By Hannah Pietsch
Memorial Hermann has 80 employees with more than 40 years of service, and 69 of these employees are women. As part of our celebration of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting a few of the women at Memorial Hermann with the longest tenure.
In 1971, Georgia Bertrand decided to apply for a job at Memorial Baptist Hospital after visiting a family member admitted there. She was hired to work in the daycare provided for employees, caring for children from 3 months to 12 years old.
“They were just like our children,” Bertrand said. “The mothers were able to go to work and not worry about their babies because they knew we loved them like our own. We took them on field trips to the zoo and the park. We had a lot of fun in the daycare.”
After the nursery closed in the 1980s, Bertrand became a unit secretary. Computers were not available yet, so she remembers every order was put on paper. She worked for several years at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital before transferring to what is now Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital. She now works as a lead office assistant.
“I was taught that when you started a job, you stayed there,” Bertrand said. “From the day I started working at Memorial Baptist, my desire was to stay there. And I’m thankful that I have always enjoyed my work. From the daycare to being a unit secretary to today, I love what I do.”
After 50 years at Memorial Hermann, Bertrand has one piece of advice for the women of Memorial Hermann: “No matter the field you are in, do your work with all of your heart and soul. You never know who is watching – they may see you and be inspired to do what you are doing or maybe more.”
Trish Callam also began her Memorial Hermann career at Memorial Baptist Hospital. She started as a phlebotomist on March 22, 1976. After completing medical technologist school, she began working in the lab at what is now Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, specializing in transfusion service medicine.
“Nearly every day, one of our infectious disease physicians would stop to say hello,” Callam said. “He would always ask me, ‘So what are you doing today?’ And I always answered, ‘I’m saving lives!’ I had always wanted to work in a lab, so I was really happy knowing that I was helping our patients.”
After the formation of Partners in Caring, a system-wide process that works to shape and embed the Memorial Hermann culture of excellence, Callam became a steering committee member. She had always been interested in workplace culture and the many components that go into creating a positive and supportive work environment. She was soon asked to begin working on the team.
“In 1999, when I was first asked to work in the Partners in Caring department, I was hesitant because it was so different from the work I had always done,” Callam said. “But then I realized that when you have an environment where people on the front lines feel cared for, they’ll be able to focus more on caring for our patients. No matter how far removed your role is from patient care, everyone at Memorial Hermann saves lives.”
In 2006, Callam became the Director of Partners in Caring and, under her leadership, more than 500 employees are dedicated to Partners in Caring. Throughout her 45 years at Memorial Hermann, Callam has seen opportunities for women increase. Now more than ever, she observed, women have numerous opportunities for growth.
“When I started, you mostly saw women in nursing roles,” Callam said. “Now, look at how many women hold leadership and executive roles in our organization. Women have a voice at the executive table, and I’m really proud of all of our female executives and leaders throughout the system.”