Member Spotlight – Laura Gomez

Could you please tell us a little about yourself?

I was raised in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. My parents are both from the south, southern Missouri and south Texas, so I was raised in a much more southern home than I ever realized. My mom routinely said “y’all” and made cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving, so I was prepared to come south in my adulthood. I move from Minnesota when I graduated high school to attend Baylor University in Waco. There I met my husband, Sergio, and ended up following him here to Houston, where he was born and raised. I finished my nursing degree while working full-time through University of Texas at Arlington and have worked in healthcare ever since.

How did you get involved within the ACHE SETC Marketing and Communications Committee & what has been your favorite part of volunteering thus far?

I reached out to Mark when the call went out in 2019 for committee volunteers because I had been encouraged by a mentor to join a committee as a way to get better involved ACHE. After a conversation around the current needs of the chapter, I realized I could put my background in journalism to use. Additionally, my mother has spent her career in marketing and public relations, so I had experience with communications and newsletters, and more specifically the technology available to make them easier to create.

I think my favorite part so far has been the connections we have been able to create in service of the chapter. 2020 was such an unprecedented year and so many human connections were lost. Through the redesign of the website and creation of content such as the Member Spotlights, the MarComm Committee were able to get some of that member connection back in a virtual format and create a space for our chapter to continue their networking and collaboration.

What is your best advice for anyone seeking volunteer opportunities?

I think the most important thing to remember in any venture, volunteer or employment, is to find what you are passionate about. Our passion is what drives our best work, and if you can find a way to turn your passion into service, even better. I also believe that we find our greatest joy in pursuing our passions. My passions includes teaching and connecting with others. I have gotten to both of those things while working with ACHE. I love writing the Mentor Spotlight interviews, crafting the website posts with member photos, and learning about my fellow chapter members. That joy is what fuels me, giving me a sense of meaning and fulfillment.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My husband and I have two small boys, Jacob(6) and Joshua(3), so much of my time outside of work is spent being mom. I enjoy running as a primary hobby, which has served me very well during 2020. Additionally, I am a knitter and mostly enjoy knitting sweaters, which is an interesting hobby to have while living in Texas. My husband and I love movies and are raising our boys to love them as well, so family nights are usually spent snuggled up with popcorn and a great movie.

What led you to pursue a career in healthcare/nursing?

I started my college career focused on journalism, more specifically broadcast journalism. I loved the program, including my time on the college paper and working for the radio station on campus. As I headed into my junior year, I decided to take a first-aid class to count as PE credit. The class was taught by an EMT and he kept saying “just do this until the paramedics arrive.” I found myself asking what the paramedics would do, so I signed up for an EMT-Basic course. I was hooked on healthcare. The fast-paced critical thinking captivated me. There was always something new to learn and a new skill to master. That started me toward my nursing career and I have never looked back. I love being a nurse and continuing to find new ways to serve my community, even if it is behind a desk or teaching others how to work in performance improvement.

I see that you got your Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification recently! Do you recommend that individuals get their LSSGB & why?

I do recommend that every healthcare professional have some level of training in process improvement. We are constantly faced with processes that could be improved, thus improving the care we provide to our patients. Not everyone needs to commit to Yellow, Green, or Black Belt training to be really effective. Process improvement is about paying attention to what is happening in a process and asking the right questions, with the right people in the room, to figure out how the process can work better.

-Interview by Ayke Hoppenreijs

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