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July 7, 2023

EVS Director Brenda Guldner Empowers Team Members & Transforms Culture

Brenda Guldner HeadshotEnvironmental Services (EVS) Director Brenda Guldner’s professional background is in education and assisted living. By chance, she ended up at HHS in 2020 when she moved to North Carolina with her then-husband. Brenda initially researched familiar jobs but decided to try something new and applied for an assistant director position with HHS.

Brenda began her foray into the healthcare field with HHS the week the pandemic officially hit the United States. She was thrown into the deep end immediately and quickly proved she was capable of overcoming any challenge.

“Coming from no background of housekeeping in a hospital setting [and then] we’re dealing with Covid-19. I have never known a ‘normal,’ if you will. That was a learning experience! I’m grateful for it. We had some of the worst times ever, but we were still able to come together as a team. I have housekeepers that were just exhausted, and they’d come into my office, and I’d bear it and hug them and cry together,” Brenda recalled of that time.

Brenda believes that fostering such connections with team members is crucial. She understands that by building strong relationships, even on the toughest days, her team members will choose to stay because work becomes more than just a job—it becomes fun.

Brenda's leadership style is rooted in empathy, humility, and accountability. She encourages her team members to approach her with honesty and openness, creating a safe space for them to share their concerns and ideas. Brenda readily admits her own mistakes and appreciates when others point them out, fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth.

Brenda Guldner and team 2

“I’m always encouraging them. I’m like, ‘Y’all know I’ve got squirrel brain and I make mistakes all the time!’ [I want] them to point them out lovingly. I’m like, ‘Thanks for catching that!’ That makes them feel comfortable, and then I can point something out to them [that they can improve.] I just want to make work a happy place. I feel if I get to know my team members, I can ask about their fur babies. I can ask about their babies and [their hobbies]. We’re here to take care of the hospital, but we’re also here to take care of each other, and I live by that,” Brenda explained.

One of Brenda's greatest achievements at HHS has been transforming the team culture at her current hospital. When she joined, morale was low, and the team didn't feel fully integrated within the hospital. Through her leadership, Brenda’s team got involved in hospital activities like a pumpkin carving contest and a Halloween costume contest. This not only brought them closer but also bridged the gap between the EVS team and the hospital staff.

Brenda Guldner and team winning Halloween contest

Brenda believes in the importance of acknowledging and appreciating her team's contributions to help create a sense of belonging and value. Beyond hospital involvement, Brenda finds creative ways to motivate and encourage her team. She helps her team organize potluck dinners, celebrate birthdays and babies, and makes small gestures like posting acknowledgments of her team’s work on hospital bulletin boards. Brenda makes sure everyone on her team feels appreciated. She emphasizes the significance of the housekeeping role within the hospital to foster respect and pride in the work her team members do.

“I tell my team every day that we are the heart of the hospital. What happens if EVS does not show up? Hospitals would shut down. [I tell them], ‘You are important to this hospital and to this company. You make the difference!’” Brenda exclaimed.

Throughout her career at HHS, Brenda has thrived on challenges and opportunities for growth. She enjoys being able to witness the transformation of teams under her leadership. Brenda aims to be more than just a director; she wants to be a mentor and someone her team members can rely on.

Brenda was recently promoted and will transition to EVS director at a hospital in Mooresville, North Carolina in July 2023. She is thrilled to take on the new challenge while staying close to her children and grandchildren.

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