The power to make a difference

August 17, 2017 | (16) Comments

“We lead in our professional lives and in our personal lives.”

Leadership Maxim No. 3 is one of my favorites because it exemplifies what a true leader is  ̶  someone who leads not only at work but, even more importantly, at home.

See I don’t believe you can compartmentalize leadership. Of course we need effective leaders at work, but we also need people who lead at home, where it often matters the most. I’ve found the most valuable leaders are those who are leading in their families, within other organizations and in their communities. They are the people making a sincere and dedicated effort to have a consistent and positive impact on the people and the world around them. In turn, they bring that same sincerity and compassion to Texas Children’s. And that’s what makes the best leaders.

Deborah Parrott, a West Campus nurse at the Cancer and Hematology Centers, is a perfect example of someone who goes above and beyond at work and at home. Deborah’s co-workers say she always goes the extra mile for her patients and for her team, providing comfort and support or an encouraging smile at just the right time. These small things go a long way in creating a positive experience for our patients, their families and Deborah’s colleagues. Deborah is also a part of “West Campus Lead,” a year-long program that helps employees hone leadership skills. She applied for the program to build her confidence and expand her ability to impact others.

She demonstrates this same passion and initiative in her community. After work, Deborah pours her energy into her family and several volunteer efforts, such as fundraising for The Periwinkle Foundation, which provides support to patients and families at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. She participates in the Foundation’s Cycle for Life and its annual kickball tournament. Deborah also rides in the MS150, which raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

But her most beloved volunteer effort involves The Periwinkle Foundation’s Camp YOLO (You Only Live Once), a camp dedicated to Texas Children’s teen patients who are struggling with adolescence and life threatening illnesses. Deborah has volunteered at Camp YOLO since 2006, her most recent post being a cooking instructor. Over the years, she has witnessed the positive healing power the camp has on young people, and she says her involvement in Camp YOLO and her job at Texas Children’s are two of the biggest blessings in her life.

Deborah’s leadership philosophy is: “We’re all in this together. We all have the power to make a difference no matter where we are and what we are doing.” I couldn’t agree more and am truly honored to have Deborah and the countless others who are dedicated to leadership at work and in their personal lives as members of our Texas Children’s family.

I’d like to hear from you … how do you lead at home and in your community?

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.

16 Responses to “The power to make a difference”

  1. Johnna Carlson

    This is one of my favorite leadership maxims as well! I wholeheartedly agree that leadership extends into every facet of your life. My leadership philosophy involves an aspect of service – to lead is to serve – and I enjoy serving my family, friends, and community outside of my role at Texas Children’s. I am a proud aunt to my one-year old niece who recently learned that she is going to be a big sister to twins. I am looking forward to serving as a role model to her and teaching her what being a big sister is all about! I am also a member of the Junior League of Houston where I have had the opportunity to serve as a mentor to at-risk youth in Harris County’s Juvenile Probation program. I also serve on the board of the local chapter of my alumni association where we raise funds for scholarships for Houston area high school students to attend my alma mater. I also serve on the board of the League of Women Voters of the Houston area which is dedicated to civic engagement, voter registration, and voter education. At a time when there is a very negative sentiment resonating across our nation, I believe the only way to change that sentiment is by indivually choosing to be that change. And, in my opinion, that starts with being an active, engaged, and compasionate member of your community who gives back and serves others.

  2. Natalie Varela

    This maxim always puts a smile on my face because I do my best to live by it every day of my life. Growing up the youngest of three girls, I was always a follower and not a leader. I had to discover my own ways to be a leader and I did that by volunteering. Giving back is my passion and I always try to find new ways to do that.. I’ve been a Girl Scout, MD Anderson and Texas Children’s Hospital volunteer, served on the Youth Council for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and many other organizations. I am currently a proud member of the Junior League of Houston where I serve as the Head Active of Radio Lollipop, Admissions Mentor and Provisional Mentor. I get to serve the community while also offering support to the incredible women that are in their first year with the league or want to join the organization. I lead at home by being a role model for my niece and nephews. They notice everything I do and want to be just like me. My niece looks up to me and whenever she introduces me to her friends, she always tells them I graduated from the University of Houston, work at Texas Children’s Hospital and I am a member of the Junior League of Houston. When my nephew started volunteering at the age of 4, I asked him what it meant to volunteer and he said he didn’t know but since I do it, it must be cool. It makes me really happy that I can make that impact to their lives. I lead by serving the community because my small amount of service is making a big a difference in other people’s lives.

