When Gloria Roy, executive assistant at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, joined Children’s, she took a leap of faith. For more than 25 years she had worked in restaurant operations management and knew little about hospital administration. But she believed in herself.
“I believe everyone has their gifts and what they contribute to work and life,” she said. “Even though Children’s was new to me, I knew my operations and office management skills could be useful to Children’s Beeghly campus.”
After 32 years as an executive assistant, the last 7 of those spent at Children’s, Gloria retires on April 2. She looks forward to starting a new chapter with her husband, Dan, at their Guilford Lake house where they live year-round. Gloria’s plans include enjoying the view from her porch and pontoon and delighting in water activities with her family. When the pandemic ends, she and Dan plan to travel again.
What brought you to Children’s?
The company where I worked as an executive assistant was relocating to Cleveland, and I didn’t want to move. I learned that Children’s was hiring. I interviewed with Sharon Hrina, now retired vice president at Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, and was hired first as a temp and then as a full-time employee a month later.
What was going on in your life then?
I worked at Morgan Foods’ Youngstown location as an executive assistant and office manager. With operations at more than 100 locations in 6 states, my role included handling tasks such as workers compensation and landscaping/snow removal contracts. That company meant a lot to me. It’s where I met my husband. The year they moved was tough. Not only did I lose my job, but also a dear family pet.
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
When I started, I didn’t have a clinical background. Many times, it was like learning a new language! For instance, during one meeting, people kept saying, “Feti.” I later learned they were referring to, “FTE,” short for full-time equivalent used to calculate the number of hours worked by employees.
I used my operations background a lot here. Over the years, we experienced numerous expansions, a multimillion-dollar capital fundraising campaign and employment growth. Organization was a huge part of my job, first for Sharon Hrina and now, Paul Olivier, vice president.
What have your biggest contributions been while here?
I hope it’s bringing encouragement to my co-workers and those I meet on the job. My colleagues are always there to lend a hand, and I try to reciprocate their love and appreciation. What impresses me is how Children’s employees see a need in the community and often, working behind the scenes, they fill that need, never expecting recognition. Bravo!
How has Children’s changed since you started here?
It started when Bill Considine (Akron Children’s CEO Emeritus) retired. Everyone here knew him. We were always happy to see him. In my experience, change isn’t easy, but under the leadership of Grace Wakulchik, president and chief executive officer, our executives continued to lead the organization, doing what was best for our hospital and employees. To me, this has been especially evident during the pandemic. I’ve seen our leaders rally us throughout COVID-19.
What’s your most memorable moment at Akron Children’s?
Receiving my 5-year award. I certainly reached a milestone!
With so many little children here, did someone especially touch your heart?
A child I’ll call “Jenna,” who had cerebral palsy, sometimes visited our department. I wish her determination and courage could be bottled. It’s something she shared with us during every visit.
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
Give yourself time to absorb everything. Children’s culture allows us that. Before long, you’ll find yourself totally involved.
What couldn’t you live without?
God and my family. My father, who lived with me, died from COVID-19 on New Year’s Eve. His passing is one of the reasons I decided to retire now.
What music do you like? Where and how do you listen to it?
I like all music, but especially those from different cultures. Music brings people together all over the world.
What is the last book you read?
“Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss” by Pat Schwiebert, Chuck DeKlyen and Taylor Bills