Ceci Tomono

Ceci Tomono
Episode 97

Join host, Japhet De Oliveira, as he sits down with Ceci Tomono, the executive for business development for Kern County, to discuss her love of books, home-cooked meals, and the importance of embracing the present moment.
Libsyn Podcast
"I feel that sometimes [the future] can consume you and take away from what's in front of you. I've learned to just embrace the present and enjoy every moment."

Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira, with his guest today, and discover the moments that shape us, our families and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, welcome friends to another episode of The Story and Experience Podcast. I'm delighted to be sitting here with our guest that you'll get to meet in a few seconds. If you're brand new to this podcast, we have a hundred questions, and these are questions about stories and experience that shaped the leader into who they they're today. I'm going to begin and then I'll hand over after 10 questions to them to choose numbers where they want to go, and we'll see what kind of stories and experiences we learn about. The very first one is, could you tell us your name and does anybody ever mispronounce it?

Ceci Tomono: Sure. It is Ceci Tomono.

Japhet De Oliveira: Mm-hmm.

Ceci Tomono: My first name is Olga.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Ceci Tomono: Already complicated.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know. I know. Okay. Ceci or Olga. Okay. All right.

Ceci Tomono: Correct. Olga Cecilia Tomono. I was born in Peru, Lima, Peru.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Ceci Tomono: You go by your middle name there.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Ceci Tomono: My family has always called me Ceci.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow.

Ceci Tomono: But-

Japhet De Oliveira: I never knew that. That's really-

Ceci Tomono: On paper.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I am Olga.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. Hey, that's a real interesting insight, and that's culturally?

Ceci Tomono: Culturally, yes, absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All a Peru or just Lima?

Ceci Tomono: All of Peru. I mean predominantly South America, right? You go by your middle name.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. Wow. Good insight. All right, brilliant.

Ceci Tomono: Parents are a lot more prone to pass down that name. My mom's name is Olga and I go by Olga.

Japhet De Oliveira: Now there's anybody ever mispronounce it or?

Ceci Tomono: Olga, no, but Ceci-

Japhet De Oliveira: Ceci?

Ceci Tomono: A hundred percent.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. I think I may have heard a few different variations myself. All right, so Ceci is what we'll go with.

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Ceci, what do you do for work?

Ceci Tomono: I am the executive for business development for Kern County.

Japhet De Oliveira: For Kern County in which area, like in?

Ceci Tomono: California.

Japhet De Oliveira: California. Okay.

Ceci Tomono: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Business development for Kern County. What is Kern County?

Ceci Tomono: Kern County. We are nestled right in the middle of California.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Ceci Tomono: Central Valley.

Japhet De Oliveira: Superb.

Ceci Tomono: We are the Central Valley. Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Ceci Tomono: Bakersfield and we have our flagship hospital in Bakersfield. We have Delano, Tehachapi, and our newest acquisition heart hospital-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yes, that's right.

Ceci Tomono: That's right down the street. Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: You're in charge of business development-

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: So do you bring more in or?

Ceci Tomono: Oh yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: She's like, "Yeah."

Ceci Tomono: A hundred percent, growth.

Japhet De Oliveira: A hundred percent.

Ceci Tomono: Growth.

Japhet De Oliveira: Growth.

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's it. Hey, that's fantastic. All right. How long have you been doing this?

Ceci Tomono: I have been in business development for about 10 years. As an executive, a couple months.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Ceci Tomono: All right.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. That's great.

Ceci Tomono: Excited.

Japhet De Oliveira: Did you do business development inside this area here or in some other company before or?

Ceci Tomono: My background is in pharmaceutical sales. I did that in LA.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Ceci Tomono: For a couple of years-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: And then locally-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: And then moved over to the hospital and started-

Japhet De Oliveira: They snagged you and saved you and brought you over and you've done excellent over here. Hey, that's great. That's great. Well, fantastic. All right, so in the morning when you get up, coffee, tea, liquid green smoothie, water, what's your first drink of the day?

Ceci Tomono: I've done it all. I went through my liquid green smoothie phase, my make my own bone broth phase-

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Ceci Tomono: And now I'm full circle to just water.

