Apply Here for Support and Growth
New Department of Medicine Staff Share Their Stories
Workers across the United States have faced multiple challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many workers have lost jobs, gotten sick, relocated, or left jobs to care for loved ones and relatives. For some workers, however, the pandemic presented opportunities to leave their jobs for something better. This was true for four recent hires in the Department of Medicine, profiled below, which include a former real estate administrator, a preschool teacher, a newly married mother juggling work and her personal life, and a government worker in San Mateo County.
When these four applied to new positions, they had their eyes set on jobs with career growth opportunities, supportive management, positive work environments, and more, and the Stanford Department of Medicine fit the bill.
Greater Engagement and Work-Life Balance
Lisa Moore-Long, an administrative coordinator in the Chair’s Office and a former administrator at several commercial real estate companies, came to Stanford in spring 2021, in pursuit of something new. Like many others, she had started to work remotely during the pandemic and felt that she needed to “shake things up.”
Before the pandemic, Moore-Long saw there wasn’t enough work-life balance at previous jobs. As she recalls, “It was that old-school feeling that, if you didn’t stay late and work weekends, you weren’t really working hard.” Working at Stanford was a welcome change. “You’re super-busy during the day here,” Moore-Long explains, “but there’s a conscious effort to say, when 5:00 p.m. comes, you’re not expected to answer emails and you’re not expected to work over the weekends.”
“They’re really training you for your future, and they’re hoping it is with Stanford."
– Lisa Moore-Long
As her previous office changed to a work-from-home model due to COVID, there was less engagement among co-workers. Moore-Long remarks, “There would be days where no one would talk to me at all. I mean, not even an email, nothing.” The lack of connection among the staff compelled her to look elsewhere, so she applied for her current role at Stanford.
Moore-Long recalls that when she came to Stanford, everyone was consistently engaged. Leadership would speak to her about her day, and there was an active interest in staff training. Professional development and wellness programs like the BeWell program are available to help staff improve their lives. “They go above and beyond because they’re not only interested in training you for whatever job you’re in right now,” says Moore-Long. “They’re really training you for your future, and they’re hoping it is with Stanford. They want you to progress, and they want to include everybody, and they’ll go to great lengths to do that. They want you to grow and learn and prosper, all those good things.”
She remembers that her supervisor pulled her aside once and asked where she wanted to be in five years. “I want to be here,” Moore-Long replied. “I’m happy in my department. I don’t know what all the possibilities are yet.”
“Here at Stanford, everyone wants to share credit for successes.”
– Tiffany Woo Sung
Skills Development and a Truly Collaborative Environment
Before coming to Stanford in March 2021, Tiffany Woo Sung, an administrative associate in the Division of Hospital Medicine, worked for six years as a preschool teacher in Mountain View. “I loved being around and working with children,” says Sung. “I loved the classroom environment.”
Eventually, however, Sung started feeling the need to apply her skills in a different field. “I have always believed that in order for me to be successful professionally, I need to continue to feel challenged in what I am doing,” she says. “I had gotten to the point where I felt like I wasn’t getting enough opportunities to build upon the existing skills that I had.”
Like others experiencing the pandemic, Sung started to reflect on what she wanted for her professional life and began seeking other opportunities. “I thought, OK, what better time than now to make a change?
“When I came to Stanford, it felt like starting with a blank slate,” Sung recalls. “I didn’t know what to expect other than what I read in the job description. It’s great that my team is full of wonderful individuals who are so patient, open, and willing to support me during my transition into the new role.”
Sung truly values the people she works with. After accepting her role at Stanford, she was greeted warmly by her manager and team. She became engrossed in her role, enjoying the chance to work alongside other professionals and collaborators. “I didn’t expect everyone to encourage collaboration so highly,” says Sung. “At a lot of places I’ve either worked at or heard of, if you’re successful, you want everyone to know it was your success so that you can stand out from the rest of the employees. But here at Stanford, everyone wants to share credit for successes.”
Elsie J. Wang, division manager of hospital medicine, offered Sung resources to encourage personal growth by pointing out the numerous classes that Stanford offers to its staff, furthering their education and providing them with leadership opportunities. Sung also appreciates the opportunity to network at Stanford. “All these benefits have been refreshing and encouraging,” Sung says. “It shows me that the people around me want to invest in my future.”
“I’m learning every day. My team feels more like a family than a group of co-workers.”
– Asmaa Ali
Interesting Work and Unflagging Support
Sometimes, individuals want to move on to the next stage of their career when they change jobs. At the beginning of her career, Asmaa Ali was a newly married mother, juggling both work and her personal life; she prioritized her family and stayed mostly in entry-level positions for 15 years. Although she benefited from the work-life balance, the repetitiveness grew to be too much for her. That was when she felt she needed to make a professional change and apply to Stanford.
Ali finds her current role, which she began in March 2021, as a project and program manager in primary care and population health, more interesting. “It’s fun because I feel like I’m doing something that I never did before. I’m learning every day. My team feels more like a family than a group of co-workers,” she says.
She also enjoys the support system that her role currently provides her. “I think that’s crucial for success,” Ali says, “and I have that not
only with my core team but also with faculty.” The key to that support, according to her, is feedback, which enables her to learn and improve in her position. Ali feels comfortable going to any of her three colleagues with questions, and she knows they’ll give her the help she needs to be successful. She claims with confidence, “With the right tools, I’m able to succeed.”
When Ali’s manager, Erica Dapelo-Garcia, primary care and population health (PCPH) division manager, took maternity leave, Ali received support from another division manager, and she was always able to reach someone for support. This made her adjustment into her current role much simpler. As Ali says, “The support I got made for smooth sailing.”
Limitless Potential for Impact and Career Advancement
Erica Zuniga-Lumidao, assistant division manager in PCPH with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business, originally worked as a human resources technician for San Mateo County.
But when she started to feel the limitations of her ability to have an impact in that environment, Zuniga-Lumidao looked for different job opportunities and applied at Stanford.
She recalls, “In some Zoom interviews, you could feel the energy and the atmosphere of the workplaces, even in a virtual environment. In some cases, I could see the people interviewing me not paying attention, and I could tell they weren’t engaged or excited.” During her interview with Stanford, however, Zuniga-Lumidao’s interviewers made a great impression that stayed with her as she interviewed for other jobs. She kept thinking back to her virtual Stanford interview.
“Here, I can progress with my career and I don’t feel any limits.”
– Erica Zuniga-Lumidao
Zuniga-Lumidao accepted a role at Stanford in July 2021 and transitioned quickly into her new job. She enjoys the challenges of her new position, saying, “Here, I can progress with my career and I don’t feel any limits.”
Recently, PCPH division manager Erica Dapelo-Garcia asked Zuniga-Lumidao about her goals, and she realized that she now has a whole new set of opportunities for career advancement. “That’s been really exciting,” she says. “I don’t necessarily know exactly what the next step in my career will be, but I know what’s available to me, and I think that’s important.”