yugoslavia.

The Yugoslav Wars were the backdrop of my childhood. Growing up in the former Yugoslavia, I was too young to understand that I was living through what would come to be known as Europe’s most devastating conflict since World War II.  I was also too young to put into words what leadership meant, but I was not too young to watch true leadership happen.  The leaders I’m speaking of are my parents. I watched them as they watched the news, talked to members of the community, and strategically planned the best time to flee our home.

I was too young to realize that as I fled with my mother, who showed leadership by taking her children toward an unknown future and saying goodbye to my father – who showed leadership in a different way by staying behind – that their actions determined the outcome of my future, and eventually the future of others at Texas Children’s.  I was too young to realize that I would never go back home. I am old enough now to realize that I am home, both in the United States of America and at Texas Children’s Hospital.

As a refugee, I lived in Serbia and then in Dusseldorf, Germany, where my dad’s oldest brother lived.  My mother wanted the best for us, so she enrolled us in the German school system where we had to learn the language before learning any other subject.  My father was eventually reunited with us, and after the signing of the Peace Agreement that brought an end to the war, my parents were forced to make yet another decision that would determine my outcome. They had to decide to whether to go back to a destroyed community and trust that the very short-lived, fragile peace would continue under the same leadership and tensions that brought war, or to put their children’s safety first. The latter prevailed.

My mom applied to immigrate to the United States through the government’s Refugee Program. I remember arriving in Dallas where my family was taken to a rundown apartment complex infested with rodents.  My dad led again as he made the decision to call a taxi to bring us to Houston where we lived in a one bedroom apartment with another family.

Watching my parents lead us through the immigration process with grace and perseverance sparked my interested in U.S. immigration law.  Today, I coordinate all immigration-related matters in my role as a paralegal for Texas Children’s Legal Department.  I have lived the process, faced war, and found hope in the United States because of my parents’ leadership.  I now get to help others find that hope. I now get to lead.

I’d like to hear from you … how has good leadership influenced the way you work?

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

Over the next few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will feature guest bloggers who share how Mr. Wallace’s Leadership Maxims apply to them and their roles at Texas Children’s. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section.

Throughout November, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 100 people from the comments 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 Texans cheerleaders. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 3.

42 Responses to “Your leadership story”

  1. Patty Donna

    What an amazing story! You’re very lucky to have such strong parents, as they are both great examples of how making the right leadership decisions affect not only their children’s lives but Texas Children’s as well. With what you’ve experienced and in the role you play, your own leadership decisions will positively affect everyone at Texas Children’s. I, for one, am glad you are a part of our family.

  2. Gena Graham

    Daniel’s story touches the heart. He is blessed to have such leaders as parents. Texas Children’s is fortunate to have a knowledgeable, conscientious, hard working paralegal. Daniel – we are glad you are on our team! We are proud of you.

  3. Hadi Sayeed

    Your journey is awesome. I am sure your parents are proud that you are honoring them with this blog. Their effort of raising such a good son was witnessed during my immigration process! I wouldn’t have stayed in the Unites States and continue working for Texas Children’s Hospital if you were not persistent in dealing with my difficult visa process. Thank you!

  4. Johnny Johnson

    Thanks for sharing your profound insight on Maxim 1. I now realize the source of not only your expertise, but also your warmth and passion when supporting immigration-related matters !

  5. Elizabeth Watson

    You write beautifully, and what an amazing journey you and your family have had. Your mom and dad sound like amazing parents and are obviously extraordinary people. Your parents demonstrated a significant level of bravery going up against so much uncertainly – fueled by their love for you I am certain of that. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Awesome to have you at Texas Children’s.

  6. Michelle Lawson

    Daniel’s story is inspiring! I think like many of us, I’ve experienced great examples of leadership in my career at Texas Children’s. What I have learned to appreciate is that it doesn’t take a title to be a great leader. The most compelling examples of leadership I witness are those things that go largely unseen. It’s the social worker or chaplain providing a supportive presence in a quiet moment with a family who is experiencing heartache during their healthcare journey; it’s the employee from housekeeping that takes personal ownership in our facility and understands the critical role they play in keeping patients safe and free from infection; it’s the smiles given by patients when they are given the opportunity to play in a therapeutic way despite their illness; these examples of front line leadership inspire me every day to do all I can to empower our teams to go the extra steps to make patients, families and co-workers feel valued. Recognizing that we are all called to the same purpose at Texas Children’s helps us remain #oneamazingteam in all of our roles, committed to contributing in our own unique way to healing for patients and families.