Japhet De Oliveira: Is it tap water or just-

Ceci Tomono: No.

Japhet De Oliveira: No?

Ceci Tomono: Just bottled water.

Japhet De Oliveira: A bottled water. Okay. All right. Well, good for you. Good for you.

Ceci Tomono: Lots of green stuff that I have at home though that I've bought into over the years of, you know.

Japhet De Oliveira: Now I'm going to presume, because you said you're from Lima, Peru, that you were born there.

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Is that correct? Yeah? Okay. All right. When you were a child, what did you imagine you would've grow up to be?

Ceci Tomono: Well, it depends. When? When I was living in Peru or when I was living in the US?

Japhet De Oliveira: Well.

Ceci Tomono: Different, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, let's go for both. Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Yeah, there you go. My parents always kind of ingrained in me that they wanted me to pick the law school path and so I grew up thinking that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Do you like reading and history?

Ceci Tomono: I do.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

Ceci Tomono: I do.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right.

Ceci Tomono: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Hey, that's fantastic. All right, and so if people were to describe your personality, would they say you're an extrovert or an introvert and would you agree?

Ceci Tomono: Probably extrovert

Japhet De Oliveira: Really? A shocker.

Ceci Tomono: Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right.

Ceci Tomono: And-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah?

Ceci Tomono: I do feel as I've gotten older, I do relish my alone time.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. Habits, now are you an early riser or late night owl?

Ceci Tomono: More of a late night owl.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. What's late night?

Ceci Tomono: It's not really late night, it's more I'm just not a morning person.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. That's fair. That's fair. All right, here's a leadership question.

Ceci Tomono: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Are you a backseat driver?

Ceci Tomono: No. No. However, I am happy to answer questions when you need directions.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Ceci Tomono: I will a hundred percent give you my opinion.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. That's only when needed or when you feel like somebody needs it?

Ceci Tomono: As I have evolved in my leadership style, I have learned that it's good to step back sometimes and let them come full circle.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I think when I was younger I was much more eager to give that when I saw it fit. As experience happens, you realize you can ask leading questions and let them come full circle.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Thank you. Good. Well, the floor is open now. You get to pick numbers between 11 and 100, where you want to go.

Ceci Tomono: Oh my goodness.

Japhet De Oliveira: Where would you like to begin?

Ceci Tomono: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: You can go up or down.

Ceci Tomono: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Let's 21.

Japhet De Oliveira: 21. All right. Share the very best compliment you've ever received.

Ceci Tomono: I would say the best compliment for me is when someone gives me a compliment on something that I am actively working on.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, hey.

Ceci Tomono: Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: That changes-

Japhet De Oliveira: And they noticed it.

Ceci Tomono: And they noticed it, but they don't know that that is something that I'm working on and they're like, "Hey, thank you for being patient." Oh, me? Okay. I love that for me, right? Because I'm making-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: An effort to do that and when someone recognizes it, I feel that I am growing.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. I like the connection with something that we're intentional about and somebody recognizing it.

Ceci Tomono: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. All right, that's great. That's 21 then, so up or down?

Ceci Tomono: I'm scared. I think I'm just going to keep going, like 22. I found a happy place, I'm going to stay in it.

Japhet De Oliveira: I don't know where this fear comes from. All right. 22. That's great. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

Ceci Tomono: I've answered this question before.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, you have?

Ceci Tomono: Again, full circle.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I think here.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Right now. I have spent time in my life where, gosh, I wish I was there and I wish I were there and things would be better if I could do this. I am learning to just embrace because being here with you right now is part of a whole other ecosystem. I'm going on vacation soon and I want to enjoy every moment there and I also want to live in the present, so I would say it's all part of it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you think it's time in your life that you get to that moment where you're more in the present?

Ceci Tomono: Absolutely. Instead of trying to get to the next thing, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: I feel that sometimes that can consume you and take away from what's in front of you.

Japhet De Oliveira: I've always wondered about there's people who spend all the time at a game and they're on the phone recording the game and instead of-

Ceci Tomono: Just watching.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. All right, that's great. Hey, that was 22. Where do you want to go next?

Ceci Tomono: 23.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right.

