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12.01.2015

DIRECCT TALK: Inspired by Sight-Restoring Surgery, Patient Access Director Becomes Culture Coach

A decade ago, Natacha Caballero, Director of Patient Access at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, came to the University of Miami as a temporary employee looking for an opportunity. Today, in addition to her duties at Sylvester, she also volunteers as a culture coach through the Building a Better U Together initiative. As a culture coach, Caballero has been trained to co-facilitate trainings with a Disney consultant, and teach faculty and staff about our common purpose, values, leadership traits and service standards. In this issue of DIRECCT Talk, Caballero shares what makes her tick.

Share a moment in your career when you realized the reach and impact of the University.

Years ago, while working at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, I was able to witness a breakthrough discovery by Dr. Victor Perez, a cornea specialist. He used a blind woman’s tooth to restore her vision. After failed cornea transplant surgeries, Dr. Perez and other UM physicians successfully restored her vision after nine years. How incredible was this! I knew then I was working for an organization that was transforming lives even before the new common purpose was rolled out.

Share a moment when you felt most proud of working for UM.

I was part of The Essentials of Leadership pilot program last year and was able to see how much dedication the U put forth to developing its leaders. I felt proud of working for UM because in the 10 years I have been here, I have seen many changes come and go, and I have been a firm believer that one day we would get to this place and have programs like these to provide our leaders with the tools they need to do their jobs successfully. Earlier this year, I graduated from the program and even President Shalala attended the ceremony. That was a BIG deal! I was in awe of how much time and effort went into coordinating this event. I proudly posted my pictures on social media, and I was filled with pride to be a part of such an incredible organization. I decided at that moment I wanted to be an advocate for this change by becoming a culture coach. As a coach, I am able to not only promote new changes coming to the University, but also to be a driving force living the change and encouraging other members of the U to embrace it with optimism and positivity.

Share a story of a patient, student, colleague, or leader who has positively impacted your life.

There is only one person who comes to mind when I think about this question. I have worked with her for eight years after she recruited me to Patient Access. Kassandra Lage, my current executive director, has consistently demonstrated a positive attitude and acted as a role model throughout all these years. She not only exhibits enthusiasm in this field, she values ongoing learning and growth. Her approachability and ability to listen have been key in my development as I feel I can always count on her no matter how difficult the situation may be. In addition, she shares her knowledge and motivates me to teach and guide others as well.

Tell us why you chose UM, and why you choose to continue your career here.

The U has seen me grow professionally and mature as a leader. I started working here 10 years ago as a temporary employee and I am incredibly proud and honored to work in a place where growth is valued and possible. I choose to continue working here because I want to be part of the successes of our organization and continue to push it towards future growth and culture transformation.

DIRECCT Talk focuses on the ways faculty and staff exemplify the DIRECCT values — diversity, integrity, respect, excellence, compassion, creativity and teamwork — that drive UM’s culture.

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