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A Labor of Love for More than 40 Years

A Labor of Love for More than 40 Years

Memorial Healthcare System’s national reputation as a healthcare employer of choice means that a lot of our employees stay with us for years – even decades.

We recently caught up with a few team members who have been calling Memorial home for more than 40 years. They’re a select group of dedicated caregivers who shared with us what makes Memorial special. Here’s what they had to say:

“I remember walking into Memorial Regional Hospital for the first time like it was yesterday. Everyone always treated me like family. It’s the good people who bring out the best in you. My workplace has always been full of good people.”
Susan, RN Speciality – II

“I really believe I have Memorial in my DNA. If you performed a 23andMe ancestry test on me, I’m certain I have 99% the blue Memorial logo in my genetic framework. I was born at Memorial. At the age of five, I was running around the hospital because my grandfather and my mother worked here. I started working here at the age of 16, and never went anywhere else. So I truly feel Memorial is in my veins, I probably can also bleed Memorial blue.”
Julie, Manager – Nursing

“Memorial is my family, and I am very proud to work for such a great organization. I love everything and everyone here! There are boundless opportunities and growth potential. And at the end of the day, no matter the difficulties, we stick together, supporting each other and our patients and families. That’s what families do!”
Barbara, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO

“I enjoy the people I work with. I’ve made lifelong friends, and always felt Memorial to be my second family.”
Beth, Specialist – Clinical Effectiveness

“I am so privileged to work with the most amazing staff, patients, and families. I always tell people to remember their ‘WOW’ moments. I experience ‘WOW’ moments every day! So many people have inspired me for the last 40 years. One of our beloved physicians told me a long time ago that to work here, you must have the 5 Cs: Caring, compassion, commitment, communication, and courage. I see hear and feel the 5 Cs every day working here for the last 40 years. I am blessed to work, play, laugh, and – sometimes – cry with the best of the best! Thank you for the best 40 years of my life.”
Lotsy, Therapist – Clown

“I started my career at Memorial Regional Hospital more than 40 years ago and have continued working for this organization in many specialties. Memorial has afforded me the opportunity for career growth as well as allowing me to follow my dreams in this field.  During my tenure, I have always felt supported and respected as a professional nurse.”
Margie, Quality Management Specialist

“I never imagined I’d work at Memorial Healthcare System for 40+ years. I’ve been graced with several positions during these years and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Phyllis, Administrative Assistant

“ I have enjoyed my 45 years of service and have always been proud to be part of the Memorial family.”
Phyllis, Technologist – Histology

“Our Newborn ICU provides evidence-based excellent care for the tiniest and most fragile of patients and I am proud to be a part of that care.”
Wendi, RN – Specialty II

“Memorial is simply a wonderful place to work and they take care of you. I was fortunate to have great bosses and co-workers and everyone I dealt with in the System all became my family.”
Janie, Marketing Coordinator

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Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month

A Conversation with a Top Memorial Trail Blazer: Leah Carpenter

For 20 years, Leah Carpenter has been a leader at Memorial Healthcare System – most recently, as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Appointed to her current position in 2021 after serving as CEO at three of our hospitals, she took a few moments to reflect on her years at Memorial, and what has inspired and helped her along the way.

What made you want to go into healthcare to begin with?

I went into nursing because I wanted to connect with patients and be invested in who they were as people. I loved being at the bedside, taking care of patients. But destiny had a different plan for me, and I moved my way through the ranks in leadership.

How did you end up in leadership?

Three things influenced: first, my mother’s influence in my upbringing. She taught us that we had to be engaged – we could not complain about things without taking the responsibility to come up with solutions. Second, when I first entered healthcare 36 years ago, leaders were disconnected from the people on the front lines and what they were doing. They had no idea of what was really happening at the bedside. So I wanted to be part of changing that. I wanted to be a different kind of leader, one who was responsible for making the changes I wanted to see in the world.

Finally, I was always taught that “to those who much is given, much is expected.” I’ve been blessed beyond imagination, and I’m able to give those blessings back through leading.

What, if any, obstacles did you experience?

Well, I’m deaf in my right ear. It’s something that developed over time, so I came to a fork in the road because you need all five of your senses to take care of patients. I’ve also had mentors who taught me how it should be done and some from whom I’ve learned what not to do. The best of my mentors showed me how we could change the environment for our front-line workers. I wanted to be part of positive change, to make sure that our staff had what they needed to provide the care they were trained to do.

Tell us something about your mentors.

My mother was a single mom. She is of European descent, and a Holocaust survivor. My dad was African-American, descended from enslaved people. I grew up in a primarily Black community in 1970s Newark. We were very poor but the expectation and understanding were that education was the only way out.

I had a dear friend who was one of the guardian angels who made sure my sister and I were safe and on the right path. My father’s sister, and several teachers from grammar, middle and high school, all identified my gifts and pushed me to develop them. The survival skills I developed in the inner city were not unlike the survival skills you need in corporate America. My mentors helped guide me in a world and a profession at a time when women were struggling to break through. Women and especially women of color are still in that struggle.

You came to South Florida in 2000, and joined Memorial in 2002. How did that come about?

I was CNO at North Shore Medical Center for two years. I loved that hospital and its environment, and had some amazing mentors there. But I recognized that for-profit healthcare was not in line with the kind of work I wanted to do – provide phenomenal care for people, regardless of their ability to pay. So Memorial was a whole new world. It was what healthcare is supposed to look like, the way it’s supposed to be provided. I’m surrounded by people who have the same ethics, moral compass and commitment to patients, family and our communities that I do.

What’s your advice for women who are building careers in healthcare, or in any field, for that matter?

The most basic and important asset that you possess is your integrity. Don’t let anyone compromise it. If you give it away, you’ll never get it back.

You also must find an organization that reflects your values. Find people who are not necessarily in your image, but who have similar ideals, and who are not fearful of doing a lot of hard work. A mentor once said to me, “You’ll know you’re succeeding when people think that it’s easy by watching you.” Make it so that people don’t see the struggle, the blood, sweat, and tears, and the injustices that women – and, in particular, women of color – face.

Then, do the work, Focus on the goal, and keep your eyes on the prize. If you’re passionate about something, believe in it, and know it’s something you need to get done, get it done. Don’t let anything stop you. Fight for things that are right and just. Fight for people who can’t fight for themselves. And most importantly, always do the right things for the right reasons.