Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences team reflects on episodes that held special meaning for them

In this episode of Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences — the 50th episode — you'll hear from the podcast production team as they reflect on and discuss episodes that had special meaning for each of them.

Mayo Clinic is a unique place: the culture, the values, the people. "Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences" explores the experiences of Mayo Clinic staff as they navigate life personally and professionally. Sharing these experiences increases understanding of others and ultimately contributes to finding connections, belonging and inclusion at work.     

In this episode of Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences — the 50th episode — you'll hear from colleagues in Human Resources who teamed up with Media Support Services to produce the podcast. Sarah Shtylla, Dani Budahn, Tom Jorgenson, Chelsea Bladen Babin and Rick Andresen discuss which of the episodes produced so far held special meaning for them.

Listen as they share their thoughts:  

Read the transcript

Shtylla: In this episode, you will hear from the Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences podcast team as they look back and discuss episodes that impacted them personally.

Bladen Babin: This is our 50th episode. When we started planning, we couldn't stop talking about the impact these stories had on us personally — the things we learned, the wow moments, so many tears, both happy and sad. One episode after the other, until we realized this is exactly what this episode should be. Truth is, we didn’t pick a favorite. They’re all too good to do that. But we did choose episodes that had a great impact on us personally, demonstrated Mayo Clinic values, and the intent behind why this podcast was launched.

Tom, can you get us started with one of the episodes that left a lasting impression on you?

Jorgenson: While it’s impossible to choose just one, I personally love learning about different cultures. The episode with Axel (Gumbel) and Gaurav (Jain) sharing their stories on being first-generation immigrants to the U.S. and their experiences at Mayo Clinic really stood out to me. From their upbringing to experiencing culture shock, this episode was both educational and entertaining to listen to.

Axel Gumbel: Would you go as far as to say you experienced culture shock?

Gaurav Jain: It was a shock to the nth degree. You greet somebody — you call them by their first name. Here when I was making new friends, I made the mistake of calling somebody "uncle," and they said, "He's not your uncle." So, that's a shock in itself.

Axel Gumbel: I love your reference to the first-name basis that you know Americans are on all the time. I remember going to an American bank to open my very first account. I was invited to this person's office. I introduced myself and said, "I'm Mr. Gumbel." And then he said, "You can call me Bob." And I said, "Bob who?" And he said, "Just call me Bob. That's how it works here."

I have found that it's a lot easier here in America to connect with somebody just by being able to call them by a first name.

Gaurav Jain: It’s very interesting, from kind of the perspective you share, because being in India, you generally didn't look your elders in the eye. You call them "uncle" or "aunt" or some sort of a reference that was a sign of respect. So early on, to call somebody who's senior to me by their first name, it was a very difficult thing.

Jorgenson: If you’re listening right now and need a feel-good story, listen to this episode today.

Bladen BabinThank you, Tom. Dani, can you share the episode you chose with us?

Budahn: As I reflect on past episodes, one that impacted me and had me teary-eyed was Evy (Engrav) and Danielle (Teal) talking about experiencing homelessness at a young age and their perseverance through it all.

Evy Engrav: When I was a senior, my mother said she was going to move to Long Beach and take my other sisters. And that there was no place for me. I had actually called Social Work to see if I could go into foster care, and they said, "17, you're too old." People talk about teenagers and how hard it is, but to be homeless as a teenager is terrible.

Danielle Teal: I moved 26 times by the time I was 26, so I never had roots anywhere. I had to learn to function in high levels of stress all the time to survive.

Budahn: These are two strong women — mentally, emotionally, physically, socially, all of it — who, from when they were young, had to learn how to survive. They had to navigate their life, finding shelter, finding food, and making really tough decisions to create the life they strived to have.

Both shared how relatives, friends and mere acquaintances helped them through it all. And while things were tough for them, their kindness and appreciation for others continue to this day.

Danielle Teal: Kindness is my religion. It's my core value. It's where I go when I need to reflect on what I need to do and how I need to move forward.

Budahn: And Evy with a master's degree and having worked for top companies, now employed at Mayo Clinic says:

Evy Engrav: I get to work by choice because I want to, which is so liberating and freeing.

Budahn: Wow. Their perseverance, their courage is remarkable. It's inspiring for us all to be better and to lead with kindness.

Bladen Babin: That episode gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing. Rick, which episode are you sharing with the listeners today?  

Andresen: My favorite episode is "English as a second language" with Shanthi (Siva) and Miguel (Soto). The reason I like this episode so much is I was born and raised in Germany and lived there until I was 11 years old. And because of that, German became a part of my everyday life. Television was in German. I played on a German soccer team with kids who spoke no English and went to a completely different school. So, I learned German and English at the same time.

