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Growing UMMC’s current, future leaders

Published on Thursday, January 8, 2015

By: Ruth Cummins .

Published in News Stories on January 08, 2015

About 100 UMMC employee leaders are embarking on a journey to discover their strengths – and their improvement areas – in making their workplace the best it can be.

They’ll learn how to take it to the next level through the UMMC Leadership Program, a new initiative to enhance essential workplace skills and knowledge. It will better prepare managers and potential managers to carry out the Medical Center’s strategic plan, mission and values, said Dr. Helen Beady, a human resources service partner in development and management consulting. 

“It’s a paradigm shift in what we do to mentor and coach employees,” Beady said.

The program, which kicks off this month, has two parts: a year-long leadership class of 83 employees, and a six-month Leadership in Action project group with 14 members who will come up with their own projects to research and study. Participants meet monthly for two hours.

During a welcoming session for participants Wednesday, UMMC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and School of Medicine Dean Dr. James Keeton encouraged them to get the most out of the program. “We truly are here to improve the health of Mississippians,” he said.

It’s not always easy, he said, to be a leader. “You’re going to make mistakes, but it’s not the end of the world,” Keeton said. “As a leader, not everyone is going to like you, but they can respect you.”

Although the program is new, it’s descended from LAMP, the Leading through Applied Management Principles program that originated in 2007 among UMMC’s nursing professionals.   The new version spans the Medical Center and operates through Human Resources.


Class member Gerald McGuire, an Epic technical manager, said he wants to learn more about how leadership operates campus-wide.

“I hope to get a more well-rounded view of what’s involved in campus projects, and I want to get a better idea of how different systems and groups on campus work together,” McGuire said. “I want to get a better overall picture of how each area affects the others.”

Those taking part were nominated by their managers, and they’ll receive continuing education credits. Their training activities are “designed for them to look at ways they can optimize the organization,” Beady said. “It might be, for example, looking across the organization at how to do job analysis by completing a step-wise process for completing a job description questionnaire.”


In incorporating UMMC’s strategic plan into the program, Beady said, “we will look at individual development plan for employees. You have to become the CEO of you. We need our leaders and managers to engage their upper-line supervisors to let them know where they’d like to go, and to put a road map in place to get there.”

Employees also will learn how to better mentor and communicate with those they supervise, she said. “Ultimately, when we talk about the development of managers, one of the highest tasks for such leaders is to develop the people who are working for them. That’s a great responsibility. We must engage our leaders in order to do that,” Beady said.

Regardless of where they work at UMMC, participants in the Leadership Program are all vital to the organization, said Dr. Ralph Didlake, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and chief academic officer.

“You in a tangible way …. model, every day, behaviors of professionalism, technical expertise, leadership, and compliance with policy,” he told them at the welcoming event. “That’s why leadership is important to broaden the health-care enterprise.” 


“I’m real excited about the project management aspects of this program,” said Leadership in Action project participant Skye Stoker, a nurse manager in the Emergency Department. “We have a very high-performing team in the ED. It’s a calling to lead, and a tremendous challenge.

“This will challenge me to be a better leader and will take me to the next level,” Stoker said. 

A sense of collegial collaboration and solidarity of purpose will be on display at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 28, when UMMC leaders and members of the Strategic Plan Committee will formally present the plan to all UMMC faculty, staff and students at the “UMMC/2020: The Plan for #AHealthierMS” event in the second-floor conference center of the Norman C. Nelson Student Union.