Spotlight: HealthStar IT

Have you heard enough about cybersecurity this month? Well, maybe just a little more won’t hurt you… but I’ll go easy on the techo mumbo jumbo – this is a more personal piece. For October’s Spotlight, I thought I’d do something a little different. Since we’re talking cybersecurity all month, why not look at the two HealthStar employees who do the nitty gritty computer work? You know, the gals you call when something breaks. The ones you email, even though you already know you’re supposed to send a ticket to support@hhhealth.net. Yeah, I’m talking about Susan Mocchi and Beth Taylor, HealthStar’s in-house IT team. (we’re also the blog writer and designer, so prepare yourself for a lot of tooting our own horns) Susan and Beth – the HealthStar Spotlight’s on… us?

Introvert vs Socially Awkward Extrovert – how to tell the difference

Susan and I are like two sides of the same coin. The coin is basically hidden and doesn’t really want to be spent, although it has immense value. The coin wants to stay inside and not talk to anyone some days, even though the coin loves everyone around it. I’m not sure if this analogy is working at all, and at this point, I’m too afraid to ask.

Oh, yeah, and the coin speaks really fluent meme.

So, which side of the coin is introvert, and which side is just socially awkward extrovert? Let’s see if you can spot the differences:

  • Introvert will email you instead of calling you, every single time;
  • Awkward Extrovert will call you and have a goofy and twisty-turny conversation while fixing your computer.
  • Introvert enjoys spending time alone after work;
  • Awkward Extrovert can’t wait to call everyone she knows on her way home.
  • Introvert would like to conclude this meeting;
  • Awkward Extrovert doesn’t realize this isn’t a meeting at all, it was just a couple people passing in the hall, and we can all move on now.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ll let you keep guessing.

Carnivore vs Vegetarian (bet you know how to tell these apart)

This one’s easier to spot. One of us loves eating bacon and all other smoked meats, as well as steak, chicken, and various other formerly living animals, including fish. The other one will not, under any circumstances, eat any of those things. Not even if it’s just broth. But there was that one time, when she accidentally ate fish sauce.

So, you’d think this would make for a pretty difficult food-sharing relationship, right? Surprisingly, there are a lot of things that both Susan and I enjoy eating together. For example, macaroni and cheese. There could be bacon involved, but it doesn’t have to be. I mean, there should be, but we can compromise.

We sure do like cooking.

Also, we both enjoy veggie burgers, hard boiled eggs, refried beans, and dessert hummus. Yes, dessert hummus is totally a thing, and yes, it is delicious. No matter what Angel Sims, Skilled Program Manager, tells you – it is not normally gritty. THAT WAS JUST ONE TIME. Most of the time, it is wonderfully smooth and tastes like brownie batter or cookie dough, Angel.

Oh, and we also both love baked or fried Tofu. And cream cheese wontons. And veggie spring rolls. Except don’t forget to tell Susan that THERE’S FISH SAUCE IN THAT DIPPING SAUCE.

Small arms vs regular sized arms

So, neither of us is super tall, but Susan is probably the shortest person allowed to drive. I mean, she’s basically a child’s Large. But this isn’t the third thing, it’s just a bonus.

We both love to help people

The best thing about working with Susan is that she loves to help out. And I assume that the best thing about working with me is my witty sense of humor, and the fact that I set the wardrobe bar kinda low, so usually you’ll look pretty good in whatever you’re wearing, because I’m wearing something not as nice. Oh, and also, I love to help out as well.

Susan makes the shelf a little heavier for Tim. Beth handles the power tools, and Angel Sims supervises. (The peace sign means that we are doing a great job.)

We both enjoy being challenged with a new task, and we especially like it when that new task is a special project assigned by Barb Jezorski. Those are The. Best. Tasks. Ever. (Usually, they involve things like writing a funny poem, or making a silly game.) We feel best when we are useful and working on a project that will help make things easier or better for someone else.

This is why, when I have a problem, Susan will always help me. And this is also why, when Susan has a problem, after picking on her for being small, I will always help her. We make a really good team, because we are both willing to pause our own work for a minute to do something different. This doesn’t just extend to each other – we also love to help other departments, and of course, we kick butt on the IT helpdesk. Just ask a question and see how happy we are to help out!

But who are we?

Susan is a master at Photoshop, forms design, and marketing stuff. She is caring, kind, supportive, and funny. If you need someone to talk to, Susan will never send you away, even if she’s busy and you’re an extrovert who doesn’t know when the conversation has ended. She will always make time to help her co-workers, and she will drag you to lunch on those days when you think you’re too busy to leave your desk. Yes, I speak from experience.

Part of the reason that I still work here is because Susan is my backup, my team-mate, and sometimes my only pillar of strength. She reminds me that there are only so many hours in a day, and that some of those hours should be spent standing up, away from my assigned work space. On my most stressful days, Susan is often the only one who truly understands my struggle, and she is always there to help me through. She knows how to read my facial expressions, especially when I’ve made a terrible mistake (never happens).

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”

Bernard Meltzer

Most of all, even though Susan is a super-duper introvert, she tolerates me and my awkward, extroverted ways, and she never calls me out on being “too much people” for her. She is a true partner at work, letting me help her out with the fun stuff when I can, and asking me what she can do when I’m overwhelmed. Susan supported me when I asked to blog write for HS, which is something that I have come to really enjoy, and she has trusted me and backed me up on all of my wild and hare-brained IT schemes. For all of these reasons and more, I thank you, Susan, because without you, I would be totally, utterly, and hopelessly lost in a sea of endless tasks. I couldn’t do this job without you!

