Alumni / January 2017

Mount Mercy: Where Leaders Learn

Mount Mercy University’s combination of excellent academics, with a focus on compassionate service, produces graduates who hit the ground running in whatever field they desire.

Each graduate’s success is a badge of honor for us and we are grateful to each and every one of them for all they do to make the world a better place.

Pam Delagardelle ‘84

Pam Delagardelle ‘84
President & CEO
UnityPoint Health—Waterloo
Waterloo, IA

Q | HOW DID YOU COME TO STUDY AT MOUNT MERCY?

A | I was drawn to Mount Mercy because its nursing program had an excellent reputation. And because I had 12 years in Catholic education, I really wanted to continue my education at a Catholic college. My mother was also a Mercy nurse. I wanted to follow in her footsteps, and to earn my bachelor’s degree in nursing.

 

Q | DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR TIME ON THE HILL?

A | As students, we studied constantly. We only had one phone in the hallway, no television, no refrigerators and no computers. The friendships we made were priceless. On Wednesday nights, we’d walk down to the Tic Toc restaurant for tenderloins, onion rings, beverages and good fun. We also had the Freaker’s Ball around Halloween, where everyone dressed in costume, including the faculty. It was something to look forward to all year.

 

Q | WHAT CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR MOMENTS ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

A | I’m proud of seeing the people I’ve mentored become successful in their careers. The things I’m most proud of are those accomplished as part of a team. I helped build a Catholic church in Grundy County that attracted new members and united several communities. It’s rare, and satisfying, when you can say you were part of a team that accomplished something like that.

 

Q | WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE TRAITS OF A GOOD LEADER?

A | In a good leader, I want someone with integrity, a positive attitude, high energy and who is a good team player. It is important that leaders are coachable, have a good work ethic and high information processing.

Mike Myers

Mike Myers ‘83
CEO
Veterans Memorial Hospital
Waukon, IA

Q | HOW DID YOU COME TO STUDY AT MOUNT MERCY?

A | After attending Kirkwood Community College to complete prerequisites, I transferred to Mount Mercy. The smaller classes were more conducive to how I learned, and I liked the campus and instructors.

 

Q | DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR TIME ON THE HILL?

A | I enjoyed intramural flag football and volunteering at homeless shelters. I do remember instructors who would say something profound. One teacher told me a physician is a copilot telling you when to get to a destination, and the nurse is the pilot telling you how to get there. That stuck in my mind.

 

Q | WHAT CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR MOMENTS ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

A | I won a Professional Achievement Award from Mount Mercy and the Person of the Year from the Waukon Chamber of Commerce for advocating for the passing of a bond vote necessary to fund a wellness center and to improve the local school and the community college’s satellite center. I also sit on boards for Allamakee County and the Iowa Hospital Association.

Our hospital has been recognized by a national patient satisfaction firm for being in the 95th percentile. I’m proud of getting them recognized at both the local and the national level, because it gives the organization the validation it deserves.

 

Q | WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE TRAITS OF A GOOD LEADER?

A | Above all else, a good leader must have good people skills. If you’re not a good people-person, you will struggle in a leadership position. You also need good communication skills. Ask, don’t tell—if you don’t ask questions, you can’t make good decisions. I also believe critical thinking and being able to see the big picture are extremely important. A good leader must think several moves ahead, and to do that, it helps to have an open mind.

Beth Houlahan ‘77
Senior Vice President, Chief Nursing Executive
University of Wisconsin Hospitals & Clinics
Madison, WI

Q | HOW DID YOU COME TO STUDY AT MOUNT MERCY?

A | I grew up in Cedar Rapids; I actually went to another college for a year and then found out that they were just starting their nursing program. As a result, I would have had to attend for five years. I started looking back in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, and I decided that I wanted to attend college in a more intimate setting. Mount Mercy had a great setting, and was very welcoming to me, so I spent the next three years there.

 

Q | DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR TIME ON THE HILL?

A | I met a couple of life-long friends at Mount Mercy, one of whom I still see at least twice a year. However, I believe that the focus on the profession of nursing and the pride it brings is what stands out the most to me. I felt that the emphasis that the Sisters placed on giving back to the community has affected me throughout my career.

 

Q | WHAT CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR MOMENTS ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

A | I think what first comes to mind is when patients would tell me that our time together really made a difference in their lives. I don’t believe that there’s any greater reward than hearing that. In my capacity as a formal leader, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring many individuals. To effectuate an individual’s growth and development and prepare them for new opportunities is a tremendous honor and one of my most treasured accomplishments.

 

Q | WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE TRAITS OF A GOOD LEADER?

A | First and foremost, I believe that being trustworthy is the most important trait of a good leader. Of course, one also needs the ability to work well in a team and good communication skills. I also feel that self-reflection and the ability to be able to express a certain amount of vulnerability and humility are also important. You need to be transparent and open to feedback.

Teresa Colgan

Teresa Colgan ‘85
Vice President of Nursing
Great River Medical Center
Burlington, IA

Q | HOW DID YOU COME TO STUDY AT MOUNT MERCY?

A | I grew up in Grand View, Iowa and attended a small high school. I didn’t want to attend a large college, so I looked for small, private colleges to attend. When I visited Mount Mercy with my mother, I felt that it was just the right place. People were very kind. I grew up Catholic, and that was a very important part of my life as well. I was also drawn to the sense of community that was there.

 

Q | DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR TIME ON THE HILL?

