The guardians of our mission and culture

May 21, 2015 | (10) Comments

A few days ago, I was part of a long and cherished tradition at Texas Children’s – the Employee Recognition Celebration, which honors employees who have served the organization at least 15 years. I love this celebration because when I walk into the room, it’s so full of excitement and energy and laughter and memories. It simply gives me goose bumps.

As I visited almost every table in the room, I’d look at the employees’ faces, hear their names, and I’d remember how we started. There were just 1,400 of us when I arrived in 1989. So everyone in the room celebrating 25 to 40 years, well we’ve been together a long time. And when we started out together, we were like the Spartans – we were a small group, but fearless.

We knew together that we could accomplish great things. So it was really special to connect at this year’s celebration. It was a remarkable reminder of how we all came together – along with the Board, Dr. Feigin and the medical staff – and just knew we were going to do something amazing here.

Taking the stage and looking out into the crowd, those first few moments were pretty emotional and very special. There were 415 Texas Children’s employees being honored for their collective 7,460 years of service to our organization. In those moments, looking out into the room, I thought, “This is our core.” Long-term employees who have been here 15, 20, 25 years or more, they are our core. They are the organization’s backbone – the guardians and caretakers of our mission and culture. Their passion, and most importantly, their commitment are the secret to our decades of success.

Mark stops to chat with Valesca Adams, a 40-year employee who was honored recently at the annual Employee Recognition Celebration.
Mark stops to chat with Valesca Adams, a 40-year employee who was honored recently at the annual Employee Recognition Celebration.

Employees like Valesca Adams live, breathe and drive our mission every day. Valesca, a nurse in renal dialysis, was celebrating 40 years of service to the organization – 38 of those years have been in the same unit. Dedication and longevity like hers strengthens our foundation. When Nancy Hurst joined Texas Children’s 30 years ago, she began our lactation support program and the milk bank was created. She has worked tirelessly to educate new mothers ever since, and her work has been invaluable to the health of newborns.

And I couldn’t help but break into a smile when I chatted with Keith Strobel, a systems analyst who was celebrating his 25th year right along with me. Keith was one of the Spartans. Jewel Mitchell was also celebrating 25 years of service. She began her career here just six months before I did. When I stopped by Jewel’s table at the celebration, she talked about how much change and growth she has seen during her time here. Jewel said the past 25 years have been “one heck of a ride.” I couldn’t have said it any better.

Everywhere I turned, there was a face with a story and a life dedicated to serving others. I was honored to stand amongst them all as I remembered my own milestone anniversary and my own commitment to service. It really has been one heck of a ride, and we’ve come such a long way. Yet, I feel like we’re just getting started. Thank you all so much for this wonderful journey.

10 Responses to “The guardians of our mission and culture”

  1. Carrie Smith

    Good morning Mr. Wallace,
    I celebrated my 15 year anniversary at TCH yesterday with everyone and I just have to tell you how much it mean’t to me that you took the time to show all of us how much you appreciate our service. I have to admit in all my years here, I hadn’t seen a side of you that I saw yesterday. We are all so very lucky to have you as our leader and I never felt so honored. I also thank the HR Department for organizing this wonderful celebration which I am sure took months to plan. Thanks from the bottom of my heart!

  2. Karen Tarlton

    Thank you for your heartfelt service and kind words to our fellow co-workers. It is an honor for me to work along side some of the greatest people that I’ve ever met. Patients and families will often comment, especially those in the medical field, about how when they see how we work together here, they see us work as a team and a family. A particular patient actually commented on how respectful and friendly the physicians and anesthesiologist were to the entire staff. They said that where they worked, the physicians treated the other staff like they were lower than them & didn’t deserve respect. I was shocked to hear this, but also very proud of the team and family we have here at Texas Children’s. Not a day goes by that I am not extremely proud to say…”I’m a nurse at Texas Children’s.” You can’t help but feel joy in your heart to work in such an innovative, caring, healing and amazing place! Thank you again Mr. Wallace & all of our “guardians” for all that you do!

