Dawn Bishop is a mother of four who has always wanted the best for her family, especially that the children obtain a college education. However, Dawn was concerned that her own dreams for higher education may be out of reach. In Spring 2013, Dawn graduated from the Expanding Your Career and Healthcare Opportunities (ECHO) program. The Bishop children were not only proud of their mother’s accomplishment, but also found inspiration seeing her in the graduation ceremony. “I am not going to say that it is easy,” Dawn said. “But with the confidence I gained after completing the ECHO program, I am now pursuing a college degree. I am a Dream Achiever!” Dawn graduated from ECHO in April and started college in May. As her family and coworkers can attest, Dawn is truly an ECHO star.
"Dream Achievers!" awards recognize professional and personal accomplishments in the health care industry. The awards are part of a nationwide contest sponsored by Catalyst Learning. Catalyst Learning is a leader in healthcare workforce development with an emphasis on strengthening the front-line workers employed in entry- and mid-level positions.
Employers nominate employees for the “Dream Achievers!” award based on an employee’s continuing efforts towards professional education and career achievement, as well as serving as an inspiration to coworkers and members of the community. Nominees were selected through an online voting process hosted by Catalyst Learning.
Through her faith, family and friends, Lois Dukes overcame many challenges to complete the School at Work program and advance her career. Although Lois intended to begin the program in 2011, an auto accident and the loss of a loved one the following year delayed her dream. Lois endured another setback with the elimination of a former job position. Still, she persevered and was accepted into the SAW program. Completing the program gave Lois an improved resume and interview skills. “Just mentioning the School at Work program opened up so many doors for me,” Lois said.
“Our senior leadership believes that everyone is a leader, regardless of title,” said Dawn Runge, Ph.D., SPHR, interim system vice president of innovation and learning at SSM Health Care. “It was important that we provided an opportunity for those leadership skills to emerge, thus we selected Catalyst Learning’s School at Work Program.”
Lois is now a surgery inventory assistant and working towards her dream of being a respiratory therapist at Forest Park Community College. She exemplifies how perseverance and work ethic are essential to achieving dreams.
More than 20 years ago, Lyndon Bartle had the dream to become a massage therapist and help patients relieve pain. However, it wasn't until he enrolled in the School at Work (SAW) program that he began to achieve that dream. Lyndon spent countless hours on the lessons, with each success celebrated as one more step forward. After graduating from the SAW program, he traveled each Saturday for nine months to take classes as part of a mentorship program offered by Professional Massage Therapy. In 2013, Lyndon passed the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination and is now applying for a Missouri license. After three decades as a PCRMC employee, Lyndon is proof that it is never too late to reach for the stars and explore new opportunities.
“We consistently encourage our employees to further their education and to become lifelong learners,” said Frank Lazzaro, administrative director of human resources at Phelps County Regional Medical Center. “We are fortunate to have a wide variety of tools, such as the School at Work program, to assist in this endeavor. We are truly proud of all those who have completed the program. We especially appreciate this special recognition of Lyndon’s accomplishments.”
Timmicia Ward has worked hard to transform herself into a role model who exemplifies the standards of her organization. Through the School at Work program, she actively supported her classmates and worked diligently to improve her scores – impressing her managers with an increasingly positive and can-do attitude. The hard work paid off. Timmicia graduated from SAW with honors and immediately sought opportunities to expand her professional portfolio. Soon after, she won a scholarship to defray college expenses and is currently earning a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration while carrying a 4.0 GPA. Timmicia was also nominated to attend a six-month leadership development program so that she graduated with an additional certificate for exceeding expectations.
Timmicia was recently promoted to a lead specialist position. She has not only increased her knowledge, but also has transformed herself into the forward-thinking, goal-oriented, positive person she is today. She’s an amazing example of a “Dream Achiever.”
While working as an administrative assistant with the UC Davis Health System, Robin Shelton told a coworker she wanted to manage the office within five years. That was 2009 – the same year Robin began the School at Work (SAW) program. Although it was a challenge, Robin completed her coursework while also balancing work and family responsibilities. Last year, she began an accounting certification program at UC Davis. Robin is currently working as an Analyst II Supervisor, four positions higher than she was four years ago.
“This is all due to the SAW classes,” Robin said. “It not only gave me the tools, but also the confidence that I could do anything I set my sights on. Thanks to the encouragement of family and my supervisor, I will work towards my goal as Finance Manager of our office, one step closer to my dream.”
In 2009, Patti Koscal enrolled in the School at Work (SAW) program through the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Tomah, Wis., where she held a position working the night shift as a certified nursing assistant for 10 years. Though Patti enjoyed caring for others, she felt something was missing from her career. Patti credits SAW with giving her the confidence to apply for new positions within the VA. Through SAW, Patti’s sons witnessed a transformation in her as well, noticing that their mother had more motivation and a “can do” attitude. “As a SAW coach and mentor, I have witnessed first-hand how employees ‘grow from within’. Patti’s story is one of inspiration and I am proud to work for an organization that has chosen to invest in employees’ dreams to advance,” shared Marcy Engebretson, MSN-Ed, SAW Coach/Mentor, Tomah VAMC.
After graduating from SAW, Patti secured a new role as a medical supply technician and is now the lead in her department. She continues to be actively engaged and committed to her career path as she uses skills learned in SAW to mentor and teach new employees in her department. In Patti’s own words, “This is one of the best things I have ever done for myself!”
James Myers began his career at Yale-New Haven Hospital in 2006 as a patient transporter. The following year he graduated from the School at Work program, furthering his goal towards becoming an interventional radiologic technologist. While working full-time as a patient care associate, James earned his degree in radiography at Gateway Community College in New Haven. Today, he is an interventional radiologic technologist for YNHH in its Interventional Radiology Laboratory.