Colleen Assavapisitkul

Colleen Assavapisitkul
Episode 88

Join host, Japhet De Oliveira, as he delves into Colleen Assavapisitkul's inspiring evolution from nursing to presidency, her affection for "Emperor's New Groove," and her knack for cooking delicious Thai food.
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"So I'm blessed. I have four children. I have two grandchildren. I've lived in Hawaii, I've lived in Thailand, I've lived in America, obviously, on the West Coast mostly. Look at my career for Pete's sake. Who would've ever thought. I would've never thought this is where I would be. Being a nurse, having the experiences I've had, having the friends I have. I'm just blessed."

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. And I am delighted with our guest. It has been quite a while to be able to track this guest down and to be able to secure them, but they are here today. So, if you are brand new to this podcast, know that we have 100 questions. They become more vulnerable, more open as we get closer to the hundred. And they're about stories and experiences that shape this person into the leader that they are today. See their eyes are rolling and looking around and smiling. We'll begin straight away. Question number one, could you tell us your name and does anybody ever mispronounce it?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Well, that's actually a really good question. My name is Colleen Assavapisitkul, so you can imagine-

Japhet De Oliveira: Do that again slowly for everybody.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... Colleen.

Japhet De Oliveira: That part we got.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Assavapisitkul.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my goodness.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Brilliant.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And so, you can imagine that yes, everybody mispronounces my name. What is funny though is that frequently people mispronounce my first name too, because my name is Colleen with a long O. And they pronounce it Colleen. I don't care necessarily, but since you're going to ask me about the pronunciation of my name-

Japhet De Oliveira: We might as well at it right.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... let's just get the first name right and then you can call me Colleen.

Japhet De Oliveira: Colleen. Okay.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So, you can call me Colleen A., Colleen with the long last name. Or hey, hey you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, you.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: That all works.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, hey you, Colleen, what do you do for work?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I actually am a nurse by training and have currently within the last, maybe 14 months now, became the president of Adventist Health Clear Lake.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah. And prior to that, I was the patient care executive at Adventist Health Clear Lake for about nine years. So just a recent promotion turned me into a novice, again, in a new profession, so to speak.

Japhet De Oliveira: Was it hard to hire somebody to replace you after you've done it for so long?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: It was only in the sense that I didn't want to let go of the people.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: My relationships with people and stuff.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. But are you enjoy the new role?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I am.

Japhet De Oliveira: And I've heard so many great things, and I've seen you in action.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Well, thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Superb. That's fantastic. So in the morning when you get up, first drink of the day. Water, coffee, tea, liquid green smoothie?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: A hundred percent water.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. How? Cold, warm.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Room temperature.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah. And usually one glass first, and then I head off to exercise and then drink some more water.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. Look at you.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah. Definitely a water drinker.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Great. That's fantastic.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: You could say I'm a heavy drinker, but it's only water.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. We'll just tweet part of that.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Colleen, where were you born?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I was actually born in Roseville, California.

Japhet De Oliveira: Were you really?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Is that crazy?

Japhet De Oliveira: That is. That's amazing. And when you were a child, what did you imagine you would've grew up to be?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I actually, from a very young age, wanted to be a nurse. My parents had kind of encouraged me along that line. I'm the youngest of six and was really into kind of caring for people. I like to take care of people. So they encouraged me to be a nurse. I had a stint in high school when I thought it'd be super fun to be a PE teacher in high school because I love sports. And my dad said, okay, I'll make you a deal. Become a nurse first, and then if you want to go back and be a PE teacher, you can.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's a fair trade. Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah. And I've never gone back to be the PE teacher.

Japhet De Oliveira: But you are doing it every day with your water and your exercise.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Exactly.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. If people were to describe your personality, would they say you are an extrovert or introvert, and would you agree?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I actually feel like I'm somewhere in the middle. I would say most people say that I am friendly and kind. I don't see myself as extremely extroverted, although was when I was younger. Now I tend to really appreciate my quiet time a lot more. So I think I'm kind of in the middle.

Japhet De Oliveira: In the middle.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Smack dab there.

