In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

September 12, 2022

Kelly Williams on importance of teamwork, Beatles tunes, more

By In the Loop
Kelly J. Williams

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.

Before Kelly J. Williams joined Mayo Clinic, was working two jobs, serving barbecue and working as a part-time receptionist at a hair salon while taking college classes and trying to figure out what she wanted to do next.

As a resident of Rochester, she'd often heard that if she could get her foot in the door at Mayo Clinic, she would find opportunities to grow. Fourteen years later, that has proven to be true, she says.

Williams, an administrative assistant for Employee Well-Being, says her favorite part of working at Mayo is the people she gets to meet.

"The people of Mayo Clinic are truly what make this organization great," she says. "I especially value this more lately, as I've been a remote worker for just over a year. I find the connections that we create in the hallways, giving a quick wave, stopping by a colleague's desk to see how their weekend was — these moments help to build a foundational relationship that strengthens us as employees and also the team dynamic."

Working remotely, Williams now values the connections even more.

"I find I have to be much more intentional about creating these connections to ensure that sense of belonging and camaraderie are achieved," she says.

One of my favorite things about Mayo Clinic: The team-based culture of work. I remember preparing for my first behavioral interview. I was absolutely petrified, and a mentor told me, "Mayo is all about working as a team, so be sure to speak to how you work well with others.' That stuck with me. I've had experience working in different areas and shields and with many people, always as a team. We succeed together. We repair together. We make things better together.

The single most important thing I did at work yesterday (or expect to do tomorrow): Prepared for an on-site Joy at Mayo presentation that I will be doing with my colleague, Danielle Teal. We love presenting to different groups at Mayo Clinic to help share how joy can be cultivated and sustained at Mayo Clinic.

A book I would recommend, or one I want to read (and why): One I want to read is Taylor Jenkins Reid's new novel, "Carrie Soto Is Back." The author has me hooked from her previous novels "Daisy Jones & The Six," "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo," and "Malibu Rising." Each one feels like I'm reading a movie. And, these days, being a busy mom with a lot going on, reading can be my escape to help me disconnect, relax and get two to three pages of reading in before my kids need me again.

Mayo Clinic has taught me: Connections matter, and how you treat people matters. Whether as a patient, employee or parent of a patient, each experience has allowed me to interact with some amazing people who are very passionate and dedicated to the work we do at Mayo Clinic. Through my experience in different roles and perspectives, Mayo Clinic feels like family. I'm not just saying that because I have many family members who also work here.

We have a foundational connection to each other — unseen but most definitely felt. Meetings, doctor appointments or simply walking through campus, the connection to each other and our values is real. It reminds me of that quote by Maya Angelou: "People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."

Most treasured or best advice from a colleague at Mayo: You don't need a leadership title to lead.

Most memorable Mayo moment: Honestly, it's a collective of every fitness class I led during my time as a group fitness lead at the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center. The fun, the grit, the sweat and the euphoric collective effervescence in that space at that time created moments I'll never forget. I'm so thankful I was able to experience that level of connection and energy with Mayo colleagues who definitely work and play hard.

If I could choose the "on hold" music for Mayo Clinic: I grew up listening to the Beatles and watching my dad sing along and play the drums on his steering wheel. So naturally, I'm a Beatles fan (and a much better driver than my father). Hearing their music always brings back good memories for me.

Favorite space on campus this month: Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center Cafe's outdoor patio space (weather-permitting). Access to Wi-Fi, the Mayo network, outlets, sunshine and food. Shoot. Now everyone is going to go there.

People who inspire me: My Grandma Casey has always been someone I adore and admire. She passed away in 2016 when I was pregnant with my first child. I have many memories of her grace, her charm, her "joie de vivre," and most importantly, her humor. She married my grandfather who was an Irish immigrant, had five kids, worked as a nurse, and raised a loving, tight-knit family. I think of her and talk to her often, hoping lessons I learned from her and pieces of her that are in me continue to surface, as she lived a full life of love, fun, faith and family.

The most fun I've had at work this year: I really enjoyed meeting with Ingrid Fetell Lee and helping to coordinate her talk for Mayo as a part of the Joy Speaker Series. She has such a fascinating take on joy and how it is all around us. We just have to be mindful enough to look for it and appreciate it.

Team Dr. Charlie or Team Dr. Will? Or Team Mother Alfred or Team Dr. W.W. Why? Dr. Charlie was known to be more approachable, so I find I relate to him a little more, as I enjoy creating space to connect with others. Also, Dr. Charlie once said, "Today, the only thing that is permanent is change." I try to keep this mindset as I move through my day, as I raise my kids, as I experience challenging and rewarding phases of life. Everything is temporary.

When patients recall their visit to Mayo Clinic, I hope they remember: I hope they remember feeling a sense of belonging, and that they're being cared for and have many dedicated people in their corner to help meet their needs and provide the best care.


Tags: In a Word, Staff Stories

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