  3. Alma Martinez

    Texas Children’s is an amazing place to work at. I witness miracles happening daily. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to be a part of a great organization. The last 22.5 years seem like it was just yesterday, yet the milestones TCH has reached are endless….

    Thank you Mr. Wallace for your leadership and guidance!

  4. Keith Strobel

    I started 8/4/89 just a few months prior to Mark Wallace. I love working at TCH, and have always felt TCH has the best Doctors, Nurses, and now the largest Children’s Hospital in the World. We’ve saved so many children’s lives…. I love when I tell people where I work, and they tell me how TCH has helped give their child life or a better life. 25 years seems like yesterday at times, but looking back it makes me realize how much TCH has changed. When I started we were sending out claims on PAPER, nothing yet going Electronic… We were working from a WANG dummy system, only to view data, documenting using what was called a Tickler –hand writing everything and inserting this as a legal Document within each individual folders as we would put into a File Cabinet behind us… In 1989 obviously we had not yet even thought of posting Insurance Payments (via) Electronic .835 files, where now I’m guessing we post over 80% of all Insurance Payments Electronically, what a change… I love support.

    Thanks to Mark Wallace, Doctors, Nursing, the Board, and Management for their insight in making TCH a great Hospital to work at.

  5. Pamela Polk-White

    I have known since I was 15 years old that I wanted to be a PT and working with children. I began working for TCH in June of 1992. TCH thanks for allowing me the opportunity to have my dream job. The celebration was very nice. It is always wonderful to know that others appreciate you.

  6. Rudy Martinez RN

    This is truly awesome and you have always inspired me to be the best employee and clinical leader since I came to Texas Children’s in 1995.
    I am realizing that I am becoming a senior employee in our organization with 20 years of experience. I’ve stayed because of confidence in senior leadership as well as support of my professional development.
    Texas Children’s is dynamic and you are the reason.
    Thank you for your leadership and the promotion of others in this journey.

  7. Kathy Carberry

    Dear Mr. Wallace,

    Congratulations to you and the entire HR team on another incredible Employee Recognition Celebration! It is one of my favorite TCH events. I am always so inspired by it! I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated what you said about spirituality being the secret sauce at TCH. I firmly believe that too.

  8. Michelle Lawson

    It’s humbling to be counted among such a large group of tenured employees. What a great statement to the dedication to the mission of TCH. It’s a privilege to care for the children and women of our community and around the world-people bring their most important thing to us and invite us to provide the best care for them. With that privilege comes great responsibility and we have a great team dedicated to meeting that challenge!

  9. Annette M. Garza

    I attended the Employee Recognition Ceremony to celebrate my 15years of service here TCH – TCP CBO! I have seen much success grow each year as an employee of TCH-TCP. I want to say THANK YOU Mr. Wallace and to your team for making the Employee Recognition Ceremony all about us! I had a wonderful time and the acknowledgement was AWESOME! I am blessed and proud to say I am a Texas Children’s employee! I look forward to many years with Texas Children’s! Thank you for your leadership!

  10. Laurie Gutierrez

    WOW! 25 years I never thought I would make this number of years. It is amazing to see the number of employee’s that are with the organzation. When I started in April 1989 we only had 1700 employees and boy have we grown. I have been very lucky to work in two different jobs and to have seen so many changes. This was a very exciting day for me and I was counting down the days till it came for me to be at the event. The people I work with and for are amazing they are very caring always ask you how are you doing. It means a lot to me when someone shows they care for you. Mr. Wallace you have made this a wonderful organzation to work and I am VERY PROUD to SAY I AM A EMPLOYEE OF THIS ORGANZATION!! If I may say I am so happy you back and working for our organzation. I don’t think we would be the organzation we are without you as our leader. So I was so happy to hear you were back. It is also amazing when someone ask me who do you work for and they always tell me how TCH has made an impression and what they have done to help thier child. Thank you Texas Children’s Hospital for givening me this opportunity and look forward to the coming years!!

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