"Every morning I pray for the leadership of our company, that God will lead them, because I just can't imagine what they've got on their shoulders."
Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story & 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 brilliant and fantastic episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. I'm very excited about our guest today. It has actually taken a little bit of cajoling, and begging, and it finally... She's smiling, but you'll see, it's been a journey. But we're excited to be able to have our guest join us today. For anybody who's brand new, the way it works, it's really simple, is that we have 100 questions. They become a little bit more vulnerable and open towards 100. And our guest gets to pick between one and 100, which questions they want to do. I'm going to ask the first 10 because they're pretty straightforward and fantastic. And as I can see, she's smiling right now. I'm going to begin straight away with the question number one. Could you tell us your name and does anybody ever mess it up?
Debi Beach: My name is Debi Beach. And well, they mess it up more in the spelling than the saying. Because the typical is B-E-E-C-H instead of B-E-A-C-H, which is amazing to me because... So what I say is it's Debi Beach, like the sand, and the beach, and the ocean kind of thing. I think the most people have had fun with was with my sons when they were playing soccer, the coach would call them, "Son of a Beach."
Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, well.
Debi Beach: Yeah. Which was accurate, but, yeah.
Japhet De Oliveira: It was accurate.
Debi Beach: I wasn't thrilled.
Japhet De Oliveira: Know you Debi. I'm pretty sure that's true. You would not have been thrilled for that. Debi, why don't you share with everybody what you do for work at the moment?
Debi Beach: I work in the Roseville site and I'm in charge of the operations for the building. Currently, it's two buildings, the Roseville main building and also at Douglas, where we have telepharmacy. So, I work for John Beaman, taking care of the ins and outs logistics of the building, which I absolutely love.
Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Now, the Roseville site, for somebody, let's say they're in, I don't know, Denmark, and they'll listen to this. What does a Roseville site mean for them?
Debi Beach: Good point. So, well, the Roseville, California, is where the Adventist Health headquarters is located. And so, it's really the business arm. Doesn't mean we don't have business people in our different locales, but it's the main headquarters for the Adventist Health System.
Japhet De Oliveira: Brilliant. And you've been doing that for a while.
Debi Beach: I have, this particular job I've been doing for three, four years now.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. But you've been with Adventist Health a lot longer than that, right?
Debi Beach: Yeah. I started as a wee child in 1983. So, long ago.
Japhet De Oliveira: Wee child?
Debi Beach: Yes.
Japhet De Oliveira: They were into child labor I see.
Debi Beach: Yeah, exactly. Oh, yes.
Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. That's fantastic. Well, brilliant. I was going to ask you how long you've been in this current role, but you've already shared that, which is great. So, let's go to the question of, in the morning. What's your drink of choice that you start the day off in? Do you have tea? Do you have coffee, water, liquid, green smoothie?
Debi Beach: Yeah. First I start with water and then I go to coffee.
Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. And how do you like your coffee Debi?
Debi Beach: I like it with cream and sugar. I should say sweetening. Because I've tried to get some kind of sweetener. And sometimes I have a little more cream than coffee, it seems like.
Japhet De Oliveira: I like it. Have you ever tried honey?
Debi Beach: I have. It's just messy.
Japhet De Oliveira: It's messy? All right. That's fair enough. All right. Debi, where were you born?
Debi Beach: Fresno, California. So, the Central Valley.
Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. I presume you've been back?
Debi Beach: I have a family who live there. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I lived there with my parents. We lived in six, seven different houses. So, we moved a lot in that area. Lived up in the mountains, near Yosemite for a while. But lived there till I was 18, went away to college, and then never lived there again.
Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. That's brilliant. And when you were a child, what did you imagine you would've grew up to be?
Debi Beach: I was going to be a teacher.
Japhet De Oliveira: Really?
Debi Beach: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Of kindergarten to third grade. Something like that.
Japhet De Oliveira: Well, you have an entirely different job now, although you do teach a little bit in some respects, helping out in the company. So, what made the shift?
Debi Beach: Well, when I went to college, they told me that I wasn't smart enough. Yeah. That I should probably do something more like secretarial work, which doesn't say a whole lot, right? Yeah, so that is what I did.
Japhet De Oliveira: That is interesting. I read, I'm trying to remember the name of the book, it's called First. And I'm trying to remember the whole story behind it, but it's the biography of this particular leader. And just, it's a brilliant story about how people didn't believe that she could do it when she first started college and encouraged her the same way as you did. But she became pretty phenomenal. So it's good stuff. That's good. Well, well done for you for not listening and deciding to go, right? Hey, let's talk about personality a little bit here. If people were to describe you, would they describe you as an introvert or an extrovert? And would you agree?
Debi Beach: Probably more introvert and I would agree.
Japhet De Oliveira: And you would agree? So you get your quiet time and you like that?
Debi Beach: Oh yeah.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's good. And then habits, are you one of those early risers or late night owls?
Debi Beach: I'm an early riser, usually somewhere around five, 5:30 in the morning.
Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. And the first thought that comes through your mind this morning, what was it?
Debi Beach: "Oh, I'm alive."
Japhet De Oliveira: "Oh, I'm alive." Hey, I like that. That's beautiful. Every day, fresh day, I'm with you on that. So, here's a leadership question. You have a lot of teams that you take care of and lead. And are you a backseat driver?
Debi Beach: I guess it depends on who you ask, Japhet. I try not to be, but I think that is one of those things that I work on. To give direction but not necessarily be the backseat driver.
