Moving up: Three employees talk about advancing in their careers

They say it helps to have mentors, and to grab hold of opportunities

Yale Medical Group (YMG) takes pride in being a good place to launch and nurture a career, and there are many examples of employees advancing in their careers.

Chief Operating Officer Marianne Dess-Santoro gives credit for their upward mobility to YMG’s teamwork approach, an emphasis on both technical expertise and people skills, and a corporate culture that continually monitors productivity and provides feedback and training. “We have high expectations,” said Dess-Santoro, “and our people meet or exceed these high expectations every day.

In this issue of Yale Practice, we highlight three staff members who have worked hard and flourished.

From her office at Science Park, Kelly Proctor oversees 32 employees.

Navigating the changes

Kelly Proctor is one of three supervisors of YMG’s central registration service. Proctor and the 32 employees she oversees are responsible for ensuring that every YMG patient is registered into the practice management system, and that “all the work that comes in is routed correctly and done in a timely manner.”

She started her career here 16 years ago working part-time as a registrar in a central registration pilot program, where she was responsible for calling patients prior to their appointments. “Patients came right to us, and there were only five people registering them,” she said.

Proctor became a lead in the department five years later, overseeing work in central registration. The registrars use phone calls, pathology and lab requisitions, OR logs and a variety of other methods to obtain the information they need to register patients. “It’s challenging because it changes so often, and you’re always learning to do new things,” said Proctor.

Proctor credits the support and training that YMG provided her over the years as one reason behind her steady rise up the professional ladder. She also cites an organizational culture of “praise and respect”—motivators that she works hard to foster among her staff as well.

In addition, she mentioned one intangible: “being on a winning team” ensures that that all of a patient’s registration needs are dealt with smoothly and efficiently. “Our job at central registration is to make sure that when people come to YMG, they can just concentrate on getting well,” said Proctor.

Sharon Barone says because YMG is so large, there are always choices.

Making the most of opportunities

Lead clinical receptionist Sharon Barone is often a YMG patient’s first point-of-office contact at the Yale Physicians Building. Based primarily on YPB’s third floor, which houses specialty practices that vary from colorectal surgery to allergy and immunology, Barone is currently cross-training to be able to meet the needs of the even greater variety of specialties headquartered on YPB’s three other floors.

“The fact that every day, I get to deal with a new group of physicians, patients, staff and administrators, adds a little flavor to my work week,” said Barone, who started as a clinical receptionist with YMG six years ago and advanced to the lead position in 2011. “It’s never mundane.”

Her choice to make the most of new opportunities is a large part of what helped Barone advance in her career. “Because YMG is a large organization, you have many choices,” she explained. “When I began my career here in the fall of 2005 as a clinical receptionist in surgical dermatology, working for Dr. David Leffell, I was hoping it would lead to more opportunities, and it certainly did. I was very excited to take the position here at YPB knowing that the Epic system was being implemented here first. It has been a very wonderful place to work.”

Barone strives hard to maintain the kind of supportive atmosphere that has made YMG special to her and conducive to her career advancement. “Through cross-training, I've become the go-to-person and give support where needed. We work well together and have a great team.”

Johanna Torres: “There’s a definite push for learning.”

Managing whatever comes up

YMG practice manager Johanna Torres was graciously apologetic about having to postpone an interview yet again, but she unexpectedly had to help an affiliate clinic deal with scheduling software problems. “I handle everything that comes up, from computer problems to employee issues,” said Torres, who manages 15 clinical receptionists and two clinical operations managers. “The fact that every day is different is one of the reasons I love my job.”

Torres came to YMG almost five years ago as a clinical receptionist. Previously, she’d worked as a collections manager at the Hospital of Saint Raphael, but she wanted a new direction and the ability to go back to college. YMG provided both—and then some.

“I really enjoy the patient contact and the stimulating work environment. We gain valuable experience working with new technology,” said Torres. She also took advantage of Yale University’s tuition reimbursement benefit for furthering her education. She expects to receive her bachelor’s degree from Albertus Magnus College in 2013 and then enroll in a master’s program in moral leadership. “There’s a definite push for learning at YMG,” she said.

As Torres worked her way up the career ladder, first to clinical operations manager after two years at YMG and then to her present job in 2011, she had the benefit of a mentor in Marie Follo, director of practice management. “Marie had confidence in my abilities and felt comfortable giving me additional responsibilities,” said Torres. “I’m trying to do the same thing for my staff: to be a role model and help others grow just like I did. I tell them that there are no obstacles to moving ahead at YMG. Just go for it and get it done.”