For the past seven years, with a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been a “Kid’s Crew” volunteer at Primary Children’s Hospital. This role is more than just a volunteer position—it’s a commitment to filling gaps, addressing the non-medical needs of child patients, and making their healing journey a bit brighter. This endeavor entails a variety of responsibilities, ranging from practical tasks such as cleaning to more creative pursuits like planning activities and crafts.
In the midst of my service, I’ve found myself surrounded by younger pre-med volunteers from the local university. As one of the more seasoned volunteers, I often step into a leadership role, guiding others in patient safety protocols and day-room check-in procedures. However, my true passion lies in going beyond the standard protocol and instilling an intrinsic motivation in my fellow volunteers.
This motivation comes from the understanding that for the families of our patients, they’re navigating one of the most challenging times in their lives. Our role as volunteers is to alleviate this hardship, even if it’s just by a fraction, with every interaction. Emphasizing this shared value is a cornerstone of my approach to leadership. Value-based leadership. It’s not a new idea, but it’s a foundational part of how I practice the privilege of leading others.
The measure of success for me is not just in the smooth running of operations, but in seeing this value reflected in the actions of other volunteers. It’s in the moments when, instead of reaching for their phones during a quiet spell, volunteers begin preparing craft kits or contacting patient pods to see who might need a bit of company.
This ethos of service and value-based leadership has resonated throughout my professional career as well. As an engineering manager, I’ve had the privilege of leading development teams at a large genetics company. There, I’ve strived to instill a sense of purpose that extends beyond the lines of code. I remind my team that each challenge we overcome in debugging spaghetti codes translates to countless patients gaining access to crucial genetic diagnoses, helping them move forward with their lives.
This concept of value-based leadership, this shared understanding, does more than inspire—it transforms. It transforms mundane tasks into meaningful contributions, routine responsibilities into purposeful engagement, and individual workers into a cohesive team united by a common purpose. It is the glue that binds us, the driving force that propels us forward, the shared beacon that illuminates our path.
The joy and fulfillment I derive from my work come not only from the roles I perform, but from the knowledge that every single day, in some small way, I make a difference. Every line of code debugged, every craft kit prepared, every moment spent guiding fellow volunteers or developers, contributes to a larger purpose. It’s the constant pursuit of this purpose, the opportunity to serve, to lead, to learn and grow, that truly defines my dream job. As I continue this journey, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and optimism. For the future is not just something we await, but something we actively shape, with each decision, each action, each moment of service.