Featuring Geornie Bakala, System Patient Experience Manager at Sentara Healthcare
Today, March 8, is the 108th International Women’s Day. Now a public holiday in 27 countries, International Women’s Day is recognized around the world as a time to celebrate the hard work and sacrifice of women in all walks of life.
Balance drives a better working world. Organizations where both women and men are in leadership and management positions outperform others on almost every metric: profitability, efficiency, and workforce moral. There are no downsides, and that’s why Morrison is recognizing the women who have overcome obstacles to help make our company, and the world, a better place.
As part of that celebration, we interviewed Geornie Bakala, System Patient Experience Manager at Sentara Healthcare and Morrison Healthcare in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her strengths are absolutely indispensable to an organization like ours: strong interpersonal skills, attention to detail, the ability to multitask, and expertise in public relations.
When you’re looking for a leader who understands every aspect of the business, you want someone like Bakala. She started out in the kitchen, on the frontline of customer care and patient satisfaction. From there, she became a pharmacy technician, then began working with data and analytics (Press Ganey scores, for example) to identify new priorities and set goals. She’s worked in budgeting, procurement, and now collaborates with executive chefs, dietitians and directors to reconstruct our menu based on all that knowledge.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Balance for Better. What does that balance mean to you?
To me, better balance isn’t just about achieving gender parity. It means having to balance all aspect of your life in a healthy and successful way while motivating others and still performing at a higher level. This is what I continuously strive for.
Who are the women that have inspired and motivated you?
The women that have inspired and motivated me were in leadership positions, such my previous managers and coworkers. They have become lifelong friends and offer continuous wisdom.
Have you had a great mentor who has helped you see opportunities you may not have otherwise?
My most important mentor was my father, Georges Bakala. He has always been supportive and helps me to see the positive side of situations that I may not have otherwise recognized.
What is your role in bringing more women into your business?
I work to bring more women into my field by being a great resource and offering mentorship to any woman who wants to learn more and grow in healthcare leadership.
What is your favorite part of managing and mentoring young women in the business?
My favorite part is when I talk to the associates, who are mostly women, about my pathway into the field and my personal experiences. Many times, when they find out my age, they are curious about how I obtained my current position and what steps I took to achieve success. I am always happy to share my story and my continuous motivation. But most importantly I always let them know to reach out to me if they are interested in opportunities in my field.