Ceci Tomono: I'm sticking to it.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, no, that's good. Tell us about the most outdated piece of technology that you still use on a regular basis.

Ceci Tomono: I don't know if it's a piece of technology, but I love books.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah?

Ceci Tomono: I refuse to do the Kindle or the phone-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really? Okay.

Ceci Tomono: Or anything. I know it's impractical and I have just a huge-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. There is something about the physical book.

Ceci Tomono: Just the physical book. I cannot let it go, and paperback, has to be paperback.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Ceci Tomono: Because I'd like to-

Japhet De Oliveira: No hard back?

Ceci Tomono: No, I don't like the hardback. I like taking it places and it's beat up and I love it. I have tried to instill that in my kids as well because then you get alerts and it's not... Same thing menus, restaurant menus.

Japhet De Oliveira: You're not a fan of the QR codes?

Ceci Tomono: No, not at-

Japhet De Oliveira: I think COVID-19 made us all go that way and now we're like, "Oh no, it's just stuck."

Ceci Tomono: It did and then I just feel, I get there and I'm excited. I'm a big food person. I love to sit and look at all of my options. When you ask me to pull my phone out, cool. I've got to put my glasses on.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know.

Ceci Tomono: It's just a lot of work now.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know. I know exactly what you mean. Yeah. Yeah. When you have to put your glasses back on, it's-

Ceci Tomono: Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. All right. That's great. That was 23, so where next?

Ceci Tomono: 24?

Japhet De Oliveira: 24. That's good. Tell us about a time that you were over or underdressed for an occasion.

Ceci Tomono: I'm Hispanic. I'm constantly overdressed for everything all the time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Ceci Tomono: Ask my husband, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: It is the holidays, right, and he's like, "Why is everybody in a gown? It's Thanksgiving."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Although Thanksgiving is a meal that we should all dress up for, right?

Ceci Tomono: Yes, and everyone has different traditions, but yes, I tend to be in a dress and heels just all the time. I think when I was younger I was a little embarrassed about it and now I just embrace it. I have two boys so I don't get to dress up my kids.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Where do you want to go next after that then after being dressed for everything else?

Ceci Tomono: Where were we? 20?

Japhet De Oliveira: 23.

Ceci Tomono: Okay. Let's do 24.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, sorry. That was 24. That my bad, so 25. All right. Share with us the most beautiful thing you've ever seen.

Ceci Tomono: My kids when they were born, when they're babies and they hand them over to you and they're just so beautiful before they start crying and keeping you up all night and then just terrorize you. That first, just like wow, right? All of that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you find that now, even though they're growing up, that when you look at them you still see the baby?

Ceci Tomono: Oh, all the time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Isn't that crazy?

Ceci Tomono: A hundred percent.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I see the baby. My oldest is 11 and I'm just like, "Come here, baby," and he's like, "You're awkward, mom. I don't care."

Japhet De Oliveira: No, it's true. Their face never goes away.

Ceci Tomono: No, to you it doesn't.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. For them, obviously, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Mine are 24 and 20 and so yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Oh, do you still just go-

Japhet De Oliveira: I still-

Ceci Tomono: Grab their cheeks?

Japhet De Oliveira: Why's a two-year-old driving the car?

Ceci Tomono: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah. No, it's true. All right, that was 24. That was 25, sorry. I'm going to get on top of these numbers. Where next?

Ceci Tomono: How many more do we have?

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, as long as the time allows.

Ceci Tomono: Oh, okay. Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I need to just plan, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: I will eventually-

Ceci Tomono: Am I going to go straight for the-

Japhet De Oliveira: I'll eventually say, "Hey, you have time for two more."

Ceci Tomono: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Okay. Got it. Okay, so let's just, 37.

Japhet De Oliveira: 37. All right. Oh, this is great for you. What do you like most about your family?

Ceci Tomono: They're dynamic.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah?

Ceci Tomono: Yeah. They're dynamic. Very different on all sides. I love on, for me, it's my parents and they didn't grow up here, so they have my brother and I. It's just, we're very close. We talk often. Then on my family with my husband and my kids, it's fun to watch the different personalities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: My oldest is a spinning image of me, which raising yourself is not easy. My little one is just the calmest, sweetest little thing ever. I would say that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good. That is good. Family, I mean, everything at the end of the day, that's where it comes down to. It's great. All right, that was 37, so where next?