Japhet De Oliveira: And are you an early riser or late night owl?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I'm actually an early riser.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. And what's that?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I'm always up by five.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really? Okay.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Sometimes, unfortunately, recently tends to be four.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: If I'm stressed, I always go to bed... I mean, I can always go to sleep. The stress hits me at 3:00 AM and then I wake up and I'm awake.

Japhet De Oliveira: And you're up and you're thinking about... All right. So when you woke up this morning, first thought that went through your mind?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I better go get on my bike.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Do you do the bike every day?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I do some form of exercise, yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. It's not one of those Peloton things where they're screaming at you?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: It's a hybrid Peloton because I'm cheap. So I have the exercise bike, and then I just do Peloton on my iPad.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's very clever.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So I do the cheap version of the Peloton.

Japhet De Oliveira: I just have a regular bike that I put on a stand and my phone talks to me and screams at me. That's good. Hey, that's fantastic. All right. A leadership question here. Are you a backseat driver?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: My husband would say I'm a side seat driver for sure. Yes. Am I a backseat driver as a leader, do you mean?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I think so. I try to let people move forward. Sometimes I try to ask the questions that we'll see if they're thinking through the process fully before decisions are made. But I do try to include the team in decision making.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I try to be very collaborative.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Good. Well, that's the beginning. So now the floor is open and you get to choose between 11 and 100 where you want to go. And which number first?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. Well, let me see. I'm going to go with number 12 first.

Japhet De Oliveira: Number 12. What's your favorite movie or book of all time?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Oh goodness. Can I do both?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, you can do both.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Well, okay. So my favorite movie, do not laugh at me.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm holding you back.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: My favorite movie is Emperor's New Groove by Disney.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. I'm not laughing, I'm just happy.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. And the reason is because of the comedy that goes on between Kronk and Yzma, and of course the llama. I can't remember his name. Anyway, but there's just something about that movie that cracks me up every single time I watch it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Oh, I like that. All right. And then book?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I have a book that I really love. It's by Terri Favish. It's an older book and it's a Christian book, and it's based on the life of Joseph.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's right. She wrote a few though, didn't she?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah, she wrote a few of those.

Japhet De Oliveira: The Joseph one is really good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah, the Joseph one's awesome.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's fantastic.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So for a while I was reading that every year, year and a half. I would just reread it for fun when I had a few days off.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's written so well.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah. And it's a cool story about how somebody who didn't think they would be a leader, God turned them into a leader. So it's pretty cool.

Japhet De Oliveira: I've forgotten about that. That's a great book.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's super. Okay, good. That was 12. Where do you want to go next?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: 17.

Japhet De Oliveira: 17. All right. You look at the calendar and you think about one day that is the most special day in the entire calendar. Why?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Are you talking about for a month, a week or a year?

Japhet De Oliveira: A year. One day that's the most special. It is either Thanksgiving or Christmas. And the either comes in because my children now are older and grown, and I have two grandchildren. So we divide with the other in-laws. So either we get Christmas or Thanksgiving every other year.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I know.

Japhet De Oliveira: So it's when we get the whole family together and we just get to be together, all of us.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: That's great.

Japhet De Oliveira: And spouses and all of that, and grandkids. It's just super fun.

I've got to ask, because everybody's going to be wondering, do your grandkids like Emperors... What is it? The Emperor's-

Colleen Assavapisitkul: New Groove.

Japhet De Oliveira: ... New Groove.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So they are both Disney fans. I actually just recently asked my older granddaughter, who's only five, if she had watched Emperor's New Groove yet. She has not watched that one because she's totally fixated on Frozen.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, I know. I might be as well.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. I told my daughter it's time for her to watch the Emperor's New Groove.

Japhet De Oliveira: Time to grow up. All right, that's good. All right, good. Where next.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Let's do 21.

Japhet De Oliveira: 21. Okay. This is great. Share the best compliment you've ever received.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: The best compliment I've ever received. Do you know what, I'm going to pick one that's recent and I will tell you... I was complimented for teaching a class at church and just basically said, wow, you're such an amazing public speaker.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And that shocked me because that has been a major growth trajectory for me. So that compliment was like, wow, okay. I guess I'm growing.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is fantastic. Oh, you're a good public speaker. That's great. It's fantastic and I agree. It is a skill, right? That everybody has to hone.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Right.