  7. WOW Daniel! That is some history you have! I am at least a 7th generation American and your story was amazing. Your parents sound amazing. I cannot image having the make the decisions they made, and, even though I do not have children, I can imagine doing whatever was necessary to make sure they were safe.Congratulations on your employment here! I have been here for 17 years and love it!

  8. Joseph Uthuph

    Thanks for being here for those in need! Good to know that you were able to reflect back on your younger years and recognize the leadership and motivation of your parents for your own safety and future! Thanks to them! And, Thank YOU!

  9. Nicole Sanders

    Wow, I got the chills over and over again as I read your story. Thank you so much for sharing it. The bravery and courage your parents must have had is unimaginable. Thank you again for sharing.

    Good leadership has influenced the way I work and where I work. Having supportive leaders from day one as a new graduate nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital was the key to success. Looking back, when I first started my Texas Children’s and nursing journey, everyone I interacted with was leading me. My preceptor was an amazing leader. She had just the right mixture of compassion, knowledge and patience to mentor and guide a new nurse. Whenever I identified an area or a task that I really needed to improve on her response was always “we are all learning.” It is a response that I took with me and then used when I became a preceptor. My managers influenced me by making me feel supported. Their willingness to jump into clinical care and their encouragement to take part in unit committees made me feel that they didn’t just want me to succeed on a basic level, but they wanted me to excel. And as my career continued, my unit leader showed me she believed in me and cared about my success by not only supporting, but continuously encouraging me when I wanted to engage in activities outside of the unit. Everyone on the unit lead me as a new grad- supporting me in performing new tasks, teaching me valuable lessons from their experience, and always without judgement. I’m grateful to have “grown up” in an environment where nurses willingly lead each other to success.

  10. Jayson Salazar

    Wow! Awesome blog and great example of your parents as leaders. It is obvious that you are an asset to Texas Children’s because, not only did you have to study immigration, but it is another thing to live through the process and the challenges the process can entail. Glad we have someone like you on board.

  11. Kenitra White

    Thank you Daniel for sharing your story and the journey of your life, both of which have made you a great leader. I read, and feel, your passion in relationship to what you experienced and how it pushes you today. Keep leading!

  12. Hadi Sayeed

    Hello, I have already added a comment, and would like to add another detailed one about my Manager Renee Webb, who clearly defines the role of a true leader.

    I want to get started with her people skills: She gives 100% attention towards an individual in need of her time or guidance. I can imagine someone doing it for few employees, but doing it to all of them with same intent is nearly impossible and Renee does that with perfection! That is the reason we love the time of annual evaluation, because that is when we hear all the good things about ourselves which Renee keenly observes and conveys with a happy face.

    Another important skill Renee has is managing/ assigning work to employees. She explains a dire situation in simplest way. Renee always keeps her calm and maintains a thin line to push us with no pressure to get a job done. That is the reason Molecular micro was able to get through a busy flu season last year with flying colors, and Renee made this happen with only half the regular staff. Same is applicable to Oncology and Molecular Neuropathology. She will surely do this with the Epic beaker transition this year.

    Renee makes split second decisions.
    Example: We had an instrument breakdown in Molecular micro over one of the weekend and if the instrument was not fixed we would have not met the turnaround time of many flu samples and the next day personnel would have had multiple samples(practically unmanageable). Renee was able to fix this issue over the weekend by her skilled planning and involving right people to get the work done. The situation was much worse than I explained and I am sure the point was conveyed and no details are required!

    Renee loves her employees and always protects them.
    Example: I used to work for a different institution and the visa status didn’t allow me to work anymore in US. Renee again came to the rescue and presented me with a job of more benefits and potential to grow at TCH. This particular situation is old but I remember that every day when I come to work, so it never gets old to me. To cut short I have a better career and life and all the credit for this goes to Renee Webb.

    She manages many departments and people, I am sure everyone has the similar opinion about her. To sum it up, I always try to apply her skills in applicable situations and hope to get a result like she does!