Ceci Tomono: Okay. 39.

Japhet De Oliveira: 39. If you didn't need to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Ceci Tomono: I like to learn. I am a learner. I've always wanted to learn a different language, cooking, and there's really probably more about my job, the industry.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I feel like that is just something that there's never enough time to fully understand, and healthcare is so ever-changing right now.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes, it is.

Ceci Tomono: This new generation coming in, I'm fascinated by just the shift. Having been in healthcare for 20 years now and really growing up in it, I remember the days of so many different things. I was in pharmaceuticals before there were a lot of regulations and just to see the dynamic and how physicians and how patients reacted to that. Now in a post pandemic world, how just the mind set has shifted and where we're going, the future.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: It's so exciting.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. It's true. To be able to have that foresight at the same time while being present, to your point about being present today as well is very, takes a lot of research.

Ceci Tomono: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: We all need a little bit less sleep then.

Ceci Tomono: Right? I know. I know.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Hey, that was 39, so where next?

Ceci Tomono: Okay. 45.

Japhet De Oliveira: 45. All right. When people come to you for help, what are they usually asking for?

Ceci Tomono: I would probably say, as a mom, they come to me for just about any of it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, sure. Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: There's that. Probably just as a working mom, I do feel I get all of, I'm just running a household, and it is so interesting because I feel it in my role, which is heavy on the physician marketing and physician relations side.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I find myself saying the same things.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, hey.

Ceci Tomono: I also do a lot with physician compensation and I oversee physician contracting and relationships. Once we onboard them, how do we make you successful? How do we make sure that at Adventist we have the best resources for you to practice at top of your license and be the very best you can for your patients? Sometimes there's a lot of conflict resolution, and what I tell my kids is usually what I say at work, play well with others. Be kind.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good.

Ceci Tomono: That's what it comes down to.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I feel like I say the same thing a lot. Don't fight with your brother, ie. Your partner.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey.

Ceci Tomono: Let's not be selfish.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's the reality in every sphere, right?

Ceci Tomono: Right? It really is.

Japhet De Oliveira: It should be good wisdom for everyone.

Ceci Tomono: I guess to answer your question, there's a lot of conflict resolution, just by the nature of my job.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure, sure.

Ceci Tomono: There's a lot of conflict resolution, and as a mom of two boys, it's also a lot of conflict resolution.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's true. It's not just people who are incredibly brilliant and talented in their sphere. It's human.

Ceci Tomono: A hundred percent, it's human. It's all human, and they all mean well. We're just trying to do different things and it just goes back to human and the law of the land, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: It can just be boiled down to that. It's amazing. You think that it's like, I get asked, "Oh, you're talking to these seven surgeons and they're all so mad. You really going to walk in that room?" Yes. Yes, because we're all human and we all have the same goals and vision and values and we just need to get back to that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good. That's good. All right. What number next?

Ceci Tomono: Where was I? I guess it doesn't mind, or it doesn't matter because you can go up anywhere. Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, it's totally open. You can go up or down. Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: All right. 40.

Japhet De Oliveira: 40. All right, here we go. All right. Tell us, if you would, about a time where you failed.

Ceci Tomono: So many.

Japhet De Oliveira: I've been one of them. All of us. All of us, right?

Ceci Tomono: All of us, right? So many. Professionally?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I mean, my children do make me feel like I'm failing every day-

Japhet De Oliveira: Well-

Ceci Tomono: As a parent.

Japhet De Oliveira: Parenting 102, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Parenting 102. I don't think I did any of that right. Okay. I can't think of one off the top of my head. But overall, if I look at the overarching theme in it, it's something that I work on all the time, which is impulse, good and bad. I am action driven. Like I mentioned on the backseat driver conversation, sometimes it's best to take a step and give it a little bit and let the situation play out and let humans also do what they do, assess, and then step in. I would say that that is something that I am learning from.

Japhet De Oliveira: Bonus question here. Malcolm Gladwell talks about this instinct that we have that is kind of like guttural to us and we sometimes ignore it. You talk about impulse. How do you make sure you don't miss those impulses that you have if you're pausing a little bit?

