All you need is love

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Mary Ackenhusen | August 5th, 2015

All you need is love, or so the saying goes. And while love is often plentiful in our personal lives, we don’t always think of it in the workplace – and yet it’s often there and it’s worth celebrating. I think that’s why the “Best Work Buddy” contest currently running in the Vancouver Community of Care has struck such a positive chord. The campaign asks employees based in Vancouver to tell the VCH world about great friendships formed on the job, recognizing that the personal support of friends enhance our work environment and help us achieve our personal and professional goals.

Celebrating friendship

To date, more than 55 work buddies have entered. Yes, they are vying for some fun prizes, like coffee cards and ultimately, a one-hour photo shoot, but more importantly, they are taking time to celebrate friendship in the workplace. I love that! It makes me think of all of the fun, helpful, and insanity-inducing moments that my work friends have steered me through. Frankly, there are times when my work buddies have been a better sounding board than my husband or family members because they know first-hand where I’m coming from – they are traveling with me on this roller coaster ride of health care and like me, they are focused on achieving the best possible outcomes for patients.

So what’s my point?

First, I want to acknowledge the creativity of the Vancouver campaign and thank all of the participants for sharing their stories about their best work buddies. Second, I want to open the doors for all of our non-Vancouver CoC employees who are also itching to tell us about their work peeps. This blog doesn’t count as a formal campaign, but if you want to share, I’m ready to read and celebrate! Borrowing from Vancouver, I invite you to answer the questions below and then paste your answers into a comment in the comment section below and add a selfie. Keep them coming until the end of September, at which time we’ll randomly draw three names from all the entries and award you a small gift card for a coffee date with your best work buddy. (Note: One Vancouver employees should continue to submit to the official One Vancouver BWB contest, although feel free to comment here too.)

Here’s what we need from you…

  • Use the comment feature below to share.
  • Tell us you and your BWB’s first and last names, job titles and work location(s).
  • Click the little picture icon (photo upload icon) to add your photo – Identify who’s who in your picture — are you on the left or right … or?
  • Tell us when and how you first met.
  • Share what you admire most about each other.

I look forward to reading about your best work buddy and celebrating friendship in the workplace!

About the Author

Mary Ackenhusen

As president and chief executive officer of Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), Mary Ackenhusen leads the largest academic and tertiary health authority in British Columbia. She is passionate about engaging staff and physicians across VCH in building new models of health care that have potential to be more cost effective and better allow all of us to be more productive, to the benefit of patients and their family members. Mary is an advocate for constructive, two-way communication and through the Up for Discussion blog, invites all members of the VCH community to share their comments, questions and new ideas. View all posts by Mary.

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8 comments on “All you need is love

  • Mike Gix says:

    I’m all for cohesive teams and friendly relations in and outside of our worksites. Does anyone else wonder if asking staff to publicly identify favourites among our coworkers is such a great idea in terms of overall morale and equal treatment in our work units??

    • Mary Ackenhusen says:

      You have a point. If any of our staff don’t have a buddy but would like to have a best friend at work, I hope our culture is inclusive enough to them to find one.

  • Mary Ackenhusen says:

    I love your stories! It is a great reminder that work can be and should be fun when we’re working with people we like or even love! I have “best buddies” too among the executive team and it makes a huge difference when times are tough.

  • Michelle says:

    Hi! This is Michelle Dunphy (Left) & Connie Dowhy (Right). We both work in Medical Imaging at Royal Columbian Hospital. Michelle does Interventional Radiology bookings and Connie is a Senior Portfolio Clerk. We first met when Connie joined our clerical team in Medical Imaging in 2009. We admire each other’s drive to be fit and have fun while doing it! Connie helped me lose OVER 50lbs!! This is a picture from one of our daily walks around the hospital, we like to keep fit and have fun together! 🙂 We truly are the Best Work Buds! 😉

  • Diana Pham says:

    Top right corner picture (left to right):
    Gordon Fung, Education Compliance Associate
    Jacky Lui, Co-op Student
    Victoria Skryabina, Education Compliance
    Diana Pham, Education Compliance Associate

    Work location: We are 4 peas in a pod (literally) on the 10th floor of 601 W. Broadway

    How we first met: We first met in April 2014 when Jacky
    first joined our team, but didn’t become best work buddies until we moved into
    the same pod together in September 2014. Now we often take walks together on our lunch breaks and go for coffee together almost every day! In the
    wintertime, we turned our pod into a winter wonderland that looked like Santa’s
    Workshop and we were the elves hard at work!

    What we admire most about each other: We are all extremely busy with our different projects and portfolios, but we always find time to support each other. Whether it be helping with small tasks, bouncing ideas off of each other, or taking a break together to refresh and sharpen our minds, we can always count on each other!

    Thank you for reading.

  • Jodi says:

    My Best Work Buddies are Ruth Hartnup and Carla Tooley. The three of us make up the small (but mighty) Communications team for the Clinical & Systems Transformation project. We’re located in Vancouver. Pictured left to right: Ruth, Carla and Jodi Gillich (me!).

    We first met over coffee when I accepted a position with the Comms team. It was a cold autumn day, but we quickly warmed to each other. Here’s what we admire most about each other:

    Me: I admire Ruth and Carla for their intelligence and sense of humour. I’m constantly amazed by them and feel very lucky to call them my BWBs!

    Ruth: I admire Jodi’s compassion and writing ability, and Carla’s punning, dry wit and creativity.

    Carla: I admire Jodi for her compassion and kindness. I admire Ruth for her amazing communication skills and knowledge.

  • Jennifer says:

    Amy Chang, Denysa Leung, Jennifer Tongol, and Gabrielle Yoo are Best Work Buddies! They are all Regional Physician Practice Support Program Coordinators for Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. In the picture from left to right are Denysa Leung, Gabrielle Yoo, Amy Chang and Jennifer Tongol. They all first met on August 29, 2014 when Jennifer started at the Practice Support Program (PSP) Vancouver Coastal. Denysa joined Primary Care in 2013. Gabrielle started in PSP at 2009. Amy Chang has been with Vancouver Coastal since 1997. They all share their love for food and go for dim sum as a team! What they love about each other is how they support and collaborate with each other as a team. Not only are they passionate about their friendship in and out of work but they also work awesome together! They make it fun by incorporating a lot of laughter into their workplace!

  • Ivy-Jean says:

    My name is Ivy-Jean Staats. I am on the left wearing the
    brown top. My VCH Bestie (Best Work Buddy) is Nicole Mortimer. (On the
    right, wearing the blue). We are both Mental Health Rehabilitation Workers at Sumac Place in Gibsons, on the beautiful Sunshine Coast! I first met Nicole last summer when I started at Sumac in July 2014. She has been a huge inspiration to me! Nicole is what I aspire to be in the form of fitness and health.
    On Nicole’s days off: she’s a marathon runner, competes in basketball tournaments, has joined a volleyball team, enjoys kayaking and paddle boarding. Nicole is currently working towards her nursing degree, as
    she has a strong passion towards overall better health, and aspires to be more
    involved with the health care system. What I absolutely love about Nicole: Is how we can laugh together! In our area of mental health, it’s important to have laughter while maintaining professionalism. She is an amazing woman with a huge heart and a great sense of humor. And when I go on maternity leave, she’s planning to be my #1 diaper changer 😉
    Ivy-Jean Staats

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