President and CEO, HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital
Who was your first mentor in life?
My first mentors were my parents. It’s hard to draw the line between them because they worked together so well. The messages and values they taught us were always consistent. They clearly wanted us to be grounded in faith, family and community. My mother was the kindest person I’ve ever known, but also one of the strongest. From my father, I learned about dedication, honor, and loyalty. He was very humble, but we were proud of his accomplishments. As a veteran, he literally put himself in harm’s way many times protecting the United States. An example like that stays with you always. The words of wisdom I learned from both ring in my ears every day.
What was your most memorable lesson?
The lessons that stay with you are usually not pleasant at the time. My family went through a traumatic event. It was the type of experience that could leave a person bitter. I was sad and angry. Instead, wisdom from my parents and others helped me see that I could use the experience to try and empathize on a much deeper level.
What does community mean to you?
Community means that we’re in this together. We all experience the world differently, but there are things that connect us. Whether it’s the area in which you live, the industry in which you work, etc., we face similar challenges. When we communicate with, or give back to, people in our community it’s clear that we can help each other. Life becomes more meaningful when we do.
Why are you involved in the community?
I got involved because I watched people I admire do so a long time ago. It’s a cliché, but it does feel as though you get more than you give. As a new resident to the Decatur area, my involvement is just beginning. My work at St. Mary’s brings great opportunities to contribute. It’s my intention to find the places where I can make an impact. What’s important and how can I help?
What advice would you give to people who want to do more?
Get started. Don’t worry that it’s not perfect. Someone once told me our internal navigation systems can’t help us when we’re standing still. Once we start moving, they switch on and guide us to where we need to be.