Ceci Tomono: Well, I think that it's reflection. It's a lot of reflection. When you have, it can be intuition sometimes-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: And you don't want to suppress that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: It's stopping, recognizing, "Okay, this is what I want to do, this is what my impulse is saying," recognizing that it's an impulse and it could be a good thing.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Exactly.

Ceci Tomono: That doesn't mean you're not going to do it, that just means take a step back and think about it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. I like it. Thank you. All right, where next?

Ceci Tomono: Okay. Why is that the hardest part of this right now is just picking these numbers?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, some people do say that.

Ceci Tomono: Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: I had one guy had a randomizer on his phone and he just picked his random.

Ceci Tomono: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Oh, that might be good. 43.

Japhet De Oliveira: 43. All right. Oh, tell us about the best gift you've ever received.

Ceci Tomono: I would say my parents, they paid for my education and for me the reason that was, it was the sacrifice behind it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure.

Ceci Tomono: We came when I was eight, there was a huge crisis, economic crisis in Peru at the time, inflation, scarcity of sugar and flour and all of the things. My parents were, they were well off in Peru and they had to kind of walk away from all that because they knew what was going to be the future for their kids. When they got here, they just started working, cleaning homes and just doing odd jobs. They never got a chance to go back to school for themselves. My mom was an accountant, my dad was an engineer, so they kind of just walked away from all of that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, my.

Ceci Tomono: Midlife. They were in their thirties and they, education was number one in our household-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: Even though we didn't have a lot, they never drove new cars. We never had really nice things. We just didn't, because it was all meant to, "Hey, we are going to sacrifice and pay for your education because that's why we're here."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. They invested really in your kids through you.

Ceci Tomono: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: They were thinking future.

Ceci Tomono: Yes, and now-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's pretty big.

Ceci Tomono: As an adult, and I've built a career and I've built a home and I've built all those things, to imagine to walk away from all of that-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: And to start at zero-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: For your children. That's the ultimate sacrifice I feel like.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's interesting. It reminds me, I talked to somebody the other day who now works at the Mayo Clinic. While he was studying his PhD, he was already an MD but could not practice in this country because-

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Not licensed, and so he was an Uber driver. That's how he made four or five years until he eventually graduated and went to the Mayo Clinic. It is interesting what some people have gone through.

Ceci Tomono: It is.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's a beautiful gift about your parents.

Ceci Tomono: It is. It's also what that does. Let's fast-forward to where I am now.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: It's also, you feel this sense of responsibility-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Where now it's on us to take care of them. It's just interesting dynamics.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Beautiful. Where next?

Ceci Tomono: 18.

Japhet De Oliveira: 18. All right, brilliant. Let's go there. If you could just eat, oh, this is great. If you could eat just one meal for an entire month, what would you choose as the one meal, three times a day, for an entire month?

Ceci Tomono: Oh. I don't know that there's anything I can... My tastes go everywhere. Probably some type of pasta.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Well, that gives you some flexibility, right?

Ceci Tomono: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Pasta in eight different ways, so there you go.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. All right. That was 18, so where next?

Ceci Tomono: Okay. 29.

Japhet De Oliveira: 29. Share three things that make you instantly happy.

Ceci Tomono: My children, my family, reading.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Food I just mentioned so many more. Shopping. I'm so easy to please. I don't know what my husband is talking about. I have so many things.

Japhet De Oliveira: We'll find out. That's awesome. That's awesome. Hey, that's great. Okay. That was 29, so where next?

Ceci Tomono: 33.

Japhet De Oliveira: 33. Oh. Tell us about the best gift you've ever given someone else. Oh.

Ceci Tomono: Oh.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hm.

Ceci Tomono: I can't think of. Well, I guess I could stay in the same realm as the gift that was given to me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: It was probably when I thanked my parents during my speech. I was a chairwoman of the Hispanic Chamber for Kern for two years, and I just kind of told my story on how we got to this country, it's a whole story, and what we went through and the why and the why it drives what I do and what I want to instill in my children and how hard that is in today's society because you didn't have the things you want to give those to your children, but you also want them to have the grit and you want them to have your drive. I dedicated the speech to my mom and dad and brought them upstage with me and-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Ceci Tomono: I think it was a very emotional moment for them.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is beautiful. You did mention grit right now, so I'm curious, do you believe grit is something people are born with or something that they can be taught or?

