How Taking a Crothall Job Changed Charlene Humbert El-Amin’s Career
Charlene Humbert El-Amin has a straightforward approach to her career: work hard, respect your supervisors, invest in the company and there will be a payoff.
But after 10 years overseeing housekeeping and laundry services at a hotel in Pittsburgh, she was frustrated. She had been promised promotions, but none came. She learned about Crothall Healthcare from someone who said she could make a difference there – would she take a chance and interview with the company?
“I knew I was taking a chance by leaving my former employer,” Charlene recalls. “But I wanted to work for a company and a manager who would appreciate my hard work, treat me fairly and help me take care of my family. And you know what? That more than worked out.”
Now, after more than a decade at Crothall, Charlene has not only built a career – she’s recognized as a company leader. As the Resident Regional Manager for Crothall’s Environmental Services (EVS) unit at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital (UPMC) she is responsible for approximately 220 associates.
The person who hired Charlene back in 2007 says she epitomizes the leadership values Crothall seeks from its leaders.
“She takes care of our customers and has empathy for her staff,” says Chris Connelly, Senior Regional Director of Operations at Crothall. “Her leadership, her values and how she lives them, stays true to them, are her greatest strengths. I’ve given her many challenges, and she’s exceeded expectations every time.”
Connelly has had a front-row seat to watch Charlene, a Pittsburgh native, turn her opportunity into a career.
She began as a Patient Ambassador, focusing on making sure patients and families received the highest level of service. The company’s reputation also hinged on improving the working relationship with the hospital’s nurse managers.
“Our relationship with the nurses is extremely important,” Charlene says. “My approach was to immediately address any needs, follow up on any request and stay in front of the patients and nurse managers to ensure they received the service they expect. I know they appreciated the extra attention to ensure everyone was receiving our support and patients got the best care possible.”
Charlene’s initial success proved to be a catalyst for a career path at Crothall. Connelly next assigned her to oversee a late evening shift, known as the third shift, to get its performance back on track. Charlene put her no-nonsense management style into action by improving staff productivity while also weeding out people who didn’t perform up to expectations.
“I treat people just as I would like to be treated, with fairness and respect,” she says. “If you take care of your staff, they will take care of our customers.” For example, she built rapport by hosting potluck dinners to build team unity.
At the same time, staff members quickly learn they can’t slack off and expect a break. And those who flout the rules will be held accountable. “I’m no pushover,” she says. “Everyone must be held accountable for their job. You can’t be a part of the team if you aren’t contributing your fair share.”
After demonstrating her management skills, Connelly and others gave Charlene a series of promotions, increasing her level of responsibility along the way.
In addition, he has continued to invest in Charlene’s management skills. She has attended ADAPT, a leadership training program for leaders of multi-unit facilities, to increase her knowledge about key issues. He also asked to her to take on other assignments, such as making presentations to upper management.
“We wanted to expand her skills and increase her visibility within the company. These included situations where she wasn’t comfortable at first, making presentations in front of key management people and customers. Now, she’s making quarterly presentations to nursing directors, C-Suite executives and CEOs.”
Charlene admits it was initially difficult to step to the podium and address a group of upper-tier management people. But she sees it as an opportunity to contribute to the company’s success while improving her communications skills.
As a result of her hard work and determination, there has been a payoff – unlike her days at the hotel. Charlene has been promoted four times at Crothall, and Connelly says she’s deserved each promotion.
“Charlene understands our mission and has stepped up to every challenge,” he says. “Her customers love her; she is fiscally responsible and genuinely cares about and works hard to develop and support her team, both personally and professionally. She is totally invested and we hope others see her example and emulate it.”