Passion and Purpose
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs
We all have to work. Forty hours, more or less, every week go into doing a certain job for our chosen occupation. Work shouldn’t be a dreaded “four letter word.” For these three people in our community, it’s obvious the four-letter word they chose to describe their job is love. From customer service to safely directing traffic to being a part of the special moments in other’s lives, these individuals bring passion and purpose to their occupations. And to the members of the public they encounter every day, that love of their job is on full display.
Guest Services Manager, TGMC
Take a moment to look around the next time you step inside the lobby of Terrebonne General Medical Center. From the volunteer at the welcome desk, to the coffee shop ready to serve you, all that greets you is under the direction of Guest Services Manager Josh Faucheaux.
“When people think of a hospital, they usually think of the clinical aspects,” says Josh. “They don’t realize there is a whole other world of customer service here at the hospital. That’s why I love what I do. It’s something you wouldn’t necessarily associate with a hospital.”
Part of the staff at TGMC for 14 years, Josh currently fills a role that has been custom built around his talents and ability to serve others. He oversees the total visitor and patient experience at TGMC. Some of the programs that fall under Josh’s supervision include the gift shop and PJ’s Coffee. Josh oversees the Volunteer Auxiliary department, which includes all volunteers who earn hours at TGMC. Josh is also a part of Team Terrebonne and volunteers his own time in our community.
As the CEO and president of TGMC Phyllis Peoples’ patient liaison go-to, Josh is responsible for making a patient and their family members stay easier and more comfortable, in every circumstance.
“I like actually making someone have a positive outcome to something that might be a negative situation,” explains Josh. “Even when coming visit a patient, that experience can still be pleasant by making sure visitors can walk out of the room and take a break and have somewhere to go. I remind that workers in the gift shop, you don’t know where that customer that walks in has been or what they have experienced that day. You are there not just to work the shop, but to provide a moment of happiness in someone’s day.”
A few of the more recent projects Josh tackled for the hospital include a renovation of Terrebonne House, an onsite hotel for family members of TGMC patients, and the implementation of a Veterans Recognition program. Appropriately named Red, White and Blue, admissions personnel ask patients during the registration process if they are veterans and if they would like to be recognized during their time at TGMC. If so, a designation is made in their charts and their door is adorned with a small American flag and plaque to recognize their service. Everyone that walks into their room is aware of the patient’s service and can thank them. If the patient passes away, the family receives a full sized flag in memory of their loved one.
Josh also serves on numerous committees including Rewards and Recognition, the Communications team, and the Leadership Development Institute, as well the committee that founded Well & Wise.
“I love that when I come in, I have no idea what that day is going to hold for me, who I will meet or what problem I will need to solve. I like the unexpected and getting things done,” says Josh about why he looks forward to coming into work each day. “I meet so many people being in the halls of the hospital and I get to interact with everyone. It’s like being the cruise director of the hospital. Whatever comes up, I handle.”
Crossing Guard, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office
With arms waving, hands pointing and his whistle ever at the ready, Jessie Anderson with the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office directs traffic outside two of the busiest schools in Houma. No matter the heat, rain or approaching January ice storm, Jessie shows up each day, first at Houma Junior High then Vandebilt Catholic High to help get parents and students to school safely. He then repeats his duties each afternoon, again ensuring all the rules of the road are properly followed. Disobeying one of the traffic rules swiftly earns you a shrill tweet of the whistle and a stern motion of the arms and hands setting you on the righteous path.
“My idea is not to stop any body,” explains Jessie of his traffic tactics. “My idea is to just let the traffic flow. The cars, they just flow with me. I don’t want to stop you, just keep the flow, without skipping a beat.”
Jessie came to the job with experience. No stranger to crowds and traffic, Jessie started off in New Orleans with the Sheriff’s Office, even working Mardi Gras on Canal Street. He worked as a Corrections Officer too. When he returned to Houma and saw this position was open, he quickly applied.
“I started off at Terrebonne High School and Houma Junior High,” recalls Jessie. “When they saw me doing good doing that, they sent me around the corner to Vandebilt too.”
Jessie enjoys the freedom his job brings. He loves not having to be inside all day, at a desk, just head down working. He enjoys visiting with the passers-by. They often share with him praise and miss him when he’s out.
“I love my job,” exclaims Jessie. “I keep a smile. I’m never angry–I just keep it flowing.”
Pelican Posts by Sign Gypsies
You wake up in the morning, stretch your arms and smile because it’s your birthday. You get up and walk to kitchen and perchance, glance out the window towards the front yard. Wait… what’s that you see? Why, it’s a little bit of magic sprinkled across your lawn, letters that appeared in the night, spelling out a wonderful birthday message. It’s the work of a Sign Gypsy, Kelly Phillips.
“I feel very blessed that we get to do this, helping spread joy and bring smiles to people’s faces,” explains Kelly. “People get really excited to see the greetings in their yard! It helps individuals realize how loved they are as well. It means so much to the recipient when they wake up or come home and find this enormous display in their yard that is custom just for them.”
Kelly launched Pelican Posts by Sign Gypsies in 2016 after a friend from Houston called to tell her about the new craze that was taking over the big city. The concept is to surprise a recipient with a greeting of any sort, spelling the message out letter by letter in their front yard along with colorfully themed graphics. The team goes in under the cloak of darkness to create a custom surprise to greet the recipient when they wake. Kelly did a little bit of research and immediately fell in love with the idea. While still affiliated with a larger company, Kelly owns her own branch. In about 18 months, she has delivered well over 1000 greetings in the Houma area.
“When I started, I was affiliate number 32 for the company,” shares Kelly. “The group is now all over the U.S. and Guam with over 250 locations. But I own my own business and I get to decide what works best for our community and customize it to fit our customer base.”
Pulling off the life-sized surprises is not always a simple task. Kelly’s mother and two preteen daughters are part of the team that battles the darkness to deliver light and love.
“My mom is a huge supporter and so are my daughters,” says Kelly. “One of the things that sold me on bringing this to Houma was that it could truly be a family business. I get to teach my daughters the ins and outs of running a small business. They learn everything from customer service to organization and honestly the importance of working hard when it comes to setting up the signs.”
The family encounters their fair share of challenges while spreading joy. Their biggest foe is the weather, especially the wind. In the summer, the mosquitoes can make the job a bit miserable. But Kelly and her team carry on!
While birthday greetings are by far the most popular, every now and again a special request will come across. Kelly’s most favorite was a customer asking her to assist in his marriage proposal.
“The one that makes my heart smile is the marriage proposal,” Kelly grins. “I feel like I spent forever in the front yard, making sure every star and letter was just absolutely perfect. I felt so honored that this gentleman asked us to help him propose to his fiancé.”
Loving the idea so much, Kelly even went a step further. Instead of just taking the sign down the next day, she promptly replaced the question “Will You Marry Me?” with the statement “She Said Yes!”
The best of the job for Kelly is the ability to give back to her community. Through the signs, she is able to support local fundraisers and events in our community. She did a fundraiser for Mary Bird Perkins TGMC Cancer Center that involved “Boo”-ing your neighbors and setup inspirational signs along the route for the Girls on the Run Reindeer Run.
“I really love being able to give back,” shared Kelly. “It’s not something I was able to do before just as an individual. It’s so special and it’s a big deal to me. I couldn’t do things like that before Sign Gypsies. But now I feel like I can give back!”