  3. Crystal Sallans

    I know Deborah Parrott professionally and couldn’t agree more, she is a true leader at work and in the community. I have had the opportunity to be a Camp Director for a statewide Hemophilia Camp that Deborah volunteered, everyone loved her!

    True leaders lead everywhere they go. As a social worker (by heart, professional an Experience Consultant) I lead within the community in various ways. I sit on a Board of Directors that helps hospitals and clinics from around the nation provide exceptional care to their patients by funding creative projects. I also serve on a steering committee for the Houston Branch of Social Workers (NASW) and previously served as the Branch Chair and Conference Planning Committee. I believe in leading through action and service. I try to live by those values daily.

  4. Leslie Raneri

    Leadership in my home and community is an important value for me as well. As the leader of my family, I want to set an example to my children of commitment to our helping others in our family and community. My daughters and I serve as children’s catechists at our church and volunteer with other organizations frequently. I have been a member of the Ryan White Planning Council, working with others to plan services for people living with HIV in the Greater Houston area. I am the chair of the TCH Community Advisory Board that reviews pediatric and maternal HIV research and the chair of the International Community Advisory Board (ICAB) for the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trails (IMPAACT) research network. As the IMPAACT ICAB chair, I have the opportunity to work with others in the US and internationally by providing community input regarding HIV research for children, adolescents, and women. I also am involved with providing community input into other research networks as well as the NIH pediatric HIV treatment guidelines. Leadership is not primarily something that others see; it is usually behind the scenes conference calls and meetings, reviewing and providing feedback on documents and policies, and planning workshops and training seminars to empower others who are working with people with HIV in their communities. Serving others in my family, local community, and the world is important to me, and I hope that my children also see this as important in their lives. I am thankful to work in an organization that believes in service and leadership.

  5. Julia Sigren

    I agree with Natalie. Growing-up I was more of a leader than a follower. As I completed and obtained the Girl Scout Gold Award and Congressional Gold Award I learned that service in the community and being able to impact change was something I was always going to hold dear to my heart. When I came to Texas Children’s I was overjoyed to see all the different initiates in which I could be a part of and help lead. I think this is what helps make Texas Children’s Hospital one of the most wonderful organizations in the country. Now that I am a manager, I can encourage staff to participate and take-part in such amazing opportunities as Camp Pump it Up. Talking more about this Maxim has inspired me to look into more ways to help in the community.

  6. Katie Crockett

    I lead at home by volunteering at my church, my children’s schools and being a part of their extracurricular activities. This has included being team mom for my son’s baseball team as well as leading the fundraising committee, being in charge of props for my daughters musical and working back stage. I want my kids to know that I care about what they are doing and show them the importance of giving of your time and talents.

  7. Deitra Brown

    As a leader, I lead in both my professional and personal lives. I believe that leadership is about influence. In my professional life, I have led teams of nurses to improve patient care and outcomes, such as the CPCU achieving 365+ days without a CLABSI. I have served as Secretary on the board of the local chapter of AACN, which impacts nursing through education offerings. Outside of my formal leadership role, I have volunteered as Director of Camp Pump It Up, a weekend camp for TCH cardiac patients. In the community, I participate in a mission trip each Summer and lead the medical team that provides health screenings and basic aide in foreign countries. At my local church, as a youth leader I have the privilege of impacting the lives of teenagers by influencing the decisions they make about their futures. Last but not least, at home I have transitioned from mother to mentor as I watch my two daughters grow into motherhood and offer advice when it is solicited. I enjoy leadership. It is about helping others become the best they can be.

  8. Monica Foreman

    Leadership skills can be both natural and learned. I am very passionate in my leadership role, through parenting. The ability to lead with a sincere desire to uplift and promote are skills that I strive towards.

  9. Emily Weber

    Deborah – thank you for your example to lead in the community. Your passion is evident in the volunteer work you are doing.

    I lead in my personal life through volunteering at church, YMCA, and 4-H. It’s great to give back to the community, and I love investing in youth activities.

