The heartwarming friendship between team members Carrie Gutierrez, Roxann Munoz, and Yolanda Kuzur shows the power of camaraderie in the workplace. Their extraordinary connection has not only enriched their personal lives but has also helped them thrive professionally, setting an example for others.
United by Shared Beginnings
The story of their friendship started when they met during environmental services (EVS) training. They had all recently accepted positions as patient ambassadors, who act as liaisons between hospital patients and EVS teams, ensuring high patient satisfaction scores. They began as strangers, brought together by a common role, and they developed a deep and lasting bond.
They come from diverse backgrounds but all found immense satisfaction as patient ambassadors. Administrative Assistant Carrie Gutierrez began her career in banking before making a move to the medical field, working as both a dialysis technician and a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Driven by her passion for connecting with people on a personal level, she was drawn to the patient ambassador role. Prior to joining HHS, Recruiter Roxann Munoz worked as a preschool teacher, and Assistant Director Yolanda Kuzur's career spanned various healthcare roles, from housekeeping to Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).
Early on, they leaned on each other for encouragement and collaborated professionally, meeting major goals they’d set for themselves. Roxann elaborated, “Each of us brought unique work backgrounds and ideas that added value and proved beneficial. This collaborative effort contributed to the success of our HCHAPS/AIDET program for our division.”
A Friendship Forged in Challenges
The relationship that Carrie, Roxann, and Yolanda formed during their patient ambassador days has grown deep and become a lifeline for them; they’ve supported each other through tremendous challenges over the years, becoming pillars of strength for one another. “I love our friendship, we've gone through some heartaches, we've gone through some struggles, but we've been there for each other,” Yolanda noted.
When the world was shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, the distance brought about by remote work couldn't dampen their connection. Their unwavering support persisted beyond the challenge of the physical distance between them. Carrie explained, “We just kept that connection [going] and I really appreciated that because in these days it's hard. Then when [COVID-19] hit, everything changed. So we were able to still support each other even though, we didn't have that face connection. I'm grateful for that and I think that that's one thing that drove our passion.”
Empowering Each Other
The impact that Carrie, Roxann, and Yolanda have had on each other’s professional growth has been profound as well. Their mutual trust and shared experiences have allowed them to take on new challenges with confidence as they support each other. They have continued to collaborate beyond their initial patient ambassador roles as they each transitioned into admin, recruitment, and leadership positions.
They have found the courage to seize opportunities that align with their passions, often because of the way they empower each other. Yolanda expressed, “They always believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself, encouraging me to take on professional and personal challenges.”
Roxann's journey to becoming a regional recruiter, Carrie's pursuit of further education through HHS’ partnership with Southwest University, and Yolanda's remarkable rise from housekeeper to assistant director all reflect the limitless potential that blooms when individuals have a supportive network. "We have been able to share ideas, motivate each other, celebrate, and grieve together. Our unique bond is such a blessing to me and I am very much inspired by these ladies,” Carrie shared.
A Culture of Inclusivity and Growth
Carrie, Roxann, and Yolanda's story embodies HHS's values—a culture that nurtures growth, encourages collaboration, and celebrates personal connections. In a world where people can often feel isolated in their jobs, the story of this trio of friends serves as an example of the alternative.
Their friendship has been a driving force in propelling them forward at HHS and they also believe it’s important to foster this same type of community amongst their teams. Roxann shared, “In the workplace, commitment, teamwork, and support are major factors that contribute significantly to a team's success."
Carrie, Roxann, and Yolanda share advice for their fellow team members:
“You can be your own worst critic and self-sabotage. I personally struggled with this and held myself back in many ways. Through self-awareness and self-management, I have come to embrace my strengths and accept the things that I may not be so good at. I am proud of my progress and where I am going. As a 2024 graduate of the Southwest University program, I encourage you to pursue your goals and dreams and not allow your inner critic to hold you back. HHS has many great opportunities to offer!”
“Embrace opportunities that come with challenges as they offer valuable learning and growth experiences. Don't hesitate to seek constructive feedback to further enhance your skills. Whenever in doubt or with questions, feel free to reach out to your colleagues. Gaining advice from others provides a fresh perspective.”
“Seeing every challenge as a chance to learn and improve is crucial. With determination, you can achieve anything by honing your skills and viewing failures as valuable lessons. [Also], age doesn't matter – whether you're older or younger, a strong work ethic and passion for your job pave the way for success in any career. HHS fosters employee growth and equips them with the necessary tools for success within the company.”
Tag(s): Team Member Stories