What it’s like to ‘Wear the White Coat’

Kevin Lundy

Kevin Lundy (LL '10) director government affairs, Yum! Brands, Inc.

My knowledge of the medical community is limited to my annual physicals and medical care of my family.  Beyond that, I know little about what goes into the success of the medical profession.  Was there really more than a check-up, prescribing medicine and chicken soup?!  I have since learned that the answer is an unequivocal YES! 

Recently I had the honor of completing one of the community’s most humbling and rewarding programs, the Greater Louisville Medical Society’s “Wear the White Coat” program.  This program allows community leaders to experience the practice of medicine through a partnership with a Society physician member.  This eye-opening experience helped me realize not only the tremendous contributions physicians make in the community, but also the challenges they face in trying to provide immediate care to their patients.

The three part program included an introductory breakfast with interactive viewing of a heart surgery, a shadowing day with my physician partner and a closing dinner with dialogue on the approaches for achieving a healthier community.

The heart surgery viewing was very impactful to me, being the closest I had ever gotten to such a procedure.  Visually seeing the operation on TV helped prepare me for my day observing in the operating room.

My shadowing day was like nothing I have experienced before.  I was fortunate to shadow a wonderful general surgeon who had a packed day of surgeries planned.  I spent nearly six hours in the hospital operating room, viewing six different surgeries, all while not passing out!  While it was educational to learn and see where various organs are located in the human body, the most impressive part of surgery was seeing the teamwork and interaction between the tending physicians.  Each doctor depended on the others, ensuring the correct dosage of patient anesthesia, making each incision correctly and accounting for each medical instrument post-surgery.  Everyone needed to be one step ahead of the other in order to preserve the patient’s well-being. 

We owe a great deal of gratitude and appreciation to the medical community.  Their dedication to patient health and ensuring a healthier community is vital to our collective success.  I not only challenge others to take personal responsibility for their own health, but to participate in GLMS’ ongoing discussion on how to improve the well-being of the Louisville community.

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What does Brand Me, Inc. look like?

Jaime Warren

Jaime Warren (IL '12), diagnostic imaging manager - outpatient centers, Norton Healthcare

Ignite Louisville March 2012 program day

As I turned onto Dixie Highway, I was given my first impression of Brown-Forman with its rich history being very visible from their campus. After being escorted to the conference center and enjoying a fantastic breakfast, our group was ready to go with learning how to create “Brand Me”. I quickly learned that this would be a very hard session as most of the questions were not immediately answered and required much deeper thought.

Kirsten Hawley, vice president, director of organization and leader development, walked our group down the path of starting the process of branding ourselves and what that should mean. We were asked what CEO, Me, Inc would look like. Three concepts were introduced: know your customer; deliver what matters; and keep your brand promise. What should be an easy task, I found to be very difficult.  What should my brand be? What do I bring to the table?

My “take-away” from today’s session was in three words. Ask. Listen. Repeat. Three simple words that when put together have a powerful message. I have wondered which of the three will be the hardest to complete. Ask is the easy part but listening to what the people you serve have to say… even when it’s hard to hear is not so easy. And then start the process all over again.

Over the next few weeks, I have challenged myself to create a “Brand Me” with starting with the three words above.

Have you ever eaten a slice of humble pie?

Liz Griffin Hack

Liz Griffin Hack (FL '12) sales and marketing specialist, Parallel Products

A definition of humble pie on urbandictionary.com is “to be forced to admit a fault”. I had my slice after going through Focus Louisville in February.

I am a native Louisvillian and so is my mom. I live in the East End and I am a product of Jefferson County Public Schools. Go Rams! I have family who live all over Louisville. I am a museum member and a season ticket holder. I have been volunteering in Louisville since my grandma took me to her church to help separate clothing donations for Louisville’s homeless. I had it all covered. If I had a question, I had my resources to answer it. That’s what I thought, anyway, before Focus Louisville.

I follow Leadership Louisville on Facebook and I get the e-newsletter. From all that wonderful content I got curious. Maybe there was something I could learn after all. Enter humble pie!

The 2 ½ days of touring, conversation and education re-invigorated me. We covered it all; local history, economic development, the arts, education, non-profits. I had no idea the national talent Actors Theatre cultivates in their Apprentice/ Internship program. I didn’t know how many schools are in the JCPS system, 155. UofL is doubling in size; building apartments while renovating hospitals for LEED certified status. I posted questions on Facebook like, “Did you all know that there are 1800 non-profits in Louisville?” Whether it was from speakers or classmates, I learned something new about my community in every session. I was reenergized and motivated to not just be in my community but to be a part of it.

