In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

November 16, 2021

‘In a Word’: Amy Lannen on learning the language that can reach people, more

By In the Loop
Amy Lannen

This column spotlights the kinds of people you think about when you think about Mayo Clinic. They've answered questions, serious and otherwise, so you can know them better.

You see them at bedsides. Behind desks. You may spot them walking down a hall or sprinting across a lobby, making every effort to look like they're walking. You see them talking quietly with a patient and family, or sitting down with you at a meeting. They may be friends, teammates or someone you know only by sight. But you're glad they're here. And it's reassuring to know that the health of our patients, our colleagues and the institution itself rests in their capable, friendly, earnest, caring and compassionate hands.

Amy Lannen had dabbled in a few different jobs from selling life insurance to being a receptionist at a toy company before coming to Mayo Clinic

Lannen, now an operations specialist in the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center, came to Mayo Clinic in Florida in 2004 as a contract staff member. She says she had no idea that Mayo Clinic was a world-renowned organization until she started working here.

What started as a career has now become a calling, and she continues to be amazed by the connections she has made, she says.

"I work with creative, intelligent, professional and caring people who constantly provide a level of service excellence that goes above and beyond their job description," Lannen says. "I get to work with so many different specialties in the Simulation Center, and watching the passion they have for education makes me excited to come to work each day just to see what's next."

One of my favorite things about Mayo Clinic: Again, I would say, my connections. I don't know how to do everything, but I bet I know who to ask. So many people have such amazing talents that when you get to know them you can accomplish anything just by using the brilliance in the room. Things you never thought possible become possible when you create meaningful connections with the people around you.

The single most important thing I did at work yesterday (or expect to do tomorrow): I worked on equity, inclusion and diversity training, specifically regarding microaggressions. This is training we're doing in the Simulation Center to teach how to manage microaggressions and navigate the difficult terrain of starting conversations about equity, inclusion and diversity in the workplace. It is vitally important to me to make sure these conversations happen and they happen in a productive manner.

A book I would recommend, or one I want to read (and why): "Not Impossible" by Mick Ebeling. I heard him speak at a conference about how he and his team start with the story of a single person to solve a societal challenge. Their motto is: Nothing is impossible forever. I like to live this way. Focusing on solving a problem for someone you care about helps you keep finding new, creative and outside-the-box solutions to challenges.

Mayo Clinic has taught me: To learn the vocabulary. The most impactful way to get colleagues to listen is to speak their language. Find out what it is about your topic that is important to your audience and tailor your message to their needs. If someone likes a story, spin them the best tale. If someone likes bullet points, condense your language down and give them the facts. The key is to always make sure to flavor it with your personality to make sure each approach still feels authentically you.

Most treasured or best advice from a colleague at Mayo: So many colleagues have given me amazing professional advice, but Nick Laboy said something to me when I was pregnant with my first child that I'll never forget. He said, "You only have 18 summers until your kids go off to college." I treasure that advice and think of it often when I say yes to something my boys ask me to do with them ― within reason, of course.

Most memorable Mayo moment: I've worked here too long to have just one. My favorite times have to be when I'm starting something new. Figuring out how to do something no one has ever done before challenges my brain in a completely fulfilling way. My first Mayo Clinic job was a newly created position that I got to navigate and design to help make the electronic health record better. When I started in the Simulation Center, it was just getting off the ground, and I got to help shape the center into the educational force it is today. When I started the Family, Resource, Event and Support Hub Mayo Employee Resource Group in 2008, it was just an idea in my head that I made into something useful with the help of many other amazing women. All of the things I've accomplished at Mayo Clinic were done with the help of exceptional teams that made it all possible.

If I could choose the "on hold" music for Mayo Clinic: "Lofi" is my new favorite music to help me slow my mind. I think any person calling Mayo Clinic has the potential to be extremely stressed, and having something to calm their nerves may help with the wait.

Favorite space on campus this month: The new atrium in the Cannaday Building. I love that every time we expand the Florida campus, we add beauty to our spaces. It really is about healing the whole person and not just the medicine alone.

People who inspire me: My boys. They each have such a unique view of the world. My eldest is intelligent beyond his years, and he sees things from a perspective that most people can't even conceive. He has my husband's comedic timing, and he asks me thoughtful questions that make me explore my own beliefs. My youngest has the kindest heart. He wants to be friends with everyone, and he really sees the good in people. He's enthusiastic, and when he's into something, he's all in. He's always willing to give a hug or share a conversation.

The most fun I've had at work this year: SimWars, our end-of-year celebration of the academic year for the Internal Medicine residents. This celebration included singing and dancing by prominent staff members. Seeing people have fun at work is my favorite.

Team Dr. Charlie or Team Dr. Will? Or Team Mother Alfred or Team Dr. W.W.? Team Edith Graham Mayo. She was the first professional nurse at Mayo Clinic, and she was integral to the creation and promotion of Mayo Clinic as a world-renowned medical center. She was adventurous and energetic, even with nine children. She helped cultivate the connections that made Mayo Clinic a force in health care. She also happened to be the wife of Dr. Charlie.

When patients recall their visit to Mayo Clinic, I hope they remember: That the value we place on educating our staff reflects in the care the patients receive. 


Tags: Amy Lannen, In a Word, Staff Stories

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