When we moved back to the U.S., I moved to a small town in Illinois, and very few kids in my school were bilingual or had even been out of the country. I was different than the other kids. But I was lucky that I grew up speaking English. My wife speaks Italian and a little French. Between the two of us, almost wherever we go in the world when we travel, we can communicate to some degree.

Shanthi Siva: It’s never too late to learn another language. It just keeps you sharp. It creates a whole new world for you.

Andresen: I think it’s great to learn a second language because it really helps you to communicate with people who are completely different than you, come from a different culture, a different background, and allows you to communicate with people and make the world seem smaller.

Miguel Soto: There are so many words in other languages that can express a feeling or a moment that sometimes you don't find in English.

Andresen: This podcast really shows the diversity in Mayo Clinic’s staff, who exemplify its great culture.

Bladen Babin: Thank you, Rick. For me, it was "Finding connections in unexpected places."

This episode shared the perspectives of two women — Evette, who had lived experience as an African American woman in the U.S., and Tara, who had lived experience as a white woman in the U.S. You hear that Evette was having a challenging time following the death of George Floyd, but she kept showing up. We often don't realize something is wrong because, well, they showed up. They completed their responsibilities. They're not crying at their desks for us to see. Maybe we notice something is off, but should we really ask? It's really none of our business. I don't know them that well. Surely someone else has asked. I don't want to make them uncomfortable by bringing it up.

But Tara did. She emailed Evette from states away to ask if she was OK, and learned she wasn't. The bond that formed and grew allowed space for just that, and Tara learned about a lived experience other than her own.

Tara Miller: That's why you and I coming together as a strong African American woman and a strong white woman. Coming together is powerful and unique. You can fight as much as you want to, but you can't fight alone. And so, together, we'll rise.

Bladen Babin: This episode points to the power of understanding the lived experiences of the people in our lives, whether those connections are personal or professional. It speaks to the power of reaching out, coming together, of having difficult conversations, and sometimes making space for uncomfortable honesty.

This story reminded me that we need to show up for people of color as well as those in any marginalized community, for the co-worker, the neighbor, the person you pass on the street, the regular at the coffee shop, because we might just be the only one who does.

Tara Miller: Let's start to walk with each other instead of walking past each other.

Bladen Babin: This message goes to the core of what the Employee Experiences podcast seeks to do — encourage belonging. It also displays Respect and Compassion from Mayo Clinic's RICH TIES Values.

Evette Eubanks: I see you. Those three words can very literally save someone's life.

Bladen Babin: In the words of Evette and Tara, I see you.

Sarah, which episode left a lasting impact on you?  

Shtylla: One of the episodes that really stuck with me was "On being neurodiverse and finding your potential." In the episode, Georjina (Dowdell) and Francie (Dahlin) share their experiences finding their dream jobs at Mayo Clinic. Not only are Georjina and Francie overwhelmingly kind, but they also introduced me to some of the challenges faced by our neurodiverse friends, family and colleagues.

I found Francie’s articulation of how autism impacts her personal and professional life to be a gentle reminder that to create a sense of belonging, we must allow our colleagues to be themselves.

Francie Dahlin: It's just such a struggle when you can't read body language and you can't read faces very accurately. You don't know how to respond to social cues. I got really good at faking it, but I learned that I can only fake it so long. At some point, I just have to be myself and hope I have the right people around me.

Shtylla: Georjina eloquently reminds us that our paths are unique but equally deserving of compassion and respect.

Georjina Dowdell: There are many different pathways. There are many different snowflakes, different people who have different struggles. There are people who don't have disabilities, and people who do have disabilities.

Shtylla: I love their passion for their work, their admiration for each other, and that this episode itself is a demonstration of advocating for our colleagues with disabilities.

Francie Dahlin: They always say that a first impression is in six seconds, and after that, they've made up their mind, even if it's unconscious. I guess all I'd say is try to move beyond the six seconds.

Shtylla: While it took me less than six seconds to feel like I had made two new friends in Georjina and Francie, this episode reminds me that taking the time to get to know colleagues can be enlightening and joyful.

Bladen Babin: Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah was part of the original team who launched this podcast. This 50th episode is the final episode with Sarah as she transitions to a new role on the Program in Professionalism and Values team.

Sharing these experiences increases understanding of others and ultimately contributes to finding connections, belonging and inclusion at work. Reflect on which episode impacted you most and which episode taught you the most. Share your thoughts in the comments below or with a trusted colleague.

More information

Listen to all Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences Podcast episodes here.