After two days of tours, performances, power point and networking the class met to talk about moving forward from our experiences. Our last agenda action item from Focus Louisville is to reflect and commit to something after graduation. I committed to using my skills to engage with the community through volunteering. I have started volunteering with a group called, Do Something Green. It’s a call to action for the entire community to do something sustainable for our environment. So far it’s been a rewarding experience.

I ate my slice of humble pie and I bet I could share it with other Louisville natives. They’d realize too that it doesn’t taste so bad.

The secret behind one school’s success

Brian Jones

Brian Jones, (BF '12) membership development manager – Louisville, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Bingham Fellows 2012 February program day

Rather than an exhaustive list of things learned, snazzy quotes, or a rundown of items accomplished during our February program day, I’d like focus on something shared by someone outside our Bingham Fellows class. Here’s what I consider one of the most memorable insights from the last program day.

We had a discussion with Lisa from Atkinson Elementaryʼs Family Resource and Youth Services Center, a school that has seen tremendous improvement in the last five years under the leadership of Principal Dewey Hensley.  During the conversation, I asked her what was not working prior to his arrival and what did they change?

She shared that “pre-Dewey,” the school was “siloed”.  There was no cohesion, no collaboration between principals, teachers and students. After his arrival, Dewey asked all teachers to buy into the mission, “all of our students can and will learn and achieve at the highest levels.”  Everything became focused on student achievement at Atkinson Elementary. In short, Dewey Hensley got the right people on the bus and set its course accordingly and the school’s performance improved as a direct result.

Now, this strategy might seem fairly obvious and the most common sense answer to turning things around in a persistently low-achieving school, especially when the relatively easy answer to dealing with adversity is usually focused on ‘inputsʼ rather than ‘outcomes.ʼ In fact, the actions of Atkinson Elementary seem so simple, it’s a wonder they havenʼt been replicated throughout the rest of the district, state, and country.

However, you have to look a bit deeper into what Atkinson’s leadership decided to ‘doʼ despite all of the challenges and barriers faculty, staff and students face daily. In short, this is a school that says, “Regardless of the hand we (principals, teachers AND students) are dealt, we will deal with it, because all of our students can and will learn and achieve at the highest level. Our definition of SUCCESS is Hard Work + Resiliency + Teamwork = SUCCESS,” said Lisa.

Resiliency, as Julia Inman of the Greater Louisville Project defined it for the Bingham Fellows, is the ability to readily recover from adversity; to rebound after being bent, stretched, or compressed. Atkinson Elementary models the very definition of resiliency in principle and practice; truly a lesson for all of us in Louisville that goes beyond the ABC’s and 123’s.

Surprising lessons learned at UPS

Gabe Riggs

Gabe Riggs (IL '12) manager, marketing web strategy, Norton Healthcare

Ignite Louisville 2012 program day at UPS

Before last Wednesday, the extent of my knowledge about UPS encompassed brown delivery trucks and the rumbling roar of their planes between 2 and 5 AM, continually shaking my house. To have a chance to see the expansive technology behind the global delivery machine, Worldport, and realize how much Louisville benefits from the organization, was very eye-opening.

One of the biggest takeaways I had from the morning was during the Director of Maintenance, Brad Schwandt’s talk about their community internship program. Brad spoke about how they work with FedEx to borrow parts and collectively it made both companies better. Brad said, “In the airline industry, you have to collaborate or you will fail.” That statement caught my attention. Why the airline industry? You would think that in an industry that has, as a whole, had horrible losses and struggled to stay financially viable, competitors would take any advantage they could over each other. Yet these competitors work together to create mutually beneficial relationships that help both companies better meet their customers’ needs. I thought about how we perceive our competitors in my industry. Instead of putting up walls and defenses, why don’t we look for bridges? I do realize that this wouldn’t apply to every company or industry, but I know that looking to a competitor for collaboration has never shown up on any of my resource lists.

The rest of the morning was great as well. Rhonda Clark’s story was absolutely unbelievable and inspirational. I can’t help but admire how she overcame so many obstacles and conquered new challenges with such humble resilience. I look forward to buying her autobiography someday. The afternoon tour of Worldport was great. How Jeff O’Dell knows so much baffles me. Aside from all the great UPS information, I learned that if you need a tree cut down, you should first get a quote for the wood to offset the cost. I also learned quite a bit about lobster. That guy would make a fortune on Jeopardy.

Thanks to UPS for giving us the opportunity to experience the heart of their operations. As I stood in the elevator with a UPS driver this morning I couldn’t help but smile at him as I thought through the amazing process the packages he held had been through. He was probably a little freaked out by me. Thanks again!

Everyone has a stake in this

Julie Brown

Julie Richardson Brown (BF '12) B.A., M. Div., community integration coordinator, Family Scholar House

Bingham Fellows 2012 February program day

I arrived for day two of the 2012 Bingham Fellows Opening Retreat before the sun had even come up, fumbling out of my coat and stumbling towards coffee on automatic pilot. Only a few others had arrived and it was still quiet, so I slipped over to the enormous windows lining one side of our meeting room.

