The annual ambassador program recognizes Sanford champions

There are a group of Sanford employees who were recognized for going above and beyond in the work they do as custodians.

They are called Sanford Brand Ambassadors and, according to the program description, they embody the spirit of the brand and what the organization is about: health, healing and service to patients and residents, communities and each other.

The annual program selects 20 employees each year and is now in its second year.

View: 2022 Brand ambassadors travel to Austin, Texas

Sanford Health News caught up with some of the brand’s first ambassadors to learn more about what it means to be a part of this group.

What it means to be a Sanford brand ambassador

Felix Nyangamoi, one of the inaugural ambassadors, said one of his favorite memories was meeting other ambassadors from across the region.

The first group of 20 embarked on a surprise trip to Nashville in February 2021. The 2022 brand ambassadors took a surprise trip to Austin, Texas.

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“Becoming a brand ambassador made me feel like I’m part of this organization, I’m part of this great enterprise, and I can help advance the mission and values ​​by interacting with people every day,” Nyangamoi told Sanford Health News.

Irosha Banagala shares this sentiment.

She moved to the United States from Sri Lanka and is grateful to have found a home at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota.

“We dream of going to college, graduating, getting a great job, but this was something I never expected,” Banagala said. “Being an ambassador to represent this great organization is something I will never forget in my life.”

As a learning and development specialist, Banagala assists new employees during orientation. It’s a position that suits her passion and pride.

“I am a very small person within this large organization, but the level of support and recognition I have received from the people I work with and from leadership for my dedication and commitment to this organization is second to none,” she said. “Working here at Sanford Health means a lot to me because I feel valued. I feel appreciated. My voice matters regardless of my job title. I feel like I belong to this organization, but more importantly, the work I do is so meaningful. That’s why I always feel an incomparable pride in what I do here at Sanford.”

Turning pride into purpose

As a caregiver in Bemidji, Minnesota, Heather Czywczynski, NP, the concept is simple. She thinks of every patient as if they were her family, neighbor or friend.

“I make sure I do what’s best for them,” Czywczynski said.

“We are the gatekeepers of their experience within our facility and working in oncology, it is a privilege to be able to care for these patients at perhaps a time when they are most vulnerable. So, number one, we always have to put the patient first. We need to think about their experience from the moment they walk in our door to the moment they leave and make sure we give them the best possible care.”

Specializing in oncology now, she treats blood disorders and all types of cancer.

Examples of what that brand ambassador looks like in action include extra minutes in the exam room, smiling, helping patients in the hallway. Many of her patients come to her in their most raw moments.

“Everyone from start to finish can make a difference in how the patient has an interaction that day,” she explained. “And so I think it’s like one of the most important things that all of us can focus on is the patient experience from the time they walk into our facility to the time they leave and really that’s what it’s all about this work in health care.”

From the clinic to the office, Nyangamoi, who is a learning and development specialist in Sioux Falls, says his team recognizes him as a Sanford brand ambassador.

“We have to respect each other. We must help each other. We need to appreciate teamwork,” Nyangamoi said.

Sanford Ambassadors not only act as ongoing brand advocates inside and outside of offices, clinics and hospitals, but they are also champions and will serve as advisors, giving voice to our story as an organization throughout the year.

“It was just something that made me feel like I was a part of this organization. I am part of this great enterprise. I can help advance the mission and values ​​of this organization by interacting with people every day, whether it’s my coworkers here or people in my department.”

Setting an example for others

Czywczynski had only worked at Sanford Health in Bemidji for three months before she was nominated for her job, then in outpatient COVID-19 infusion.

“You don’t have to work here for years and years to be recognized for the things you do and to make a difference in the eyes of the employees around you,” she said.

Helping new employees in Fargo, Banagala encourages them to set the bar.

“You don’t have to speak perfect English to be a model,” she said. “I always tell them to make that a positive influence. I always tell them to go the extra mile to help someone and most importantly do the right thing when no one is watching.”

Nyangamoi says doing the right thing affects not only our associates, but our patients and residents who receive their care at Sanford Health.

“For anyone who comes here, they will see that this is a good place to be,” he said. “They see how we treat them and also how we treat each other as co-workers. It has become my passion. I just love doing it.”

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Posted in Company News, People & Culture, Sanford Stories

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