  10. Sommer LaShomb

    It’s almost subconscious sometimes how the leader in me comes out in my personal life. I don’t set out to lead but it just naturally happens! That innate desire to take charge, provide guidance and support and protect and care your family is the same whether it’s your work family or your personal family.

  11. Jackie Ward

    Deborah Parrott has made such an impact on the countless lives of children she has encountered. She’s a true leader in advocating for the needs of children and youth. Thank you Deborah for your long tenured commitment to volunteer and make a difference.
    I lead in my personal life in a variety of ways including at my church, for my son’s extracurricular activities and in organizations such as Jack and Jill of America, Inc. The same competencies I lean on at work to lead are just as important in my personal life.

  12. Joanna Thielmann

    Way to go Deborah! I’ve never had the pleasure to work with you but you sound like an impressive leader in the T.C.H. team and I hope that one day, I will get the opportunity.

    Like Deborah, I take on leadership roles outside of the hospital. I lead my household in healthier choices, not just for ourselves but our environment by cooking healthy recipes, recycling and conserving, when possible. I also hold local and national level leadership positions within an international women’s organization (Alpha Gamma Delta); our primary focus is to “inspire the women, impact the world.” and our foundation focuses on hunger prevention.

  13. Thomesa Wilson

    I love this maxim as well! It serves as a reminder to help keep me grounded. There are times when it is challenging as a leader in both areas of our lives. It can sometimes seem so much easier to just lose control. But we have to mindful that we may encounter someone who looking for a positive example of leadership, even in instances where mistakes are made. Our children are the ones who are usually right there with a front row seat! We have to be careful to demonstrate the right attitude/spirit when navigating through those situations especially, so that what is true, positive and right prevails. My mom always tells me “Be careful of how you carry yourself. You may be entertaining an angel.”

  14. Jeanette McMullen

    I am SO happy to read how someone else also leads at home as well as at work. In my opinion, when you wear the Texas Children’s logo in public, you are the FACE of Texas Children’s and should present yourself as such. When I wear my TCH shirt and stop at the store on the way home or pick up my child from school after work, people walk up to me and tell me what TCH did for their children. I am so happy to listen to their stories because it makes me proud to work at the newest facility in the TCH family, The Woodlands Campus. I also proudly “wear the logo” while at home. I am a member of many “mom” Facebook pages. When moms ask for “what pediatric cardiologist would you suggest” or “who do you use for a pedi in the area”, I proudly step up and suggest TCPs here or TCH The Woodlands along with our phone numbers so as to expedite their calling for an appointment. Just because we work at TCH doesn’t mean we have to leave our job at the door. We are ALL leaders and ALL encouraged to “wear the logo”. I stand tall and proud to be a part of the TCH family.

  15. susanne blanco

    I show leadership in my home by showing my children life lessons and values and goals. I teach them leadership goals, by telling them to never follow always lead, and to put GOD first always.

  16. Regina Wysocki

    I think it so important to involve yourself in activities outside of work, as they help grow your leadership skills from a different perspective. I have two boys in high school, and over the years I have stepped up to help with many of the organizations they belong to. Swimming is big in our family, and currently I am the President of the High School Swim Team Booster Club. This organization is charged with raising money and supporting both the athletes and coaches in the program. It has been a great opportunity to work with other parents, and expand my leadership skills by searching for new solutions to old problems. A big part of leading an established organization such as the Booster Club involves taking stock of what has been done before, and learning from past presidents as to what worked and what did not work. One thing that I am proud we instituted this year was an online store for all swim apparel and merchandise. This has streamlined the process for ordering merchandise, and eliminated the coach having to keep up with checks and paper order forms. As someone who works in Informatics, I love to find a technology solution to a problem!

    Another organization that I am proud to be a part of is the American Nursing Informatics Association. I am on the Board of the local Houston chapter as the Secretary, and have really enjoyed networking with colleagues and learning from their experiences. Our chapter has been working to try and expand our membership- we currently only have about 115 members. There is so much talent in the Houston area, especially here in the Med Center, and so we are trying to come up with a way to encourage Nurse Informaticists to join our organization and share their knowledge with others. Being a leader means you have to look at different solutions to problems, and not be afraid to try something just because it might fail. You take those failures and learn from them, and use the knowledge for the next time. This has been the case with our membership efforts- we haven’t been as successful as we thought we would, and now we need to come up with new and different ways to drive our membership.

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