Patti Moore - Honoring Mary Labyak

2011 hospice labyak mary video Mar 16, 2012

I had the honor of interviewing Mary Labyak back in Sept 2011 during my "Patti Moore's Hospice Master Class Series".  Join me in celebrating her life and honoring her legacy in this excerpt from that interview.

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Thoughts on Mary Labyak CEO of Suncoast Hospice


August 27, 1948 to February 4, 2012

“I think hospice is the greatest single honor that has ever occurred in my life. To have the opportunity to be a part of building something that makes such a difference to society. And I think what is really important is that hospice is a dream that’s come true, and a dream that’s grown beyond all of our expectations.

In terms of values, it’s a dream that didn’t come out of academia, it didn’t come out of research, it didn’t come out of organized medicine. It was the dream of people themselves that had lost a loved one and simply wanted to reach out and see if they could make that path different for others. And it was above all about human dignity, no matter how long life was.

And I think it has grown so much not because we were smart in building it, but because we had the capacity to listen to what our patients and communities needed and to build that for them.”

~ Mary J. Labyak


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Finding Your Self

Socrates said “Know Thyself”.   There is no one more important to get to know than you.  Who are you, what roles do you play, what do you love, what makes you laugh what makes you cry?  When was the last time you asked yourself those questions?

In life we play many roles, some are chosen, others are placed upon us without our full consent.  In the retreats I conduct I ask participants to list all the many roles they play.  Which roles have the limelight right now and which ones would they like to spend more time with.

What roles do you want to have first on your list?  Some of the roles on my list include woman of faith, wife, daughter, friend, aunt, sister, business owner, writer, consultant, coach, recruiter, walker, boater, sunset lover, traveler, artist and I could go on.  As I write this I see that some of my roles are overpowering a few that I want to resurrect.  I’m going to challenge myself to refocus.

Will you?...

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Last night I witnessed that rare quality in a leader, humility.  I attended the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organizations’ Foundation Gala in Washington DC.  There were lights and flowers and diamonds and glamor.  The nations’ hospice leaders and donors were decked out in their finery to give out awards and celebrate.

This year the Healthcare Architect Award was given to Mary Labyak, President and CEO of Suncoast Hospice.  Mary has had a brilliant career in hospice that started in 1980 in Clearwater, Florida.  She was hired by a handful of volunteer board members to provide hospice care to the dying citizens of their area.  Mary and her dedicated volunteers and staff embarked on a journey that has led to a profound change in the way people are cared for at the end of life.

Many people across the US have contributed their life’s work to this movement, but few are more recognized or revered than Mary Labyak.  Growing up in...

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Lessons From the Field

In my work as a consultant I have the good fortune to meet and interview all types of people.  I interview everyone from Board members, community leaders, internal staff, housekeepers to executives.  It is always my delight when I meet someone who is “real”; someone who is comfortable in their own skin, with a sensibility about life and not trying to impress anyone.  I know when I have found one of the truth tellers because I get “truth- bumps” (AKA good bumps) when I talk with them.
These people are everywhere, sometimes in the most unexpected places.  I was recently in a small rural town in the south conducting a program assessment.  I met a Board of Directors member who had been the Chief Operating Officer of the largest privately owned agricultural chemical company in the world.  Not in the largest in the USA, but in the world!
How did that happen?  This man came from humble beginnings of picking cotton, stripping...
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Leadership Listening

When I think of leadership listening I think of my mom, who has been a hairdresser most of her adult life.  Being a hairdresser means standing on your feet all day listening to other people’s problems and trying to make them look pretty.  For the price of a shampoo and set my mom has been listening, smiling, and acknowledging people,  making them look good and feel good about themselves for nearly 50 years.  Some people pay a therapist and don’t get as much as she offered as their “hair-apist”.

I never thought much about the role of the hairdresser other than when you find a good one you stick with them, sometimes even longer than a marriage.  It is often the hairdresser who gets the first call to be a part of the preparation for any big event in a woman’s life: proms, graduations, weddings, funerals, holidays and job interviews.

What skills does it take to be a successful hairdresser?  For 45 years my mother shampooed,...

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