As for me – I’m a master at some random things, but because I am myself, I see only my flaws, and I have never been good at tooting my own horn. Some people say that I’m a good writer. I like corn on the cob, and I think that Mexican Street Corn and the stuff from the State Fair are both the BEST EVER. Some days, I share my lunch with Jane Bauer, payroll extraordinaire, and other days, Jane shares her lunch with me. I don’t take very many things too seriously. I am not a fast runner, I know a few things about computers, and I really like the Thai Chili Lime Cashews from Trader Joe’s.

That is all.

Oh, yeah, and we both love TopDog

So, in the interest of full disclosure, Susan and I don’t do everything IT-related on our own. We have a lot of backup from TopDog PC, and we are so grateful for that backup! See the post from earlier this month if you want to know more about that. We’re glad that we have backup for the super technical stuff, and for the stuff that we just can’t get to in a timely manner. Three cheers for TopDog – hip, hip, Hooray! Hip, hip, Hooray! Hip, hip, yeah ok, you know what’s coming next.

Thank All The Nurses!

It’s National Nurses Week beginning today, May 6th, and ending Sunday, May 12th. It’s true – we can’t fit all of our national appreciation into a single day, so we have to spend a whole week appreciating. Because nurses are amazing. And we know HealthStar nurses are extra special, because they have the HealthStar family to back them up!

Nurses, like folks in any other profession, come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and personality types. There are gentle nurses, there are “down to business” nurses, there are kind and caring nurses, there are spiritual and not-so-spiritual nurses. There are some nurses who like wound care, some who like paperwork and regulations, and some who like becoming a part of the patient’s direct support group. The great thing is, all of these nurses have something in common – a drive to heal others, in one way or another.

At HealthStar, we know that we need all of these different types of nurses to help us provide the best possible patient care. And so this week, we’ll make an extra effort to show appreciation to all of these types of nurses for the many ways they touch our lives and the lives of our HealthStar Clients!

Put ‘er there!

To all of our HealthStar nurses – I can’t come out and high-five each of you, but I can send you this:

Image result for virtual high-five

Thank you to our HealthStar nurses!

“As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

Without our nursing staff, we would be lost as an agency! HealthStar is lucky to have each of you putting your special kind of care into all that you do. Thank you to all of our HealthStar nurses for your service, your compassion, and your dedication to patient care!

Interested in learning how you can become a member of the HealthStar family? Check out our careers page to learn about what positions we have open in your area. Just think, the next spotlight post could be about you!

24ECC program: Building the HealthStar Family

HealthStar’s 24ECC program is different than other Corporate “touchy-feely” programs.

Many companies search for ways to increase cultural competency and employee engagement, but very few truly succeed. With the 24ECC program, HealthStar has nailed it.

Developing the 24ECC program

In 2009, HealthStar invited clients and community members to participate in focus groups tasked with identifying the qualities of good caregivers. These result: a long list of ideal characteristics for caregivers, providing great insight into HealthStar’s culturally diverse client base.

HealthStar then narrowed the focus group’s list to twenty-four crucial elements. The new 24 Expressions of Company Culture, or ECCs, fit nicely within the categories of HealthStar’s top four core values: Servant Leadership, Empathy, Altruism, and Integrity. Almost 10-years later, and the 24ECC program still lives on!

24ECCs in action

Each month, 24ECC trainers identify one of the 24ECC values to highlight. They design activities that help staff to discuss and dig deeper into the importance and impact of the chosen value. Through these activities and discussions, we gain a better understanding of the ideals that our Clients identified. We also examine the cultural differences in how values are expressed or perceived. The same values are often interpreted very differently depending on cultural background!

What the 24ECCs do for our team

One of the unexpected benefits of the 24ECCs is that they provide a tool to better understand and communicate with team members. The 24ECC program is a constant reminder that even though someone may do things differently, that doesn’t make it wrong! We learn balance – if you do too much of one value, you might end up not representing other values which are equally important. In conflict, the 24ECCs guide us to consider each other’s point of view without judging or jumping to conclusions. We use the 24ECCs as consistent language to express ourselves, and to discuss and work through concerns.

But for me, the best part is getting together once a month to get to know each other through a new 24ECC activity. I love the creative ideas that our 24ECC planners come up with! 24ECC Bingo, collage making, skits, and gift baskets – and sometimes a 24ECC snack. When we build a team that communicates and has fun together, we also develop something more than just a place where people go to complete tasks.

What 24ECC “Work Love” can do for you

HealthStar is more than a group of people who work together. We are a team that supports each other and truly cares about each other.  We are a work family, spread across three states. HealthStar people get excited to see each other at quarterly meetings – it’s like family coming to visit, including the cooking, the hugging, and the chatting.

Best of all, when HealthStar needs to get a project done, we all jump in and do what we can. We appreciate and capitalize on the things that make us different, because we know that’s part of building a great team! By fostering this Work Love relationship in our offices, we automatically extend the same level of care to our Clients. It’s not always easy, but with the 24ECCs, we have the foundation to build on. It is a great base to support great care!

Check out our website for more information about this program and how it helps us provide the best possible care!