News / Periop Café

40 Fast and Future Leaders of Surgical Services – M. Tracey Peñaloza

January 14, 2020


40 Fast and Future Leaders of Surgical Services – M. Tracey Peñaloza

I know its time to go home when This is a tough one. In this industry and in this role it is easy to keep chomping away at the endless buffet of projects, emails, initiatives, etc. Without some way of organizing, tracking and prioritizing tasks it is easy to lose sight of progress. Every day I identify a couple of tasks of which I will be mindful. I may not complete them all, however, I know that I have put in a solid day’s work when I can look back at my to-do list and have ticked off at least one of those goals for the day.

Sometimes it’s not what you know, its Sometimes it is the friends you make along the way. There is no way to know everything or be the best at everything. Each of us has our innate interests, talents, and strengths. I am on the lookout for people who have diverse viewpoints and skills that complement areas where I might not be as strong. It is through those relationships that I am able to help them out and (when the time comes) they enrich my experience by sharing their strength.

One little thing I pay attention to is Making sure everyone has had the opportunity to be heard. Too often in meetings or group situations, the loudest and most extroverted personalities dominate the conversation. Sometimes it can take a thoughtful pause or acknowledgment to pull a quiet innovator into the mix.

Best advice I ever received Leadership is a marathon and not a race. Patience, visualizing the goal, and having the discipline to keep moving will accomplish so much more over time than burning yourself out for short term gains.

My mentors are Amazing people who have contributed in unique ways to my experience and development. They have come and gone through various stages in my life, each of them imparting valuable life lessons. They have taught me to see situations and people from different perspectives. Taught me about patience and persistence. They have tested my resilience in stressful situations while others have given me tools and structure to bring order to chaos. Most of all, these mentors took the time and energy to invest in me (and continue to!). I can only strive to follow their example and help others grow in their leadership potential.

I am here for  The patients. I believe that good leaders, take care of and develop their teams who then, in turn, are empowered to take exceptional care of our patients.

The future of surgical services is Developing future leaders and finding innovative ways to bring in new nurses who are inspired to make transformative change in the perioperative services.

The dumbest thing I ever did Think that I was somehow enlightened as a new manager. I disregarded the wisdom of those who had been in the field for decades as “stuck in tradition” and needing to be updated on the latest evidence-based methods.

The smartest thing I ever did  Show humility as a new manager and grow to appreciate the institutional wisdom and the history that shapes the politics and the culture of a place. I learned to empower and elevate those who were willing to share their hard-earned wisdom and experience while combining and supporting practice with sound evidence-based methods.

If I hadn’t been a Director of Surgical Services, I would have become a Bio-informaticist or analyst. I enjoy the synthesis of data and telling the story with empirical evidence. However, it seems I have been bitten by the leadership bug and now it is time to use this passion for synthesis to help others tell their story too.

It is Whitman Partners’ honor and mission to support and advance the surgical services industry by facilitating the dissemination of new ideas in leadership, technology, and best practices. Identifying and sharing the achievements, inspirational stories, and insight of emerging leaders is key to driving effectiveness, efficiency, and patient satisfaction for OR departments of all sizes and scope.

If you are aware of a person, event, or industry topic that you’d like Whitman Partners to research and report on please email