In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

December 14, 2021

‘In a Word’: Cathy Agostino on finding inspiration in teamwork during challenges of COVID-19

By In the Loop
Cathy Agostino

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.

Cathy Agostino joined Mayo Clinic in Arizona as an Occupational Health manager a year ago. She has been a nurse for 31 years, working in occupational health for 20 of those years.

Agostino came to Mayo Clinic during the pandemic and says she has been inspired by Mayo Clinic and the people who work here.

"The people that work at Mayo are an absolutely amazing group," she says. "I am very fortunate to report to an extremely supportive nurse administrator, as well as our whole Occupational Health Services leadership team, which is a highly communicative team."

One of my favorite things about Mayo Clinic:  The culture. My motto is: "Work hard, be nice." Mayo staff are continuously encouraged to work as a team, have each other's back, and bring the best outcomes in every project.

The single most important thing I did at work yesterday (or expect to do tomorrow): Worked alongside our Occupational Health Services team. Same with today, and will again tomorrow. This has been one of the highlights of my job at Mayo as we have tackled the everchanging COVID challenges of vaccines, the call center and other areas.  I am so proud of how resilient this team has been.   

The most fun I've had at work this year:  Being innovative in planning events for vaccines and other challenges. It has been a lot of fun watching the Occupational Health Services staff grow in creating new ideas on ways to get the job done when resources have been scarce. It has been so much fun getting to meet the staff from all over the hospital who have assisted our team throughout the year. This has been nothing but a fun, positive experience. 

Favorite space on campus this month: The Gonda lobby when the piano is playing.

Mayo Clinic has taught me: That teamwork still exists. It is so refreshing.

Most treasured or best advice from a colleague at Mayo: "You can do it all overnight.”

People who inspire me: People who inspire me are not those who are perfect or overachievers, but those who learn from their mistakes and grow based on experiences. As a leader, I have been inspired by some employees who have been wildly successful after learning from what could have been negative outcomes.

If I could choose the "hold" music for Mayo Clinic: "You've Got a Friend in Me" by Randy Newman.

Most memorable Mayo moment: I have two. Receiving a visit in our department and a personal email from Dr. Richard Gray during our busy COVID times. I thought this was extra thoughtful during his busiest of times. Another was having a patient break down and cry after I simply walked them to the front exit and assisted them in retrieving their car from valet when they looked lost. To me, this was the simplest thing, but it really showed me how the little things really can make a difference.

When patients recall their visit to Mayo Clinic, I hope they remember:  The best customer service experience they have ever encountered.


Tags: Cathy Agostino, Employee Stories, In a Word

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