Ceci Tomono: It's interesting because I have two boys, and I bring it back to them because it's what I know, definitely genetics. My older one is just ready to take on the world and there is nothing that's going to stop that kid. Also, the social part of it is need.

Japhet De Oliveira: Right.

Ceci Tomono: Right? I truly believe, I mean, there's a quote and I'm going to butcher it.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's okay. That's okay.

Ceci Tomono: It's hard times create strong men. Strong men create easy times, easy times create-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Ceci Tomono: Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I'm seeing it play out by generation.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Because when we got here it was grit and hustle because you had to, we didn't have a choice, right? You really didn't. Of course there is genetics are a part of that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure.

Ceci Tomono: I was lucky that my parents were very focused on education and they were educated themselves so I realized that I had a privilege in that. But then I also see some of the things that drove me that my kids don't have that need.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: So it's hard.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: It is, it is. I think maybe every generation creates a different environment as well. Setting, but their story will be interesting.

Ceci Tomono: Absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah. All right, that's great. Where next?

Ceci Tomono: 13.

Japhet De Oliveira: 13. All right. Walk us through the ideal end of your day.

Ceci Tomono: End of my day-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Is family dinner at the table.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Home cooked meals.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Big on home cooked meals.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Just because I grew up that way, and now actually my mother has created monsters because she lived with us for the first 10 years of their lives. If I just say, "Hey, here's some drive-thru," they're so hurt by it. Isn't that crazy?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: The little one, he's so big on food. He comes in the house and starts smelling. He's like, "You didn't make anything today, mommy?" I'm sorry. No.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I've even tried to get food prepared and then bring that for dinner. He's like, "That didn't come from a pan."

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. Wow.

Ceci Tomono: Anyhow-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: If I can make it to a family dinner, home cooked, where they're happy, and just that moment to slow down and reflect that I would say would be a great day.

Japhet De Oliveira: There is something kind of magical about the table, right?

Ceci Tomono: There is.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: When you're sitting in front of each other, and they don't like it because I make them set it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: They're like, "Can we just eat at the counter? Because I don't want to set it."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah. No. Table, table.

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: We need more table time.

Ceci Tomono: We do need more table time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Hey, that's good. All right, where next?

Ceci Tomono: 43.

Japhet De Oliveira: 43. All right. Oh, we've done that one. Tell us about the best gift you've received.

Ceci Tomono: Oh, see?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. There's some numbers.

Ceci Tomono: Isn't there a random thing happening there?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: All right. 53.

Japhet De Oliveira: 53. Can you tell us about at least one important person in your life?

Ceci Tomono: I mean, there's-

Japhet De Oliveira: There's so many. I know.

Ceci Tomono: So many.

Japhet De Oliveira: I can tell.

Ceci Tomono: There is so many. I would go back to my dad.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Yeah. I have a soft spot for him.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great.

Ceci Tomono: Yeah, he's-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Ceci Tomono: Everything he's been through and just still continuing to be there and I see him struggle now where, I feel that for him, he wants to go back to his country, to Peru, because he came at 35, I believe. But now he has the grandchildren. It's like, "I'm done raising my kids and they're good and they have their own family and I kind of want to get-"

Japhet De Oliveira: They want to stay close.

Ceci Tomono: "Back to myself, but I'm not because I can't leave them." Even though he hasn't fully found himself here.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is complex.

Ceci Tomono: Very complex.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, but family.

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Hey, that's great. All right, we have time for two more.

Ceci Tomono: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Where do you want to go with your last two?

Ceci Tomono: Let's-

Japhet De Oliveira: Aw.

Ceci Tomono: 46.

Japhet De Oliveira: 46.

Ceci Tomono: Unless we did it already.

Japhet De Oliveira: Let's have a look here. Actually, this is perfect for you. Tell us about the best book you've ever read.

