For a century, Children’s has been piloted by strong, forward-thinking leaders with an unwavering focus on our mission – to make life better for children. Their steady hands at the helm have played a major role in making us what we are today: a recognized leader in regional, national and international care for children.
Whether at our campuses in Dallas, Plano or our Pediatric Group locations throughout the Metroplex, our leadership and staff apply their knowledge and skills to running our hospitals and related services. It takes a team of many to support the medical members, which in addition to to doctors and nurses also includes clinical technicians, surgery technicians, respiratory care practitioners and EMTs, among others.
Additionally, our food service workers, housekeepers, child life specialists, security personnel, equipment caretakers, engineers, executives and administrative staff, to name a few, are privileged to be among the many who care for the children and families who come to us.
Regardless of the role we play, our team of more than 5,600 takes great pride in being the fifth-largest pediatric health care provider in the country and the only academically affiliated pediatric hospital in the area. Collectively, we make a big difference as we serve the smallest of the small.
Frankey Crawford: Using his hands and heart to make a difference
When Frankey Crawford was 17, he needed work, so he applied and was hired at Children’s Medical Center Dallas campus in the Maintenance department. What he didn’t realize then was the job would not only turn into a career, it would become a passion.
Some 30 years later, the Dallas campus has nearly doubled in size, and Crawford, now lead maintenance and mechanic, oversees a staff of 15, including electricians, plumbers , and key shop and maintenance techs. They continue to support patient care by providing a safe and controlled environment. More importantly, they make sure they are providing a quality facility that supports the Children’s mission to make life better for children.
“I make it my responsibility to make sure everyone who comes here has a good experience,” he says. “Quality of care starts at all levels, whether it’s in these buildings or the other Children’s locations throughout the Metroplex.”
To instill that same enthusiasm in others he works with, he reminds them to look at the campus through the eyes of a child. “When kids walk in here, they’re already scared. We have to think about how to ease that tension. We can do that by making their stay a pleasant and good one. If we make sure everything is working right, then they can concentrate on getting well.”
Over the years, Crawford’s family has benefited from the staff’s healing. One of his six children needed ear tubes for persistent infections, and a grandson is now receiving care at the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. “I know he’s in good hands, and he tells me how nice the staff are to him,” says Crawford.
“Children’s not only has some of the best medical staff, the system also provides the employees the needed resources, technologies and tools to do the work,” he says. “Children’s keeps my skills up to speed and gives me the tools I need to make life better for children,” he says.
Whether he’s working with his hands or his heart, day in and day out, Crawford knows that what he does makes a difference. “My role is very important,” he says, “because I’m helping the healers to do their job.”
For people person Audrey Gillum-Lane, no better place to work than Children’s
Children’s Senior Human Resources Associate Audrey Gillum-Lane is thankful that she’s not only doing the work she was destined to do, but she’s also in the right place.
“I am an extrovert, and I have a love for people and especially kids,” she says. “At Children’s, I thrive on interacting with our employees – and patients and parents when I can. There’s no other place I’d rather work.”
Luckily for Gillum-Lane, she’s not inside a cubicle or behind a wall and rarely sits at her desk. “I’m the face of HR, so I am out in the open, visiting with employees. I consider myself their ambassador.” And she knows most all of the employees because she is one of the first that new hires will meet. Gillum-Lane is responsible for welcoming them during their on-boarding.
“I have the pleasure of interacting with all our new employees and sharing with them that Children’s is one of the best pediatric hospitals in the nation,” she says, “and to reinforce that every position and person here is important and valuable.”
Gillum-Lane has been at Children’s since 1992, and she has made it her mission to come to work every day with a positive attitude. “I don’t bring my problems to work. The parents and the patients here are the ones whose problems that we need to focus on.”
While her interaction with parents and patients is limited, when she finds them lost in the corridors of the hospital, she’ll personally escort them where they need to go rather than just give directions. “In everything I do, I try to go above and beyond and exceed expectations.”
Reflecting on the 100 years that Children’s is celebrating, she says, “It motivates me to stay here and contribute and be part of a great mission. We are on our way to being a preeminent organization.”
And between now and then, she’ll be looking forward to coming to work every day.
Making life better for children a very personal mission for Herlinda Martinez
Working at Children’s isn’t just a job, for many it’s the fulfillment of a mission to make life better for children. And for Senior Recruiter Herlinda Martinez, that mission is very personal.
When she was a young mom with two small boys, her oldest, Alex, then 5, had a severe case of the flu. His condition became so grave that he was rushed to the Emergency Department at Children’s. A series of tests determined he’d suffered brain injuries, and he was soon transferred to ICU.
“It was one of the worst days of my life,” recalls Martinez. “I had done everything I thought I was supposed to do, but I still found myself carrying my son into Emergency. He was unresponsive and barely clinging onto life. I was so scared, but everyone here was so supportive and compassionate, preparing us for what might happen.”
Alex was in the ICU for a month, with his mom at his side nearly every minute. But her youngest son, Javier, then 3, was confused and scared. His big brother could no longer play or talk. That’s when the Child Life therapists came in, finding the props and toys to explain what was happening and to comfort Javier.
“They took a lot of stress off of me and got Javier to a point where he could climb on Alex’s bed and be there for him,” says Martinez. “That whole experience made an impact on me. I realized something very special was happening here.”
Alex’s recovery would be lengthy and included therapy, but he made great progress and was able to regain nearly all of his skills. While he has limited vision, today he is recently graduated and working.
Martinez never forgot how Children’s touched her family, so when a position became available 11 years ago, she jumped at the chance. Today, she recruits nurses and clinical support staff in specialty areas.
“It can sometimes be challenging to recruit because our patients can have very complex conditions and situations,” she says. “Our goal is to identify and hire the most talented and qualified people that also have a genuine level of compassion to care for our patients and their families. But my team and I truly believe that the effort we make is helping Children’s to follow a mission. And when I hire someone, I can’t help but smile, knowing that person is going to be part of a journey that will impact the life of a child and their family forever.”