Being this is near Valentine’s Day, I would be remiss if I did not write about my dearest soul friend. I became attracted to this woman when we were in college. I went to Burge School of Nursing to have lunch with my sister and I saw this tall, slender, long-haired beauty wearing a necklace with a large wooden cross. This was before wearing crosses was popular, but it was the 70’s. I figured she was either entering the nunnery, or at least a devout Christian. She was stunning in a mini-skirt; it would be a shame for her to remain single so I pressed forward.
What I discovered was an intelligent (no, make that brilliant) woman who was deeply spiritual. When she proposed marriage just a few months later, I was hooked line and sinker. It was the best decision of my life. Carole has distinguished herself in every endeavor she has embarked on. She owned or ran several multi-million dollar corporations in health care, along with raising two remarkable children. In mid life, she pursued a master’s degree and a doctorate in nursing. She is known for her outstanding classroom performance, but her love has always been in administration. She is model of servant leadership.
Last year she became the Dean of St. John’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Southwest Baptist University. With over 600 students and 95 faculty members, this joint endeavor between a Catholic Hospital and a Baptist University requires skills few leaders possess. All of her life experiences had prepared her for this leadership challenge. I love how God never wastes our experiences.
There are many things I have learned from this remarkable leader. First, she is an encourager. One day she was riding with an employee and she happened to notice lying on top of this woman’s purse was a note with Carole’s handwriting. Carole asked her, “What is that?” The woman said it was a letter Carole had sent her a few months back. This employee said, “It was the first time in my life that someone told me I was doing a good job.” This woman in her 40’s bloomed because Carole valued her contributions to the organization.
The second lesson I have learned from my wife is “work the problem.” She doesn’t become emotional or jump to conclusions. She doesn’t place blame when something goes wrong. She doesn’t take things personally. She first tries to find out everything she can about the nature of the problem. She listens and engages others to solve it.
I am looking forward to seeing what other lessons I will learn from this soul friend and what other chapters will be written in her book.