University HealthCare Alliance

April 08, 2019

Gina Patolo | BVMG/Danville

Gina Patolo was nominated for a second time during her time working at Bay Valley Medical Group, Danville! Her colleague, Desirae Lenon, nominated her for her abounding empathy and compassion — both for their patients and her colleagues.

Desirae shared how Gina takes the time to personally help and motivate her colleagues – no matter what they are going through. Her manager, Julie, shared that Gina acts as an “inner cheerleader” and helps to motivate and inspire her whole team. 

In her work as a wellness ambassador, Gina has created many of the creative efforts you see shared on the wellness website. Whether she’s making a random act of kindness chain, coordinating an office plant exchange, organize a fundraiser for a local animal shelter or creating a beautiful wellness board, Gina takes the extra step to help her team and promote well-being! 

Gina, her husband and her dog are relocating to her home state of Michigan.  We will miss her creative spirit and compassionate support of workplace well-being!  But we’re excited to her and her family as they build their new home.

Read on to learn what inspires and motivates Gina and please join me in wishing her well with her new endeavors!

Q. Your nomination shares that you give 100% both to patients and to colleagues. What motivates you to help your colleagues be well at work?

A. I truly enjoy contributing all that I can in order to make this place an ideal working environment for everyone to spend their valuable time.

I look at every interaction with a patient (or colleague) as an opportunity.

When you can recognize the importance of someone else’s perspective, then you can truly appreciate (and enthusiastically accept) the great responsibility that you personally possess as a contributor within the field of healthcare.

It is very important for me to be mindful of the potential outcomes that my every encounter might have on every person’s perspective, no matter their outward attitude at the time. It is very important for me to “listen to understand, not listen to simply respond.”

I often ask myself what it might be like to “walk in their shoes”:

What would it feel like- to be a patient that is physically ill or mentally distraught and coming to us, for help?

What could it feel like- to be a float staff stepping in to do their best, in an unfamiliar office?

What might it feel like- to be a doctor dealing with the immense responsibility, of someone’s life being in their hands?

Afterwards, I look into my heart to ask myself what can I do to take the extra step for this person.

I recognize I can’t begin to truly understand what everyone feels at any given time, but what I can do is offer support and genuine kindness to try to make it a positive experience.

I never allow my pride to get in the way of asking for help when I am in need or uncertain, and I strive to make time to give a patient or colleague the attention that they deserve. It is always nice to find personalized ways to encourage and uplift someone else.

Kindness, sincerity, and compassion make the world a better place, as well as filling your own heart with joy.

Q. Your ability to motivate and cheer others on was another highlight of your nomination. How do you motivate others (programs, events, 1:1 support)?

A. It can be intimidating to present a new wellness idea to colleagues, to put forth a new challenge, or to ask for participation – within a field so complex as healthcare. Sometimes it feels as if I have endless internal doubts to be put to rest. My advice is to strive to inspire and motivate anyway, despite your doubts. (Worst case scenario: if you try and you fail, it’s better than not trying at all.) The benefits of being successful and touching the lives of others, completely outweigh the risks of trying something new and no one seems interested. Try not to harbor uncertainty regarding unleashing your own potential and find the courage to “be the change you want to see in the world.” Look at what the people around you may be needing, ask for input, and tailor ideas towards that.

Q. What brings you joy outside of work?

A. Making memories! Trying new places to eat, exploring new places to hike, making plans with friends, and discovering new local entertainment! I love to get out and appreciate the nice weather, to enjoy the views, and taking time to reflect and appreciate the good. I love to volunteer with rescue animals too! (Coming from someone moving to Michigan: enjoy California life!)

Q. You’ve been a Wellness Ambassador since the program started and are now moving to Michigan. What are you most looking forward to with your relocation?

A.  There is no soft way to put it, I am absolutely devastated to say goodbye to my colleagues after creating over a decade of friendships and memories. I would not be the person I am today without all the support and encouragement from my colleagues. As sad as it is to move so far away, I know I will do my best to stay in touch and remain optimistic that there is indeed a great future ahead.
I was born and raised in Michigan and moved out to California before my Senior year of high school. I have no relatives here in California, so being around my family again will be wonderful. I am looking forward to a lower cost of living, lower taxes, less traffic, and a more affordable way of life. Michigan territory comes with rough weather, however the comradery of the community shines bright. Neighbors often help each other because we find ourselves in need due to the elements of the environment.

This is a really big move for myself, my husband, and our dog- but I am filled with faith and hope that everything will work out and we can live a great life out there in the “mitten.”

Gina’s dog, Dalton

BVMG @ Heart Walk (Gina, 2nd from left)

Hiking Lake Chabot (Far right, Gina with her husband & dog)

Gina & her supervisor, Julie

Gina @ the Diva Race in SF

A huge thank you and warm send off to you, Gina!  We know you’ll do great things with whatever’s next for you.