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New award honors contributions of administrative staff

Apr. 28, 2016, 10:49 AM

C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., left, presents the VUMC Administrative Professional Award created in honor of the late Mary Etta Skeen to her husband, Allan, and daughter, Jenny. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) this week unveiled a new award to recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions that administrative professionals make toward furthering VUMC’s missions.

Mary Etta Skeen

The VUMC Administrative Professional Award was created in honor of the late Mary Etta Skeen, who served as a highly respected assistant to Vanderbilt University and Medical Center leaders during a career that spanned more than three decades with the institution.

The new award was announced Wednesday at a workshop and celebration for Administrative Professionals Day. More than two hundred of VUMC’s administrative professionals attended the event, which included a three-hour workshop by inspirational speaker and author Peggy Vasquez.

Also on hand to receive the inaugural award were Skeen’s husband, Allan, and daughter, Jenny, both of Murfreesboro.

C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System, presented the family with a framed architectural print of the Chapman Quad entrance.

Before retiring in November 2013, Skeen spent the last several years of her career working with Pinson.

“I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have known and worked with Mary Etta. She was the consummate professional, contributing in numerous ways to Vanderbilt’s missions each and every day,” Pinson said.

“It is truly fitting than an award in Mary Etta’s honor has been created as an aspirational goal for the people in our organization whose sustained commitment and important contributions are integral to our success.”

Allan Skeen said his wife would have been proud to have the award named in her honor.

“Mary Etta knew who gave their best and who didn’t, and it was special to her when she found other people that gave all they had, just like she did. These people here today, I really want them to understand how important their jobs are.

“We all need encouragement, and this was certainly a day of encouragement for them. If I could describe Mary Etta in one word, it would be encourager. I’m so thrilled that there’s an award in Mary Etta’s honor that will be an encouragement to others in the future,” he said.

Pinson paid special homage to all VUMC administrative professionals, remarking that they are “the glue of the organization.”

“There is no question that what you do, all day and every day, makes the difference in the lives of our patients,” he said. “I am well aware that its not just the doctors, its not just the nurses. All of us have an impact on what it is like for our patients. Whatever your role in the organization, I want to make it clear that we appreciate you. You are some of VUMC’s superheroes,” Pinson said.

The newly created VUMC Administrative Professionals Award annually recognizes and rewards significant individual staff achievement in relationship to VUMC’s pursuit of excellence in education, health care, research and community service.

Those who will be considered to receive the annual award must exhibit:

• Integrity in all matters
• The competence to go above and beyond
• The ability to maintain confidentiality
• An ability to anticipate faculty member’s needs/questions and proactively create resolution without being asked
• The ability to make work fun and make others laugh
• Demonstrate concern and compassion for coworkers – going out of one’s way to ease someone else’s personal burden
• The willingness to elevate others ahead of oneself.

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