Dr. Mercedes Himmons believes the Diversity and Inclusion committees of her state organization are doing a really good job. She has worked hard to set the example and is now leading in the PATS organization
Dr. Himmons, if I walked down the hall of your parents’ house what would the pictures tell me about you?
I am sassy, always wore dresses and I am family-oriented.
What levels of education do your family members have?
I am a first-generation college graduate.
You have been traveling the world and Cairo on a camel at sunset was one of your highlights. Tell me more.
Paris and Rome
Turks and Caicos
What is your favorite thing about athletic training and sports medicine?
What is our working definition of diversity?
Having multiple people regardless of background all in the same place.
Make sure all of those people are heard and seen and their perspective is taken into account.
How about inclusion?
The word belonging is a good fit instead of inclusion.
What would you like to see from the local, district, and national levels within the profession?
PATS is doing a good job of trying to close the gap.
Racism is a public health issue
Be good humans to each other
The majority of our patient population as ATs is nonwhite but the majority of the ATs are white, so there is some disconnect.
Show that you are willing to learn and understand.
You are the NATA president. What would your platform be on diversity and inclusion for the profession? What about for NATA as an association?
First I would like to take the temperature of the room.
Everyone matters and should have a voice.
Keep the patient at the center of our focus.
Listening to understand and not just to reply.
What is some advice you would give companies looking to diversify? What about MSAT programs?
It would depend on the demographic
Retention is very important, what are you doing to keep the diversity?
Anything you would like to say to listeners that want to be an ally. What would you like to see or hear?
People need to know that they are going to step in and do the right thing to help eradicate the negative behavior.
A fun song from the musical Hamilton, “What Comes Next” is the line we are focused on for the start of the 2021 leadership in AT podcast series.
Thanks Patrick Ohaver for putting it all together.
What comes next??
You have wanted to move up to a leadership position in the company, the school, or even a professional organization.
Just as a young America made the leap into independence, now you are given the opportunity to lead.
That is the question on this episode..
Do you know how hard it is to lead?
Patrick– As Former supervisor for a hospital Outreach based program I was given the task of leading approximately 25 athletic trainers. Some of these athletic trainers were my peers and that in itself is a difficult part to lead your own peers.I really resonated with this song in Hamilton as I knew it would be difficult to lead however I did not realize the full extent until I was in that situation. It is difficult to lead and not just your peers but to lead a cohesive group of athletic trainers.
I was fortunate enough to have mentors that were in leadership positions and I observe them through my career taking mental notes on what I would do in certain situations how I would overreact how I would respond however I learned so much during my tenure as the supervisor of Athletic Training Services and dealt with a lot of specific leadership challenges.
Patrick — Another point in King George's song what comes next really struck me was when your people say they hate you don't come crawling back to me. Now as a recovering people pleaser, I strive to make everyone feel Equitable and try to look for the win-win. However, during my time I discovered win-win just doesn't work out sometimes. When you have to lead a large group you are not going to please everyone now. I would not say that my employees “hated me “ however some decisions that were made did not meet with high favor.
I can recall a time when we sent out an employee satisfaction survey. It was a sort of 360-degree look at our leadership team.
Through the eyes of the employees and I was expecting an overall positive response however, the amount of negative response was shocking and really caused a point of reflection and revaluation of my leadership style and our leadership team’s style.
I was fortunate enough to work with two other athletic trainers in the leadership team. We assisted each other and each had our own strengths and weaknesses in the leadership team. However, that employee survey was a watershed moment for me and my leadership style.
Have you had an employee survey or an evaluation done on you that was not what you expected and did it change your outlook?
George Washington states – “Winning was easy, leading is harder”-
This point in the musical also echoes a similar thought that getting to the top may be easy however leading is harder.
Leading your peers is very difficult. We can look back at a recent Facebook post in the Secondary School group where an employee was ranting to her “friend” who was in an administrative position about the organization. I am not sure what was said or how it was said however the other party deemed it necessary to inform her superiors and her subordinate was reprimanded.
There's a good book called “From buds to boss” by Guy Harris and Kevin Eikenberry. It's a good book and help me get some perspective in my early supervisory times.
Being the boss isn't all Fame and Glory. Some people want that prestige and that title however, if you're not prepared, then it may be more of a detriment than an aid.
Call to action:
Were you ever on your own? I recently heard from a long-time listener Caleb who was out in China as an AT and he was on his own for a while. Share your story with us.