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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 11:33 am

CEO who coaches leaders wins statewide award

Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

There's a saying that "leaders are readers," and at Byron Health Center, it's reality.

Deb Lambert, the CEO, has a lot to do with that. As part of staff development, she has a leadership class of about 30 employees - including some Lambert calls "future leaders" - who read books about management and are challenged to apply the lessons learned.

Leadership discussions at Byron Health Center also include evaluating what's urgent and what's important. Employees on the leadership team talk about what tasks are filling their calendar and how much those tasks reflect the priorities for Byron Health Center, a long-term care provider for adults with complex needs.

Lambert's strategy is to teach and empower her team. She likes it when decisions can be made at the level where the decisions will have the most impact.

"I really expect our leadership team to run their departments as a macrobusiness to the overall business," Lambert said in a telephone interview last week.

Many colleagues and peers like her style. Lambert won a statewide award for Outstanding Leadership Management at the LeadingAge Indiana Spring Conference and Trade Show earlier this month.

Seven others were nominated for the award, Susan Darwent, vice president of operations for LeadingAge Indiana, said. The Indianapolis-based organization represents about 200 facilities with at least 3,000 employees.

The award Lambert received is based on criteria including a commitment to team approach, a caring commitment to staff development, and exemplifying the organization's mission. It represents "excellent leadership to enhance the workplace and quality of life for residents," Darwent said.

Byron Health Center employs about 140. Some employees, board members and others provided comments for Lambert's nomination. Meghan Faherty, Byron Health Center's compliance officer, was one.

“I have never experienced a leader that takes such a personal interest in not only the professional growth of her staff, but their personal growth as well,” Faherty wrote. “Deb has that special ability to inspire and challenge everyone in our community to do better, and be better every day, without losing sight of our mission and vision.”

Lambert said the award was a surprise and honor.

"It’s your peers, so I think anytime your peers acknowledge the work you do it’s a very humbling experience," she said.