A | I was involved in the Student Nursing Association and attended a few conferences. I was also involved in the pep band on campus, playing trumpet. I worked as an RA in the dorms. My most memorable classes were anatomy and physiology, and I was fascinated by working in the cadaver lab. I also participated in spiritual retreats that were offered.

 

Q | WHAT CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR MOMENTS ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

A | Personally, I’d rather stay behind the scenes. I am most proud when our organization and our staff do well, whether it’s a global award or just having a positive impact on a patient or family. I did receive a Top 100 Nurse Award. I was nominated by our nurse leaders. That was a nice recognition. The proudest moment of my career was when we moved to the new hospital—that was an amazing day. That was in April of 2000. It was the result of immense planning, and it all came together almost perfectly.

 

Q | WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE TRAITS OF A GOOD LEADER?

A | I believe that what makes a good leader are people who have good values, first of all, because that drives good decision making. As a leader, you also need effective communication skills, high energy and resilience, because not every day is going to be perfect. I also feel that as a leader, you need to develop a solid knowledge base in whatever your specialty may be.

Barb Barhamand

Barb Barhamand ‘77
Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist / Practice Manager
Hematology–Oncology Consultants, Ltd.
Naperville, IL

Q | HOW DID YOU COME TO STUDY AT MOUNT MERCY?

A | I was attracted by the BSN program, which was new at that time—both in nursing and at Mount Mercy. The opportunity to study with cadavers also fascinated me. I was from a small town and the University of Iowa seemed too big and impersonal for me.

 

Q | DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR TIME ON THE HILL?

A | The moments that stand out to me were my sophomore year capping ceremony, and, in my senior year, the invitation to cap three sophomore students myself. Lastly, our senior year pinning ceremony was memorable.

 

Q | WHAT CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR MOMENTS ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

A | I wrote a journal article that led to opportunities to serve on pharmaceutical nursing boards, speaking at conferences around the country, and I spearheaded the development of a local chapter for the National Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). I received the Excellence in Oncology Nursing Private Practice Award from the ONS, was named an Outstanding Woman Leader in Health Care by the State of Illinois, and received the Professional Achievement Award from Mount Mercy. The proudest moment in my career, however, would be when we opened our newest cancer treatment clinic, because it was my design and my vision.

 

Q | WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE TRAITS OF A GOOD LEADER?

A | I think that being confident, articulate and having the ability to reflect your thoughts and ideas in a positive and constructive way rather than a negative manner are the characteristics of a good leader.

Heather (Zimmerman) Ries

Heather (Zimmerman) Ries ‘02
Chief Nursing Officer
Regional Medical Center
Manchester, IA

Q | HOW DID YOU COME TO STUDY AT MOUNT MERCY?

A | In high school, I went on 13 or 14 college visits to several area four-year colleges. I knew I wanted my BSN and I wanted the on-campus college experience. I visited Mount Mercy four or five times at different points of the year, which allowed me to really see myself attending. It also helped that I received a substantial academic scholarship, making the tuition as affordable as state schools.

 

Q | DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR TIME ON THE HILL?

A | I have a few moments that stand out. I helped take care of the elderly sisters at the Sisters of Mercy Infirmary, and those ladies are a hoot. I remember lining up outside of the Registrar’s Office in the early morning hours to sign up for classes and praying that my preferred classes weren’t full. I spent quite a long time during my sophomore year in the anatomy lab and became comfortable with death, the inner workings of the human body and the smell of formaldehyde.

 

Q | WHAT CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR MOMENTS ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

A | In college, I was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Society and received the Sister Mary Edward Award. Receiving my master’s degree was a very proud moment for me. At Regional Medical Center, I assisted in nominating a deserving nurse for the Iowa Hospital Association’s Hospital Hero Award, which she won, turning a terribly tragic situation into one of connection, honor and recognition for the involved family and nurse.

I am also proud of the CNO position I hold today. I work in the facility that I was born in. Working in the community where I grew up and now where I raise my kids, I feel that I am paying back the community that was good to me as I grew up.

 

Q | WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE TRAITS OF A GOOD LEADER?

A | I think that a good leader is honest, humble, an effective communicator and approachable. I also believe that a skilled leader is straight forward, organized and skilled at follow-through.

Penny Glanz

Penny Glanz ‘88
Vice President of Outpatient Services
Mercy Medical Center
Cedar Rapids, IA

Q | HOW DID YOU COME TO STUDY AT MOUNT MERCY?

A | I wasn’t a traditional student when I came to Mount Mercy. I was already working at Mercy Hospital, so it seemed as if it would be a good fit for me there. I realized that more opportunities would open up for me if I received my bachelor’s degree.

 

Q | DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR TIME ON THE HILL?

A | As a non-traditional student, I spent most of my time studying and working, so I don’t quite have many memories of spending my time there other than attending classes.

 

Q | WHAT CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR MOMENTS ARE YOU PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

A | My biggest accomplishment occurred when I took over the cancer center. We were not accredited through the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. It took a lot of preparation and a lot of work to get us ready for that. At our last accreditation, we received the Outstanding Achievement Award, which is an honor that only a few hospitals in the world receive. I also received Iowa’s Best 100 Nurses Award.

 

Q | WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE TRAITS OF A GOOD LEADER?

A | I look for people who are the opposite of me. What I mean is you have to know yourself and hire staff whose strengths match your weaknesses. Remember that you can’t do everything by yourself. It’s also important to have a passion for your work, because if you can’t love what you’re going to do, you can’t do your best work. Communication is important, because as a leader, you will have people that report to you and not everyone communicates in the same fashion. You need to be able to communicate in different ways. Finally, I believe you must always be honest, fair and kind—this will encourage respect.

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