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Directors don't cry right? Not in front of customers anyway. Today was the first big project I would lead as the new Director of Project Management for our Life Care Solutions business. I went to a hospital that has always held a special place in my life, the San Francisco VA Medical Center - the hospital that so very lovingly cared for my Dad and the hospital that fought hard to save his life. Not much has changed in the 15 years since I was there last - the walls are still a pale shade of yellow that reminds me of baby food. The doctors and nurses still stop to listen to patient stories, open a door for a Veteran and display the most compassion and sincerity of any care facility I've been to. The canteen still has mediocre food, served with happiness and an unbelievable view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The parking is still horrific, but the moment you open your car door, the freshly salted sea air welcomes you. The buildings are still buzzing with our nation's heroes - they are bold and humble all at once and the most loyal people you can find. The flag is flying high atop the pole, and you can immediately feel the American spirit moving around you. All these memories came crashing back today. My Dad spent 3 weeks inside this facility and we spent those weeks alongside him - I got to know this place well.
I showed up today to oversee a $1.5M upgrade to their central monitoring system- the very system that alerts nurses and doctors when a patient's life is about to end. I passed by my Dad's old room several times today, and I very clearly recalled sitting in that room for days upon days, watching his monitor, listening to the soft & steady heartbeat ticks, and feeling an overwhelming sense of panic when it would alarm. There were a few times we almost lost him in that room - those snapshots will never leave my mind. Back then I didn't even know what a monitor really was, and here I was today, the face of GE leadership for this operation. Today I was one who would have to answer to any compromise of patient safety during a 'go-live' event, as the field engineers brought down the old system and installed a newer, smarter and faster system. I thought about what it meant to be on the other side of that hospital bed, to be desperately holding onto a thread of hope and to be totally reliant on someone else to save your loved one. It was very clear to me just how many people were counting on GE - just how many lives we had the potential to effect. It seemed like just yesterday I was in their place. It is a profound feeling to know how the work that I do, and more importantly, the tireless efforts of the project management team I am honored to direct, are so very closely woven together in touching real human life.
Maybe it was just coincidence, or maybe the magical work of the universe, but what are the odds that this specific hospital would be where I had my LCS leadership debut? I don't consider myself a very emotional person, and I wasn't planning on having a tough day, because I always like a good challenge, but today was a little more personal. In the end, my Dad came home to spend his final days in the comfort of our home, but these were still my Dad's 'peeps' and this was still his place. I made it through the day without incident, and on my way out a little tear rolled down my face. I could hear my Dad saying "crying only gets your face wet," which made me smile. The dedication of the sales, service, project management and training teams shined bright today, and it was an awesome feeling! I could not be more proud to work for GE, to be connected to our Healthcare business, and to be bringing the incredible technology we pioneer to the world.
#momentsthatmatter #GEisAwesome #lovewhatyoudo #thankaVet
(Photo from sanfrancisco.va.gov)

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