Japhet De Oliveira: So good for you. Nice. Okay. Where next?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: 27.

Japhet De Oliveira: 27. Bring us into your kitchen for a special meal, what would you be making?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I would be making Thai food.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yes. My husband's from Thailand, hence this crazy last name that I carry. And let's see, what would I have? I would have probably yellow curry tofu, and I would have some mango and sticky rice for dessert.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And I'd have Somtum, which is their green papaya salad. And my favorite, Dom Kha. But I would call it Dom Pok because instead of chicken... Or Dom Kha Gai is chicken. Dom Kha Pok is with vegetables. Because I'm a vegetarian.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So those are some of the foods I just love to eat.

Japhet De Oliveira: Now, that's a spicy one, that soup, right?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: A little bit, but it's like the coconut based one.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, that's good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: You can't go wrong with coconut.

Japhet De Oliveira: You can't.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: No.

Japhet De Oliveira: And do you bake your tofu or make it crispy before you put it in the curry? Or is it soft?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: It's usually just soft. I try to shorten the steps because if you've ever made Thai food or any Asian food, you can spend hours chopping.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm learning. I'm trying. That's good. All right, that was 27. Where'd you want to go next?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Let's do 30.

Japhet De Oliveira: 30. Tell us about something that you're really looking forward to.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Ah, really looking forward to. I guess it's wrong to say my next vacation, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: No, that's great. Why not?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: No, I'm actually really looking forward to feeling more confident as a president. And by that I don't mean that I'm not confident now. What I mean is that feeling like, okay-

Japhet De Oliveira: You're in your groove.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... I'm in my groove. And I've got people aligned where I need them, and we're really just driving amazing change in our community.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, and you guys are doing lots of changes as well.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: And you're moving lots of things and great initiatives, so it's a lot at the same time. Well, good for you. All right, that's great. Where next after 30.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Let's do 33.

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

Colleen Assavapisitkul: The best gift I've ever given someone-

Japhet De Oliveira: Someone else.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... else.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. You're like, oh, I did a good job with that one.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I try to make gifts personal. So even for staff or employees, when I'm doing something, I try to pay attention to things that they like. I think probably the best gifts I've given was for my husband. He's gone through this phase. Well, both of us are going through these phases where instead of buying gift gifts, we want experiences. So a few years ago when he kind of started this whole trajectory of wanting an experience, we got him a really good golf experience with some... He could take the kids with him and that kind of thing.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah, so I think that was a good gift.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: That's the one I can think of right now. Sorry.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's okay. Well, he'll be pleased when he hears this.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: There you go.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's great.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: He may not listen.

Japhet De Oliveira: We'll have to coax him into that.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, where next then after 33?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Let's do 37.

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

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Oh my goodness. So I just love my family. We are very unique in a sense that we've kind of always just been together. We've lived in multiple places around the world, so we've learned to be together and appreciate each other's differences. And we've done things together. If we're going for a hike, the kids go for a hike. WE always played sports together. We had a little basketball hoop outside the house and we all would play that together. My oldest daughter doesn't necessarily like sports outside of volleyball. So then we would do the craft and the creative things with her.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So it's just hanging. And then one of my favorite things is that we have a propensity to randomly burst into song.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So we'll be standing around cooking dinner or whatever and when we're together, and somebody will start with You Ain't Nothing But A Hound Dog from Elvis Presley. And we all just start belting it out. And I didn't think so much about it until one of my older daughter's friends came over one time and said, I have never seen a family do this. And it doesn't matter if we have company or not. If we're doing it, it happens.

Japhet De Oliveira: You're going to sing.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah. So we just have fun that way.

Japhet De Oliveira: Do you like The Sound Of Music, then?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: We actually do. And do you know that most of their childhood, they were raised in Thailand, and so we had all those really old, fun musicals on video.

Japhet De Oliveira: Like The King And I?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yes. So with The Sound Of Music, my kids were so good at The Sound Of Music, they could basically quote and then sing every song. And quote most of the-

Japhet De Oliveira: Script as well.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... Yeah.

