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The Journal Gazette

  • Lambert

Saturday, May 21, 2016 10:01 pm

Health center leader earns state honor

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 Leading ;Age Indiana Spring Conference and Trade Show this month.

Seven others were nominated, said Susan Darwent, vice president of operations for LeadingAge Indiana. The Indianapolis 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. Meghan Faherty, Byron Health Center’s compliance officer, was among those who provided comments for Lambert’s nomination.

"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.

Diverse, talented

Those who lead. Those who will lead.

The 42nd Annual Finer Womanhood/Scholarship Program last Sunday at Hotel Fort Wayne was a celebration of leadership.

The Eta Upsilon Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. hosted the program and awarded $3,000 in scholarships.

The high school scholarship recipients – "those who will lead" – are already active in various organizations and churches, including some leadership roles.

The sorority also honored six leaders age 40 and younger: an entrepreneur specializing in natural hair care (Juanita Henderson); an artist (Theoplis Smith, who also works for a local bank); an educator (Principal Tameka M. Wilson); two local ministers (spouses Bryson and Monique Sharp); and one from the medical field (pharmacy manager Anthony Scott).

It was another reminder about the depth and diversity of leadership within Fort Wayne, including from those born and raised here and from many who relocate here.

Various organizations recognize the local talent pool regularly with annual or other occasional presentations.

 Wilson, the principal at Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy, said being a young educator – she’s 30 – is difficult and sometimes overwhelming. Still, she enjoys the job.

"When I go to bed at night," she wrote for her bio in the program book, "I don’t think about how tired I am, I think about how I touched someone’s life."

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at