Ceci Tomono: Oh, so many.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know. That's-

Ceci Tomono: So many.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Ceci Tomono: I'm reading right now the Jackie Kennedy Onassis book.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Ceci Tomono: Public, Private, and Secret.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, and?

Ceci Tomono: It's so good.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's really?

Ceci Tomono: There's just a lot of great quotes.

Japhet De Oliveira: A lesson in transparency?

Ceci Tomono: Mm-hmm.

Japhet De Oliveira: Mm-hmm.

Ceci Tomono: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: It is, and it's got the history aspect to it, which I love. A lot of other great quotes from so many great writers and poets. I really enjoyed it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good. That's good. All right, last number.

Ceci Tomono: Okay. How about you pick for me?

Japhet De Oliveira: I would love to, but-

Ceci Tomono: You can't. Is that part of breaking the rules?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, it is. It's pretty sacred and I've never-

Ceci Tomono: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Done it for anyone.

Ceci Tomono: Wow, I see where I stand in the totem pole.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, with everyone.

Ceci Tomono: Okay. 41.

Japhet De Oliveira: 41. Oh, this is great. What are you excited about in life right now?

Ceci Tomono: I'm excited about all the things right now.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I would say work-wise, we are doing so many, we are in a period of growth and expansion and getting to do so many of the things that, "Oh, if we could do this, then maybe we could see that," and I feel like we are doing that today and just seeing where healthcare has shifted so much in the previous years. I'll just take physician practices for one, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: We have a lot of community physician practices here.

Japhet De Oliveira: Which is hard to recruit for, right?

Ceci Tomono: Very, very hard.

Japhet De Oliveira: Just to give a context, can you explain why it's so hard?

Ceci Tomono: Well, in a post pandemic world, the medical profession as a whole has really shifted. Recruiting pre COVID, it was, and there's a study on this merit, Hawkins did a study, the top three things that recruits are now looking for in the post pandemic world are work-life balance, flexibility, and then compensation. Compensation has been driven up increasingly-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: I'm sure a lot of my colleagues that you sit across this table could say it's driving them insane, and it's also the flexibility and the work-life balance. I think we have a opportunity now-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Because compensation, it is what it is. The economics do what it does behind it, but the flexibility, it really allows us to get creative like we haven't before. We're shaping now the way that we're delivering care because those that deliver care, physicians, they really dictate that, right? Now, as an organization, we have to shift our mindset and our structure and we get the chance to build it-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Which, to me, is exciting.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is.

Ceci Tomono: One of the examples is we have general surgery is just so hard to fill, and the generation before this generation of physicians, they were taking call 24/7, seeing a full practice, then seeing their elective patients. I mean, wow, this new generation is saying, "I'm not doing that. I do want to work and it needs to make sense."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: We're building these models where it's, "Okay, let's do shift work. If you work for seven days, you don't work for the other seven days." Then we have other people working there. It's just so interesting to see. A lot of these models have been done in the East Coast and our corporate team has been so great about shifting all of how we think.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure.

Ceci Tomono: It's so fun to be at the helm of that and to be able to win-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Ceci Tomono: In the sense of, there's a surgeon and I have offers from everywhere, but I'm going to come to you because you hear what I'm saying-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, yeah.

Ceci Tomono: Because you understand my need and I feel heard.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Ceci Tomono: That to me is so fun and exciting.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is great. Well, I'm glad you're in this role and I'm glad you're leading us in the space and recruiting brilliant physicians to come and be part of all the work that you guys do here in Kern County with this incredible hospital that we are in right now. We're actually in Bakersfield Hospital right here.

Ceci Tomono: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's pretty fantastic. Amazing staff.

Ceci Tomono: Absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Thank you for the time. I want to encourage people to do the same thing, sit down with a friend across the table, maybe over great food. We should have done that. We should have had great food. Although-

Ceci Tomono: I could think of a couple things.

Japhet De Oliveira: The sound of eating is not as much fun on a recording, but it's great in person. Ask good questions, learn, and we will all be better for it. Blessings to you, Ceci. Have an incredible day and for the next episode, we'll connect soon.

Ceci Tomono: You're awesome. Thank you.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story and Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience@adventisthealth.org/story. The Story and Experience Podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health through the office of Culture.