  13. Your story is touching, stirring empathy, at each turn of your life. What is truly inspiring is the way you view these events, as positive influences on your future. I also admire your personal conviction and leadership toward immigration-related concerns. I know you will determine positive outcomes through your leadership!

  14. Angela Anderson

    Great leadership has influenced me in many ways. I truly benefit when the expectations are made clear. This allows me to perform my job more easily, and with clarity. Also, I have been strongly influenced when leadership leads by example. This behavior reminds and motivates me to be consistent and hard working. Servant leadership has also been a great method to allow the “front line” to have a say and come up with ideas that allow work flow to go smoothly. The most important influence a good leader has had on me is one who is a great listener, is responsive to concerns and has timely/consistent follow up. My current direct report leader has all the above stated leadership qualities 🙂

  15. Haley Streff

    My parents led me to understand the necessity of a good work ethic and lived their lives to demonstrate this example. I am thankful to grow up in a supportive community that shows me how to balance work and life.

  16. N. Janelle Allen

    It was inspiring to read your story. With immigration on the first page of every newspaper, and a subject in most newscasts today, it was nice to read a story of an immigration process that worked. What strong examples of leadership you had as role models in your parents. I’m so glad they taught you well, and that you have used lessons you learned from them to make a difference in a world that needs a lot to be different. Thank you for bringing your past, your story, and your knowledge to Texas Children’s Hospital. I’ve no doubt you are a strong leader, nothing better than learning by example. And you are lucky to now be mentored by another great example – Mark Wallace.

  17. Ashley Williams

    What an amazing tale of perseverance! It’s wonderful to know that Texas Children’s is comprised of employees with diverse backgrounds and interpretations of the Leadership Maxims . Your experience is a wonderful example of varying types of leadership sewn throughout personal and professional settings. Thank you for sharing your deeply inspirational story.

  18. Suwanna Rubio

    How has good leadership influenced the way you work? Acknowledge that person since it will show how leaders pay respect back to his/her team. Communications among the team as clear and positive for the best results/ outcome. There are more keys to these, but all of the good leaders will get more of good outcomes and dedication to work and because it will create great positive attitude, positive thinking and feels of belong to the organization. Mostly the ethical effect will drive you to work harder with less complaints.

  19. Great story! I too am from an upbringing where my parents lead in a similar manner, escaping a third world country to be able to find a better life here in the U.S. Their leadership has given my sister and I opportunities to excel that may never have been available to us in the Philippines. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Nakeisha Archer

    What an awesome example of being connected to your purpose in such an amazing way. The adversities you and your family faced in life have shaped you into the awesome person you are today. That’s really a testament to what perseverance and great leadership does, great leadership unknowingly teaches us lessons within the daily challenges of highs and lows, that somehow bring out the most positive attributes and best in you. Really all divinely designed to prepare you for your for purpose and greatness. Thank you for sharing your story, and for all you do for others!

  21. Diana Harter

    Thank you for sharing your touching story, Daniel. I admire how you viewed what some would call adversity, with a leadership lens. Texas Children’s is truly blessed to have you as an advocate for others who may be in similar situations as it relates to immigration. It is amazing to translate passion into practice, thank you for leading the way that you do!

  22. Danielle Gregory BSN, RN, CNRN

    Thank you Daniel for your work here at TCH with immigrant matters as that is a huge point of struggle in our current national Administration and you of all people can understand the needs of refugees and immigrants are pressing and important. I have had the pleasure of caring for some of these children while admitted to TCH main campus, and I pray for them as they have to return to their temporary caregivers/facilities during this time of uncertainty.

    Thank you also for sharing your story with us all here at TCH. I think it is very important for us to be reminded that we as a nation (including our patient population here at TCH) come from all walks of life, natural born citizen to immigrant, and from all races, religions and backgrounds, which should be not just acknowledged but respected.

    As far as leadership, I am happy to say that in my work as a float pool staff RN, I have experienced leadership in the various nurses and PCAs and educators and ancillary medical staff that I work along side. These are all the people that take the time to go the extra mile for their patient’s care, to follow policies and procedures the correct way, and to not moan and groan with changes and hopeful improvements to patient care.

    Thank you for your leadership example.

