To be a leader, it’s not enough to just be good at what you do. You also have to love what you do.
Loving your work helps you to find confidence in your ability to inspire, lead change and make a difference. Kendra Smith (pictured above, left), vice president of community health for our Toledo market, says she’s not only inspired by the way Catherine Woskobnick (pictured above, right) supports her fellow team members and the community she serves, but she also sees her as a daily reminder of our ministry’s mission.
As the community health director for our Lorain market, Catherine’s approach to working in community is centered on equal respect for all. Whether it’s a peer community leader or a resident in need, her approach is the same – focused, committed, authentic, gracious and compassionate.
“When I meet Lorain stakeholders, their appreciation for Catherine and the Lorain community team is evident,” Kendra says. “They speak of her ability to go above and beyond and serve with purpose. Even on days when we are problem-solving, her passion for her work and commitment to the people of Lorain is apparent. She is truly a working reminder of the greater purpose and responsibility in this work, and how passion and technical expertise can drive our impact.”
One initiative where Catherine’s passion shows through most is Lorain Rising Stars. As a program that aims to diversify pathways to health care careers, Rising Stars introduces local high school students to their career options in the health care field. Kendra recalled a time during the summer of 2021 when she called Catherine to ask her a question while she was with Rising Star students.
“The background buzz was full of excitement and shout-outs of what they were learning. They were clearly excited to be there,” Kendra says. “Catherine shared that the first Rising Star alumnus had recently graduated medical school and she had just met with his family to share congratulations. The pride in her voice, the continued connection with that local family and the excitement of 15 teenagers in the background were a great inspiration and reminder of why we all do what we do.”
However, work within community health is not always smooth sailing. It’s also when challenges arise that Catherine shines. Kendra says one of the things she admires most about Catherine is her ability to address hurdles head-on and course-correct, but always with the best interest of the community in mind.
“She challenges me to think bigger, to think quickly and not be deterred by challenges we encounter,” she says. “She inspires me to show up every day acknowledging the possibilities of what we can achieve, and how we can have maximum impact in helping those we serve.”
Kendra also had a few words that she wanted to share with Catherine.
“Catherine, thank you for bringing your entire self to your role and the Lorain community. Your enthusiasm for the work is admirable, and your vision is appreciated. You have been an example of how to successfully connect and implement our clinical and community goals as a ministry and how to be an ambassador for our Mission every day. I appreciate the care you show to us all as your team and colleagues – checking in on our professional and personal wins and struggles, being a thought partner and helping guide our community strategy. Even more so, I appreciate the care you show the community – your time as a volunteer, an advocate, an innovator and a voice for those that don’t have one. Thank you for being phenomenal!”
And Kendra has this advice for other women who want to make a difference in the world.
“Live confidently in your ability to inspire, lead change and make a difference at any scale. Empower and encourage those around you. And remember, you are a leader who just happens to also be a woman.”
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