We were at least twenty floors above ground-level and as I drew up close to the windows a wide expanse of the city of Louisville appeared. Cars were beginning to populate the interstate. Activity had begun in the streets below. Things hadn’t quite exploded into a busy city weekday yet–but you could feel it coming. Feel the just-before-full-dawn energy building. To my right the sun was climbing up out of the horizon, a brilliant hot pink and orange. To my left a flock of wild geese–so completely out of place–flew high and fast over office buildings and hospital towers, disappearing into morning clouds almost before I realized they were there at all.

It was a big-picture moment. And I could not help but think, as I stood there letting coffee and time do their work on my still-sleepy body and brain, that it was the most perfect of places to set about the task of being a Bingham Fellow. An ideal spot to think, “common good,” “whole community,” “all in this together.”

We’re charged with thinking about how we might–as an entire community here in Louisville–set about encouraging and supporting parental and community engagement in student achievement. And then, doing something about what we come up with–putting thought into action in a way that encourages our students to do and be their very best, that helps families see that education is both a family and community project, and a lifelong process. No simple task.

It is safe to say that intelligences, emotions, tempers, personalities and anxieties are running high from the get go. Everyone has a stake in this. Everyone has a child or a grandchild or a niece or a nephew or a friend involved in our education system. Everyone wants the best for their own children, but also for all children (and yes, I really do believe, at our best selves, we want what’s best for them all). And because those of us who comprise the Bingham Fellows class are all driven and passionate people–leaders in our work places and individual communities–we also all have our own supposed ideas of THE most important part of the problem and perhaps even, THE solution to it all.

And what we really have to be able to do is get all of that out of the way and position ourselves so that we can see big-picture–high enough and wide enough that our own stuff gets lost in what it means to be about the common good.

It will not be easy. It won’t even always be pleasant. And I imagine that somewhere along the way at least a few of us will want to quit. I also know—I can already tell from two days together–that we’re up to the task. And that somehow we’ll manage to think beyond ourselves and into what it means to be part–just part–of the village raising our children here in Jefferson County.

When it comes to justice, compassion and accountability are not mutually exclusive

Elaine Gravatte

Elaine Gravatte (LL '12) senior vice president, operations, DD Williamson

Leadership Louisville 2012 program day at Metro Corrections

I don’t spend much time in my day-to-day life thinking about our justice system. Until recently, I was ignorant of much of the workings of our Department of Corrections as well as the work being done to change how we approach “corrections” in Louisville. In January, Leadership Louisville exposed our group to the interworkings of Metro Corrections and presented us with local supporters of Restorative Justice.

During our tour of Metro Corrections, I was struck by waves of resignation and defensiveness from the inmates; expressions of respect and humanity from Metro Corrections staff; and the combination of pride and frustration from the Director.

I found it most difficult to observe inmates behind bars and glass, held in common rooms with up to 30 people in an area. I didn’t know where to look, how to engage with the eyes looking back at me. Although the facility was very clean and under good control, I was overwhelmed by the number of people – cell after cell of humanity confined to very basic living conditions.

I was shocked by many of the statistics given – that a facility built to house 1,793 individuals averages 1,992 per day and that it costs $65 to house an inmate per day. In other words, we could pay for a 4-year degree for less than it costs us to incarcerate one inmate for one year. With budget shortfalls and as a country with one of the highest incarceration rates in the developed world, clearly there are changes that must be made.

Next we discussed one such change that is in its infancy in Louisville. We were joined by a panel of legal and political professionals who are working to pilot a program known as restorative justice for juveniles in Louisville.

Restorative justice defines crime as a violation of people and relationships, and focuses justice on making things right with victims of the crime. In practice it takes more-up front work than arrest and incarceration – the police have to determine whether a young offender is receptive to the process, all parties must agree to participate and everyone has to arrange for supporters they might need. However, initial results are very positive – when those who have committed a crime are forced to face those who were harmed and offer up some repair, reality sets in and the youth may choose a different path going forward.

The program has been proven in systems elsewhere to dramatically reduce recidivism – in New Zealand where the program has been in place the longest, arrest rates were reduced by more than half. The participants made the distinction this way – we might apply justice differently for “those we are afraid of than for those we are simply mad at.” This principle resonates with me. Others might be fearful that we would become too soft on crime with such programs in place; but for some, facing the reality of your actions can be much more difficult than paying dues to society as it is traditionally done.

I came away from this program day with a sense of hope that restorative justice may turn the tide for young people who might otherwise be just one of those faces behind the glass.