  23. Rhonda Wolfe

    Thanks Daniel, for sharing your truly inspiring journey! Our parents are often our first experience with true leadership, but it takes time for us to realize the leadership displayed. Thank you for demonstrating leadership as you support others in their journey.

  24. Veronica Parson

    Leadership has influenced me in many ways at Texas Children’s Health Plan. What stands out consistently to me is that leadership inspects what is expected and does not lead blindly. As I navigate new processes such as Care Coordination Mission Control and work on improving alignment with State expectations I am continually guided. My leadership knows the importance of being in the weeds and knowing what to expect while simultaneously taking an eagle eye view from above to inspect and issue pause for greater outcomes. I use this same approach when leading my team by knowing enough of what happens day to day and pulling up to take the perspective my leadership or the State would and change course if needed.

  25. Jessica Raymond

    This is such an amazing and inspiring story especially in this day and age! To come from Yugoslavia as a refugee to now impacting the lives of patients and families within the Texas Children’s Hospital family is truly an inspiration. It also aligns perfectly with the Texas Children’s Hospital MISSION – to create a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. This can be done in many ways, both directly through patient care, and indirectly through stories like this. Thank you so much for your hard work!

  26. Sheetal Ngao

    What an amazing story! I have also learned leadership from my immigrant parents. My mother and father came from India, and my father worked several jobs to make a good life for our family. Leadership is about making the necessary sacrifices for the greater good, and I see that time and time again here. I am so blessed to be working here at Texas Children’s, and constantly reminded of the sacrifices we all make for the children and team members that help them. May God bless all, and I always try and remember to pay it forward as a leader.

  27. Alisha Lerch

    Great leaders have inspired and motivated me to be a good leader. In time where leadership wasn’t strong it influenced me as well as an example of what not to do and no matter what the task is big or small it affects patient care at some point, after all that is why we are here.

  28. Such an amazing and inspiring story Daniel! Thank you for sharing!

    Great leadership influences values such as respect, honesty, and work ethics. With good leadership skills, one will work and complete any task effectively. The great leadership at Texas Children’s Hospital fosters motivation to go the extra mile when providing patient care and sparks interests in expanding my role to become actively involved with committees and councils both department and hospital wide. As a result, this all inspires and creates an efficient working environment that contributes to the growth and development of the organization.

  29. Rosemary Campo

    Such a great inspiring story. Definition what is also great leadership:
    “Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves. Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals.”

  30. Rhonda Bolin

    WOW … an amazing blog! As I was reading, I thought about all the time this surely encompassed, not just hours of your life but most likely months/years. I’m glad your family persevered and “found hope in the United States”.

    I am a nurse and have been asked many times to write a letter of diagnosis for immigration because a patient has a parent who has applied for citizenship. I have become a very good, descriptive letter writer (all about the patient) which, after the physician approves/signs, and if approved by the USCIS, “helps others find that hope” legally and at the best children’s hospital around. I get to lead!

  31. Alicia Ardon

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is inspiring to know that from far away you came and where able to achieve so much. And kudos to your parents for making the right choices that lead you to where you are at now.

  32. Seema Patel

    What an amazing story! As an immigrant myself, I watched my parents work incredibly hard and sacrifice so much to ensure that my brother and I had every opportunity they did not. I never thought about it as leadership but really appreciate this perspective, especially as my parents are visiting right now.

    Every day at work, I see both formal and informal leaders, and I believe it takes every member of the team to ensure our collective success. Having good leadership that gives me trust, flexibility, autonomy, and the ability to creatively engage others is important in keeping me excited about my job and that is what keeps me here.

  33. Melissa Nugent

    Thank you for sharing your story and your thoughts on leadership. Your childhood situation is something that those of us who have never lived outside of the U.S. may take for granted. I can’t imagine what those decisions must have been like for your parents. I know they must be so proud of your success!

  34. Nicole Gabler

    Thank you for the beautiful story of perseverance and leadership. Strong female role models and leadership set examples for me too and influenced my journey through graduate school and my career at Texas Children’s. I strongly believe in the saying, “Empowered women empower women.” My leadership team in the Office of Philanthropy exhibits this daily through collaborations, strategy sessions and project reviews. I am incredibly lucky to be a part of a team that is truly invested in my growth and leadership journey.

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