March 20, 2017 | Staff Stories
Jennifer Kennedy, our Employee Wellness Coordinator, has touched and changed countless lives during her time at Mountain Park. Not many people can say that they have worked somewhere for nearly 30 years. And in that time, Jennifer has been witness many positive changes.
“It’s crazy for me to think that I have been here so long,” she told us. “When I started we had 40 employees and only three doctors. When I got hired I remember being so happy that Mountain Park took a chance on me—someone who was so young.”
Thanks to a Hug
Jennifer’s story about how she got to Mountain Park is fascinating.
“People frequently say that they are somewhere because it was meant to be, but for me, I believe it to be true,” she said. “Fate brought me to Mountain Park.”
When Jennifer was looking for employment opportunities she was still living in Tucson and trying to relocate to Phoenix. Mountain Park accidentally placed a job posting in the Tucson paper and when Jennifer saw it she applied and landed an interview.
“I remember pulling up to this tiny clinic in a not-so-good neighborhood,” she recalled. “As I sat in my car hesitant to go in with my gear in reverse I saw something that took the fear and nerves away, and helped me walk into that interview knowing this was the place I wanted to work at.”
What Jennifer saw was the kind of patient-doctor interaction that happens at our clinics on a daily basis. She witnessed a doctor walking into the clinic and a family walking out. The doctor and family stopped to chat and hugged goodbye, as if they were long-time friends.
“It seemed so natural,” she said. “That got me intrigued and I had to go in and see it for myself.”
When Jennifer was brought on the Mountain Park team she was a health educator. It’s thanks to her determination that we started our Diabetes Management and All Kids Can classes. She also worked around the community promoting Mountain Park and getting the word out.
“She’s always been the Mountain Park mouthpiece,” Rachel Lambert, COO said. “She has always been a proponent of community involvement and was pushing that for Mountain Park. More patients came because of Jen. She was always at health fairs and always encouraging good people to apply to work here.”
“Jennifer is innovative, creative and never afraid to try something different,” Valentina Hernandez, Director Integrated Nutrition Services told us. “She’s always looking for new ideas to improve the health of our employees and patients.”
Jennifer also launched our preceptorship program, where we bring medical and dental students into our clinics for rotations.
“We have some amazing providers on our team that started out as students,” Jennifer said. “I am so proud of this program.”
Many of our providers including Dr. Leah Tekle and Dr. Jonathan Manwaring started their careers as students at our clinics. Now, both work here full time providing care to our patients.
Three Decades Later
Fast forward to today. Seasoned and new employees alike know who Jennifer is. It’s not because she has been here for 29 years, it’s because she is the “tenacious person that makes things happen,” Rachel shared. “She is the energy in the room that everyone needs and she is full of endless possibilities.”
Every day Jennifer makes it a priority to make our employees and the whole company healthy.
“Healthy employees work harder and are happier,” Jennifer said. “I really love motivating people to reach their goals: wellness, education, career and so forth.”
Maria Rubio, our Immunizations Program Manager, has known Jennifer for nearly 20 years and shared with us that, “She brings a lot of health education to patients and employees and is always finding resources to improve our quality of care.”
Making it Work
As busy as Jennifer is, she makes her family a priority. A mom of three—two sons, Christopher and Eric, and one daughter, Kelsey—she spends a lot of time with her children and husband of 25 years, Mike.
“We love going on family ski vacations in the winter and like hiking trips in the summer,” she shared. “If we’re not in Colorado we head to the beach.”
And of course Jennifer is all about fitness and staying healthy. She enjoys swimming, biking, cooking, reading and watching sports.
“At the end of the day, I’m so happy that Mountain Park keeps giving me opportunities to make a difference. For that, I am incredibly thankful,” she said.
Jennifer, we want you to know how much we appreciate everything you do for our employees and how happy we are to have been able to keep you for ourselves over the last 29-years.
To join our team visit our career page.