That's great.

Japhet De Oliveira: So no, we love that. My kids still love musicals.

Yeah, I love musicals too. I'm with you. All right. Oh, so good. Brilliant. All right, we're next now?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. I finished 37, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yep.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And how many more questions do I have so I know where I'm headed?

Japhet De Oliveira: It's actually time and so I don't know. It depends how long you take to reply.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So it depends on if I'm-

Japhet De Oliveira: If you have one word answers, we may have a lot of questions.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... Okay. So you're telling me to be more long-winded?

Japhet De Oliveira: No. I'm saying enjoy yourself and then I'll let you know when there's just two left.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. Let's do 41.

Japhet De Oliveira: 41.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I don't think we've done a one yet.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. What are you excited about life right now?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: What am I excited about life?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I'm excited about the possibilities of life. Yeah. I mean, there's so much. This new change in my career, which is exciting because we all spend so much time at work. But also just the excitement of being a grandparent. Having those wonderful relationships with my adult children now and my husband. And sort of being empty nesters. We were empty nesters and when my youngest went to college and then COVID hit.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And he moved back home. And I hope I can say this, Ernie, I still love you. But I looked at my husband, I said, wait a minute. I'm not done with my empty nest yet. So now my youngest son is home part of the time, but not all the time. So it's just renewing our relationships in different ways, hanging out together, cycling, going to the beach. It's just, life is good.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Life is good.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is pretty good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: It's so much better than the alternative.

Japhet De Oliveira: And it's exceptional with family that you love and love you.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Very much so.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good. That's encouraging. I think people should spend more time with their family.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yes, I would agree.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good. All right, where next off that?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: 44.

Japhet De Oliveira: 44. What is something that you are proud to have created?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. I don't think I can take full credit for my children. I will say, there's probably two things. Can I do a personal and a public?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, sure.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Or a professional?

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Professionally, I'm really proud of the work that we've done at Adventist Health Clear Lake to drive quality of care and getting the five stars from CMS. And then now getting the US News and World Report Awards and all of that work. Because when I went there, the hospital was so-

Japhet De Oliveira: It's all a journey.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... Yeah. It was a journey. And staff didn't believe in themselves. So to take them from there to where they are now has just been so phenomenal to create that culture of excellence.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And then personally, a couple years ago, I decided for stress relief that I needed to take up one of my bucket list things. I always said when I retire, I'm going to learn how to watercolor paint.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So one day I was talking to my hairdresser and she said, why are you waiting? I teach watercolor classes. Come to my class.

Japhet De Oliveira: No way. Okay. All right.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Right? So I went to her class and lo and behold, it actually looks like a pear. I don't consider myself a creative soul. But that started me on this journey of watercolor painting. And for some reason, I tend to watercolor paint animals. which is, I don't know, I guess I love animals too. But they've turned out pretty good.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's exciting.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I've given them as gifts to people. And mind you, I'm not professional and I wouldn't probably ever be able to sell anything, but at least most of the people who get them seem to appreciate that I spent the effort to do it for them.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's pretty good. That's fantastic. And you're not talking about just one blot of paint, right?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: No.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm kidding.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: No impressionist work here. This is actually, looks like a true animal.

Japhet De Oliveira: That spatter is a rhino. That's great. Oh, good for you.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Right.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right then. Where next?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I'm on 44, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: You can see I'm slowly creeping up, right? Okay. Let's go to 47.

Japhet De Oliveira: 47. All right. You've just met someone.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: What would you want them to know about you and why?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: When I generally introduce myself to people, I introduce myself as Colleen Assavapisitkul, but don't worry about my last name and you'll never have to pronounce it again.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So really I just want people to know that I care about people and that I want to interact. I use my name as an icebreaker, which I have no problem with. A couple of my kids are like, oh my goodness, this name. Can't wait to marry out of it. But I just find it as such an amazing name. So I feel like by sharing that part of myself and not being offended if somebody mispronounces it or makes a joke about it or whatever, it gives us an opportunity to connect about something that's a little bit quirky. And by the way, if you ever see an Assavapisitkul in this country, they are my relative. Because it's only us.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. That's great. Yeah, I've actually seen you do that in some of our meetings in the last three years, four years, where I think the very first time I heard you speak was actually in an online meeting. And you introduced your name and somebody made a quip about it and you were very gracious and fun about it.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah.

