A few months ago I was sitting with Amber Tabora and Angela Hudson, leaders in our Marketing/PR Department, and I told them I had an exciting idea. As an organization, we had lots of great things happening: tremendous, rapid growth of our workforce and patient volume, three huge capital projects underway, and everyone was working at full throttle, and had been for quite some time.
I said, “Guys, let’s do something big. Let’s get out there and try to reach every Texas Children’s employee and show them how much they are appreciated.” Essentially, I wanted to celebrate who we are, all the amazing things we do together every day and everything that makes our organization’s culture so special.
Together, we came up with the One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team events – seven hospital-based celebrations. But I didn’t want to stop there. I wanted to get out and see every Texas Children’s team member at all 73 locations throughout Greater Houston. I told Amber and Angela that it had always been my dream to go on a tour and visit all of Texas Children’s locations within 24 hours. Yes, I really said within 24 hours. They were all in—at least, until I added that part about doing it all in one day.
Of course, we’ve grown much too big to see all of Texas Children’s in a single day. It actually took 10 days and about 80 hours, but we did it! After seven One Mission, One Culture, One Amazing Team events at the Main Campus, West Campus and Nabisco building, we embarked on a whirlwind, 73-stop One Amazing Team tour. Over the course of three and a half months, we visited all of Texas Children’s locations throughout the community, and it was better than anything I ever dreamed.
Traveling with a core team of 10 people, we covered about 750 miles on a bright blue, fish-themed Texas Children’s shuttle bus, and we met nearly 1,800 staff and employees. I’ll admit it’s difficult to make time to do something like this – we spent full days on the road – and it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to travel from place to place. But this tour is hands down one of the best things I’ve ever had an opportunity to do. The investment of time and energy was invaluable, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
It was quite an experience to see up close and in person the amazing impact and imprint of Texas Children’s. Many times throughout this journey I wished I could take the entire Texas Children’s team along with me so each one of you could experience what I did. Because it’s not until you visit our locations all over the city that you can even begin to appreciate how much Texas Children’s is doing to change and advance care for children and women.
At every stop, I saw the shared pride and commitment of all the physicians and employees. I talked to practice managers about the families they serve, and I learned about ideas they’ve implemented to extend our reach and broaden access to health care in their communities. I learned about all the ways, big and small, that so many people are leading the way to ensure our patients’ sometimes complex social and clinical needs are met.
It moved me to see how we are serving so passionately in underserved communities, providing families and children with options that would otherwise be beyond their reach. I spoke with parents and kids, and I heard how their care providers, our people, are like members of their families. And the best part? People at every location told me about their close-knit teams – amazing teams – and I saw over and over how they embody and embrace our fabulous culture.
This is an incredible organization, and all of you are really special. You have heard me say that many times, and honestly, we probably all say it so much that sometimes it may seem trite. But it’s really quite remarkable that we are a workforce of 11,000 people with such diversity of interests and experiences, skills and beliefs. And yet, we have such indisputable passion for serving our one mission.
I’m truly humbled by all of the employees I met along the way who have taken the time to let me know how much they appreciate my stopping by to meet them and their teams. And of course everyone asks, “Are you going to do this again?” Without a doubt, yes. Just maybe not quite as soon as next year … In the meantime, continue your work of serving our families, and know that I appreciate everything you do. And most importantly, remember that no matter how big we get, the contributions each of you makes are valued. Each one of you is essential to our mission, and together, we will always be one amazing team.
Stay tuned for a video of all the highlights from the tour. Until then, here’s a gallery of some of my favorite moments on the road: One Amazing Team tour photo gallery.