Debbie Stewart Committed to Positive Customer Experience

Facilities Operations Manager Debbie Stewart said she finds working at Cardinal Innovations Healthcare challenging because there is always something different to do, citing workspace reconfiguration, finding meeting space for various groups, vehicle assignments, and vendor contract management as examples of what she might do in a typical day.

“Facilities Management prides itself on providing the best possible customer service experience to Cardinal Innovations staff and members, regardless of the project complexity or challenges the task presents to our team," said Pat Gavin, Vice President of Facilities & Purchasing. “Debbie Stewart demonstrates this commitment to a positive customer service experience on a daily basis."

Stewart joined Cardinal Innovations June 2010, just as the company was breaking ground for its building located at Milestone Ave. in Kannapolis. She was an integral part of overseeing the construction work, lining up contractors, working with vendors on décor and assigning workspaces for the new facility. When headquarters was moved from Milestone to NASCAR Plaza last summer. “Stewart was once again front and center managing multiple projects with contractors, vendors, move managers and FM staff to coordinate the logistics of a large-scale corporate relocation," said Gavin.

Stewart was nominated for a Cardinal Leads Award for her commitment to Cardinal Innovations' core values. Cardinal Leads Award nominees are featured in Leadership in Action articles throughout the year for the commitment to Cardinal Innovations' core values, which include courage, integrity, accountability, compassion and demonstrating a pioneering attitude.

In submitting the nomination, Gavin said: “[Stewart] is a dedicated employee who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in planning and implementing multiple projects at the same time to ensure the FM Team is positioned to provide the required resources, assets and materials to Cardinal Innovations' staff members so they can perform their jobs at the highest level while minimizing interruptions to their daily routines." Gavin cited the NASCAR Relocation Project and Fleet Re-Allocation Project as examples of Stewart's dedication and hard work.

“I have to admit when I took the job with PBH in June of 2010, I didn't understand exactly what the organization was all about as far as services. It was the excitement of being part of the leadership project for a beautiful building that caught my attention and the challenge of such a large undertaking," said Stewart.

The enormity and importance of Cardinal Innovations mission became apparent to Stewart a couple years after she joined the organization. The building project was over, and employees had been relocated to the Milestone location. Stewart was settling into her day-to-day activities when she was invited to attend a celebration for the Transitions to Community Living (TCL) program. That was a turning point for Stewart.

“It wasn't until attending one of the Transitions to Community Living events a few years later that I really started to understand that my job was more than making sure the lights were on and the temperature was comfortable," she explained.  “I was invited to an event that celebrated housing needs that were met for members moving out of adult care homes and into their own homes—many for the first time. It was very moving."

Stewart recalled welcome mats being carefully placed outside the conference center as tokens to honor both those who had received new homes and those who had helped in the process. “Each TCL team member told a personal story of handing keys to members who were moving into their homes. They talked about the delight on the members' faces because they had a place to call their own. At the end, balloons were released to honor members and to represent the new sense of freedom that many of them had found. These were special moments, and I realized everyone in the room shared life experiences that enabled them to give guidance to those in need. It resonated deep within me, and I felt a deep sense of pride not only for the beautiful building we had created but also for the beautiful work that we were accomplishing."

Stewart said Facilities Management tries to resolve all requests with a positive result. “Each time a request or concern comes to the Facilities Management inbox, it is reviewed and discussed and hopefully resolved with a positive result. I remind our team to treat each and every one of our internal customers with respect. We strive to provide the solutions that enable our teams to have the tools to do their jobs whether it's a vehicle or the office supplies they have requested."

Gavin said Stewart often works long hours, day and night, to provide pioneering solutions to the challenges we encounter. “Her ability to convert a complaint into a positive outcome for a staff member improves the ability of staff to provide the best possible outcome or service to our members," he said.

Stewart believes it is important to provide exceptional customer service to staff and members, as well as providing timely responses and solutions to inquiries and projects. She believes in treating her colleagues with respect and dignity, and provides honest answers to inquiries in accordance with the company's policies and procedures.

“Regardless of her workload," Gavin said, “she is always willing to participate in project planning committees to improve the customer service experience." Her goal is to provide a safe, comfortable work environment for Cardinal Innovations staff to work every day. Sometimes that involves making difficult – and unpopular – decisions. “She always exhibits integrity and fairness in the decisions she makes," said Gavin. “She is an exemplary employee."

Stewart said working in Facilities Management, one of the many backend functions at Cardinal Innovations, has provided her an opportunity to get to know many employees. “Everyone has to interface with Facilities at some point," she said, “and when they do I like to be here to get to know them and provide whatever support I can.

“Even though my job is behind the scenes, I know it helps other Cardinal Innovations Healthcare staff take care of community members in need. That encourages me to do my best to support others in the organization every day," Stewart said.

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