Leaders graduate from LEAP program

Twenty-six leaders from across the university officially completed nine months’ work when they graduated Sept. 30 from the Leadership Excellence for Academic Professionals program.

The LEAP teams identified timely opportunities for the university and its community to pursue, from growing telehealth to supporting employees and managers.

Strategically looking out for employees

Presentations were made to a panel of senior leaders:

  • Andrea Marks, senior executive VP and chief operating officer.
  • Heather Adkins, VP and chief marketing and communications officer.
  • Yeman Collier, VP and chief information officer.
  • Ginny Gomez-Leon, VP and chief financial officer.
  • Patrick Kaminski, VP and chief strategy officer.
  • Amy Tawney, VP and chief human resources officer.
  • Jessica Saldivar, chief compliance officer.

“The capstone projects’ recognition of the importance of looking out for our employees, both personally and professionally, for the benefit of the institution and our missions really resonated with leaders,” Marks said. “It also aligns with our new five-year strategic plan’s focus on Our People. I’m excited to explore how we can use their great ideas to enhance Our People strategies and employee-support offerings.”

The leaders, teams and projects

Each team developed a capstone project to identify and address opportunities facing the university and its community. These included defining those areas of opportunity and developing tactics to address them. The projects’ recommendations are subject to consideration by the university’s Executive Committee.

(Click participants’ names to see photos. Not all participants were available for photos.)

  • “Improving Telehealth Delivery”
    • The team identified continued growth of telehealth, even with COVID-19 considerations lessened. It recommended enhancing focus on market research from among patient and provider audiences to ensure telehealth options meet needs across the board.
    • Elisabeth de la Rosa, research operations manager, Institution for Integration of Medicine and Science.
    • Sharmin Harun, financial planning manager, FCM Administration
    • Lilian Nguyen, MD, clinical assistant professor, Ophthalmology.
    • Evon Rodriguez, financial transactions manager, Long School of Medicine.
    • Mary Spears, endowments and administration senior manager, Institutional Advancement.
    • Bryce Williams, research operations manager, STRONG STAR.
  • “Institutional Well-Being”
    • The team identified pressures on employees that predate COVID-19 and were amplified by the pandemic, affecting work force turnover and recruiting efforts. It recommended a hybrid fitness and mental health program to nurture healthier employees through exercise and wellness techniques.
    • John Commey, housekeeping and event services assistant director, Facilities Management.
    • Mary Guerrero-Munoz, clinical safety director, Environmental Health and Safety.
    • Christopher Januszewski, strategic sourcing specialist, Purchasing
    • Adam Kirking, value-based care senior director, ACO.
    • Patricia Miranda, research operations manager, Clinical Trials Office.
    • Reena Pardiwala, PA-C, specialist, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
  • “UT Health SA Value Proposition: A Focus on UT Health Staff”
    • The team identified the university’s opportunities as it continues to grow. It emphasized an investment in employees as a cornerstone of supporting those efforts. Recommendations include a wellness portal and investments to enhance employees’ abilities — in patient roles —to take greater advantage of the clinical health opportunities available from UT Health San Antonio providers.
    • Jennifer Aguilar, admissions and special programs assistant director, School of Nursing.
    • Stephen Araiza, business administrator, Physical Therapy.
    • Jennifer Bittle, branding and creative services director, Marketing, Communications and Media.
    • Britni Secor, PharmD, pharmacy operations director, Mays Cancer Center.
    • Carolina Solis-Herrera, MD, assistant professor/clinical, Endocrinology.
    • Brandi Weaver, research operations director, Urology.
  • “Building Our People: Increasing Connectedness and Employee Satisfaction through Improved Communication and Mentorship”
    • The team identified opportunities to answer questions and create general connectedness for new hires to provide greater opportunities to retain quality employees. It recommended that the university develop a team of employee-mentors and activities to guide new hires in their transition to UT Health San Antonio.
    • Nicholas Dudley, program manager, Pediatrics-Hematology-Oncology.
    • Dan Elinskas, inpatient facility project manager, Office of Strategic Planning.
    • Laura Hasewinkle, academic affairs senior director, School of Nursing.
    • Jeanie Paradise, wellness programs director, Mays Cancer Center.
    • Joseph Zorek, LINC director, Academic Faculty and Student Affairs.
  • “Promoting the Health and Success of UT Health San Antonio through Greater Manager Development”
    • The team identified an increased importance of the roles that managers play as the university continues to recruit and retain high-quality employees. It recommended enhanced training and provision of tools that will help managers do their jobs more effectively as they hire, retain and lead employees.
    • Melina Benavidez, admissions and specialty programs director, School of Health Professions.
    • Monica Goss, PhD, program manager, Glenn Biggs Institute.
    • David Ortiz, financial operations assistant director, FPO Financial Services.

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