For Michael Ford, director of respiratory services in our Youngstown market, career growth within our ministry is personal.
“Looking back over my career, I wasn’t the smartest, I wasn’t the quickest – but I was willing to work hard,” he shares. “If I’m proud of one thing, it’s that I’m very driven. I set my sights on an attainable goal, I attain that goal and then I move on to the next goal.”
Michael’s goal-oriented work style has served him well in his 15-year career with our ministry. Starting out in respiratory therapy as a student in his last year at Youngstown State University, he worked his way up from respiratory therapist to clinical educator. From there to manager, and now to director.
“I have literally come up the ranks and done everything,” Michael says. “Days, evenings, nights, weekends – I’ve worked it all.”
This is why it’s important for Michael to pay his success forward with the team he leads, giving them the ability to grow in their careers.
“I want to make sure everyone has opportunities. If you’re willing to put in the effort, I’ll help you get there,” he says. “You don’t have to be the quickest, you don’t have to be the smartest, but if you’re willing to work the hardest, you’ll go far.”
Although the past three years have been busier than ever for respiratory therapy due to COVID-19, Michael feels our ministry has always set him and his team up for success. In addition to the many benefits our ministry offers our team members – including 100 percent debt-free education for priority clinical roles like respiratory therapy – Michael also feels the culture of inclusion every time he comes to work.
“I think the greatest thing was I found somewhere where I felt comfortable – coming to a faith-based ministry, you really feel that at every level,” he says. “I’ve fallen in love with this building – and I want to give that feeling back to everyone who walks through those doors.”
When it comes to finding time to check in with his team members about their well-being and career growth, Michael said the answer is simple.
“It’s important to have that open relationship – creating relationships with every team member,” he shares. “Whether you’re talking about kids, pets, whatever, I just get them talking about something other than just work and get to actually know the person behind the role.”
Once he’s established that one-on-one rapport, Michael feels his team members are more comfortable opening up and sharing their work needs and career goals.
“In addition to checking in, we always say that our door is always open, even if it’s closed – just knock first,” he jokes. “That open-door policy helps keep the communication two ways.”
This approach has been effective – Michael’s team has seen record recruitment and retention, thanks to his leadership style and, in part, the opportunities we can provide our team members to grow professionally.
“I think most of my team wants to continue their education and move up in their careers, they just didn’t know they had the means to get it,” Michael says. “Showing them the opportunities they have to grow has been a game changer – and the highlight of my role as a leader.”