Once during an interview, someone asked me who is the person who shaped me the most professionally. I can’t help but share two stories. One of Kathleen and one of Cory.
When I met Kathleen as a coop student, I knew this is who I wanted to grow up to be. I remember her telling me a story long ago of 8 of us in our school, given an opportunity to pick where we wanted to do coop–in decision support, in health records, in privacy and access or with Kathleen. If you knew me then, you knew I was small, quiet (not so much anymore), and super ambitious. Kathleen would fondly tell me a story about how every name that came out of that hat was: decision support, health records, decision support, health records, privacy, privacy. She sat there waiting and was afraid no one would pick her then boom–she heard her name and mine. She looked at me. I don’t think I equated to much.
Strategically I knew she was the decision maker in the group. I knew working with her would give me the greatest access to all of the depts. and to the hospital C-Level Suite. My patience and my shadowing of her paid off. I was eventually hired on and I worked in all of her depts. –decision support where we sent analysis on our ED wait times to the Ministry to make sure we were within target to health records–whereby we had the lowest employee engagement rate of 30% and I was to design, develop, and implement, a plan to get us above 30% which I can say we won the team award 3 years later, to privacy–we sat on FOIP requests, heard contentious cases and had to make executive decisions on what to do. But best of all, I got to watch a master do it. I got to learn from Kathleen, see how she makes decisions, got to know her at a personal level and truly idolized her. I found someone I could look up to and someone who I deemed worth to follow.
There are so many nuggets from Kathleen I learned. So many stories to share. This woman shaped my life for the better. I found that there are people out there I knew I would always strive to become.
Next is my story of Cory. When I first met Cory, I didn’t know whether or not I wanted him in my financial services business. He was a trades guy. He had a lot of tattoos, had long hair, came in dressed in Carhartt’s and steel-toed shoes. Financial Services is a business about image and professionalism. However at my agency, we took a chance on everyone. We understood change comes from within and that we support growth. Cory to this day, is probably one of my greatest success stories. He was the most coachable student I have ever had. He cleaned up. Cut his hair, dressed professionally and the internal growth and determination in him is truly admirable. I would watch in awe of Cory as he would deliver the most heartfelt speeches on stage as his family cheered in the background. I would watch with pride as he walked across the stage winning a lot of awards. This was when it really hit me the impact you can have on someone and how coaching and leadership matters.