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

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. Let's be brave and hit number 50. I heard that they get super hard after 50.

Japhet De Oliveira: I don't know where you heard that. These are all great questions.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: So this is a great question for you. Share about who has influenced you professionally?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Oh, who has influenced me professionally? So you're going to think this is a weird statement, but I actually had a teacher in high school who influenced me a lot-

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... to become who I am professionally. I look at a lot of, if you want to talk about famous people, there are people like Mother Teresa or John Maxwell and his leadership skills. People closer to home. When I first started working as a nurse, I had a nursing unit director who... This is back in the day when things were paper and you actually sat in a room and did your shift change in a room. Everybody's sitting at the table, went over all the patients. And she gave a little worship talk before-

Japhet De Oliveira: You did the meeting, yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... Yeah, change of shift. And she started crying during this thing and just tearing up. But she could talk through it. And I remember looking at her thinking, wow, how does she do that? Because at that time, and people who know me well, know this about me, I am a weeper. I admit it. And if something touches my heart, even if I'm public speaking, I will start to cry a little bit or I'll choke up. That woman actually taught me it's okay. Because it was like, oh no, it's okay to be this way and to accept this about yourself. There's just been so many influences in my life. And then I always turn to really my Christian faith as learning how should I treat people in general. And leadership really is about how you treat people.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Right? So I turn to Jesus a lot and I turn to my Bible a lot. When I get really stressed or something crazy is going on. I'm like, okay, let me go kind of reset where I need to be.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. It grounds you. That's great. That's good. All right. That was 50.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. We'll go to 53, then.

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

Colleen Assavapisitkul: At least one important person?

Japhet De Oliveira: One important person in your life. Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. Well, I've already talked about my teachers and some of the other people, so obviously my husband's very important to me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well seel, that's why he should listen to this.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Right? He should. I'm sure he will. And he's funny because he's probably my biggest supporter. And what's funny, honestly Japhet, is that when we first got married, which was a long time ago, and I had just graduated from nursing school and I remember him telling me, when you become a vice president. And I just looked at him and I said, okay, you're nuts. There is no way I will ever do that. I don't want to do that. That's not my career goal at all. So when I became a vice president-

Japhet De Oliveira: Did he bring that up?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... He did. We had a really good laugh about that and that it was interesting to me that he saw that in me way before I ever saw it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And so it's just neat when you have that kind of a person in your life who knows you better sometimes than you know yourself.

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

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: I love that. That's beautiful.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: Good. All right. That was 53. So where now?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: 56. Haven't done a six yet.

Japhet De Oliveira: Share an activity that makes you lose track of time.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Oh, an activity that makes me lose track of time. Reading.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I love to read.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I shouldn't say this, unfortunately. I tend to read way too many work focused books, career focused books, now. But if you give me a good book that's not... And workbooks are good and I do love reading them. But recently I was on vacation and I picked up a book from the library on the cruise I was on. And I read it over the course of a day and a half. My husband's like, really? Can we go do something besides the book right now? But it's just a space where I can go and-

Japhet De Oliveira: Your imagination.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... Yeah. And I love books I think more than movies because in a book I get to create what somebody looks like.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes you do.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Versus in a movie, they're like-

Japhet De Oliveira: Not quite.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: ... somebody else created them and they're not quite right. It's like Pride And Prejudice. You read that. You love that. And then you watch the movie, you're like, wait, no, no, no.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's hard. Yeah, it is.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: That's not right.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's so true. Our imagination can go see, you are very creative. There you go.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Ah, okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. We're next then?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Ah, my turn. 59.

