I’ve been with Kaiser Permanente for 18 years. I came in as a medical assistant and eventually became the scheduling coordinator for open heart surgery. When you start out, you’re shy and you’re scared. But when you work with managers who say, “It’s OK to speak up,” you learn to be comfortable speaking up. Matthew Graeser was my manager. He encouraged me to go back to school. I was 49 years old at the time. I got my bachelor’s degree in health care administration and my grandkids watched me cross the stage. When I manage others, I always encourage them to speak up. If they’re not comfortable doing something, I tell them it’s OK to speak up and ask for help. They can ask me anything and we work it out together.
Kathy Chavez, assistant department administrator, Cardiology, Los Angeles Medical Center (Southern California)