Japhet De Oliveira: 59. In your opinion, what subject should we add to school curriculum and at what age should it be?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Oh, wow. This is interesting because my oldest daughter is a teacher.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, okay.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And she has taught me a lot, actually. Let's see, what topic should we add to school and at what age?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: When I think about today's school system, and mind you, my children all have at least graduated from college. My youngest is 22. So it's been a while since I've been deeply meshed into what's in the school curriculum.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure. Fair enough. It may already be there.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Right. I think though that really the kindness to others, the being respectful of people who are different from yourself for whatever reason. Some of that diversity work and just being accepting. And not only of ethnic or national or those kind of things, but also belief systems. I think right now the world seems to be polarizing a little bit more.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And I wish we could teach our children not to be that way.

Japhet De Oliveira: Appreciate it a little bit wider.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: I think that'd be good. I mean, you do it in healthcare all the time, right?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Sure. Absolutely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Every patient's welcome no matter what. That's key.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And I will tell you, living overseas, and I lived in Japan for about six, eight months, and then I lived in Thailand for eight years. It gives you a perspective that's so different. Because when I came back from Thailand, the thing I learned... Well, I learned a hundred things there, probably a thousand. But one of the key things I learned was that the American way of thinking isn't the only way. And it's not necessarily the right way.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fair.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I mean, it might be the right way for Americans, but for other people they're just as right. It's just different. So I think those are the things that where, I feel like culturally American's drifting away from that. We're becoming very polarized.

Japhet De Oliveira: I sense that it's of every culture struggling with this right now. They're all of every country, it is. It's a common thing. Hey, that's good. We have time, can you believe it, for two more only?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay.

Japhet De Oliveira: So where would you like to go?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Well, let's do... What number did I just give you? Why can't I remember anything?

Japhet De Oliveira: That's okay. I'm trying to look it up myself.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay, nevermind. Let's do 70.

Japhet De Oliveira: It was 59.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Oh, it was 59? Wait, wait. 65. Let's do 65.

Japhet De Oliveira: 65. Share one word that would describe your past and then unpack that one word.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Blessed.

Japhet De Oliveira: Blessed. Okay, good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay. So I'm blessed. I have four children. I have two grandchildren. I've lived in Hawaii, I've lived in Thailand, I've lived in America, obviously, on the West Coast mostly. Look at my career for Pete's sake. Who would've ever thought. I would've never thought this is where I would be. Being a nurse, having the experiences I've had, having the friends I have. I'm just blessed.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's pretty good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: I feel totally blessed.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. And being blessed, then you get to bless others.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: That's my goal.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know. That's good. I feel that about your presence as well and the way that you work and the interactions we have and so it is good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is good. All right, where'd you want to go with your last number?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Okay, my last number. I'm going to be brave, but I'm only going to go... Okay. I'm going to go to 78.

Japhet De Oliveira: 78. Oh, tell us about what gives you childlike joy. How good is that?

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Oh my goodness. That's like the best question.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's the best question ever for you.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: So there are times at work, and if you've worked with me much or if you talk to my staff, where sometimes if you're on a meeting with me, you might actually see me do a happy dance. It's kind of scary. But there are just some things in just when you're surprised with something that you've worked really hard for. When we got our five star status at the hospital, that brought pure joy to my heart. But there's also much simpler things.

Sometimes it's just your grandkid calling you on FaceTime and screaming at the top of their lungs. I love you grandma B. And it's the joy that just fills you. And I think that life is tough enough. It's really good to just look for those moments where you can find the joy. And in fact, one year, not giving away too much, but one year, one of my passwords... So my passwords on my computers are always things that I want to think about every time I type it in. It's like, if I have to type this a hundred times today, it's going to be something.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's something good.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: And one year my password was bring joy.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. I hope for the O, it was a zero.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm just kidding. IT would be happy with that.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: There you go. I'm not giving you the entire password. I'm only giving you the words.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Colleen has been fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: You bet.

Japhet De Oliveira: And I just want to encourage everybody like I do every week and every time we record on these sessions here, just to remind you that you should do the same thing. Sit down with someone, if you don't know them, just ask good questions. They will share amazing experiences that will change them and yourself as well. And we all grow for it. We're all better for it. So God bless everybody and until we connect again. And thank you again, Colleen.

Colleen Assavapisitkul: 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 at The Story and Experience podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health through the Office of Culture.