Japhet De Oliveira: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Hey, that's good. And I appreciate the honesty as well. It's easy for people to be able to just present what they think they should be. So, it's good. I appreciate it about you, Debi. All right. So we're done with the first 10 questions. That was pretty easy as you see, and now we're getting to you pick a number, and between 11 and 100 and we'll see where the journey takes us.
Debi Beach: Okay. Let's do 60.
Japhet De Oliveira: 60? All right? I'm going to take it back. All right. Here we go. So, when in life have you felt most alone?
Debi Beach: In life, I would say probably more a life experience. And I would say it was probably when I was diagnosed with cancer. It was alone, but I wasn't alone. I mean, I had people there, but it's pretty much about you. I mean, it's all internal, right? It's your body, it's what you have to go through, and nobody can take that experience for you. So, that was probably a high and a low point.
Japhet De Oliveira: And that's recent for you, right?
Debi Beach: Yeah. Four years ago.
Japhet De Oliveira: Four years ago. This is not a question in the list of the questions here, but you shared, so I'm going to go down this path, and I appreciate that about you, Debi. You're absolutely right. I'd love you to just unpack that little bit about, you can have lots of people around you, who love you, and are there, and supporting you, but yet you still feel alone. Do you think everybody goes through that who...
Debi Beach: Who has something like that? Probably. It's one of the things I've, through my years of different experiences, I've tried to be more cognizant, or aware of who I am, my body, as well as my mind, being aware of my strengths and my weaknesses. Just to be more of a aware person. So I think it probably depends for people to what degree they know themselves, that they can be aware of the loneliness, and what that means. I think for me, the loneliness brought me to a point of my spiritual journey as well. So it was, when I look back, a very good thing. Difficult, but very good. Because I realized I could not get through this on my own, or even with the help of my family. I had to reach deeper for help beyond myself.
Japhet De Oliveira:
Hey, that's beautiful, and that's true. And I think that's a good word of comfort to anyone right now, who's also experiencing the same thing. Yeah. It is a unique journey, but I appreciate that. Thank you for sharing, Debi. All right. So, you started off very light there, number 60. You think to go next? I know, it's fantastic. Hey-
Debi Beach: Let's go to 20. Try something less heavy.
Japhet De Oliveira: These stories and experiences, I mean, that's what this podcast is, they really do, they shape us, they make us into who you are. And so, I appreciate that you are helping us. All right. Number 20. Tell us about something... Oh, and knowing this a little bit about you, tell us, this would be hard. Tell us something that you would rate 10 out of 10.
Debi Beach: Oh.
Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yes. Not easy.
Debi Beach: No, 10 out of 10. Wow. I just don't think it's possible. Not in this world anyway.
Japhet De Oliveira: Well.
Debi Beach: Wow. I thought that was supposed to be easier.
Japhet De Oliveira: I thought 60 was hard, but clearly, 20, way harder.
Debi Beach: It is way harder, harder for me. I try not to be too judgmental, but I'd have to say, probably, this brings it to light that I'm a little bit more than I thought I was. Yeah, it does.
Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. What would be close to 10 out of 10 then?
Debi Beach: Well, one of the things that I absolutely love is a vanilla latte from Starbucks. So if I had to pick somewhere to go to get?
Japhet De Oliveira: That would be it?
Debi Beach: That would be it.
Japhet De Oliveira: Have you tried the blonde latte? The blonde flat white?
Debi Beach: That's what I get. Oh, I love... The flat white's good.
Japhet De Oliveira: The flat white's good, I'm with you. Okay. Hey, that's great. All right. Close to 10. Starbucks will be very happy to hear that. All right. Where do you want to go off 20 then?
Debi Beach: Oh, let's see. How about 35.
Japhet De Oliveira: 35? Brilliant. Ooh, share a special interest. A unique talent that you have. Yeah.
Debi Beach: Well, one of the things I love to do is to knit. So whether it's knit scarves, sweaters, hats, whatever. I love to knit and I'm pretty good at it. And one of the things that I think makes me good is that it's about the process. It's that the stitches are even, that it fits for the person, whether it's the colors, or the type of material, or whatever. So it's maybe the details of that, but I've been doing it since fifth grade, when my fifth grade teacher taught us how to knit. She was from Germany and had escaped the Nazi youth camp that they had. And so, she would tell us her stories while she taught us how to knit. And, yeah. So it was very was wonderful. I loved her as a teacher and I learned. And so, it's been a lot of years.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's beautiful. So the knitting, for you, is more than the actual act as well. It's also this memory. That's great. Oh, it's incredible how we have teachers that have transformed us.
Debi Beach: Yes.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.
Debi Beach: Yes. As opposed to the one who said I wasn't smart enough.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Ignore that. Well, you beat that one. You're in charge of operations. I mean, you take care of it. Hey, no, that's great. That's really fantastic. All right. Where would you want to like to go next?
Debi Beach: Okay. How about 13?
Japhet De Oliveira: 13? All right. Here it is. Oh. Walk us through the ideal end of your day.
Debi Beach: Oh.
Japhet De Oliveira: The ideal end of your day.
Debi Beach: I would say that the notebook that I always carry, because I can't seem to figure out how to use the computer to my satisfaction of taking notes, where I've written the things that I need to do for the day, that I check marks on all on those things. And it's, "This was a great day."
Japhet De Oliveira: That's beautiful.
Debi Beach: That's the end of the work week. The end of the night is PJs and I'm reading. I love to read.
Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. What book are you reading at the moment?
Debi Beach: I am reading Prophets and Kings.
Japhet De Oliveira: Ooh, nice. That's a great story book. Oh.
Debi Beach: It's wonderful.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's a great storybook. Yeah, no, it's super rich. I love it as well. It's pretty good. Great. All right. Where would you like to go next?
Debi Beach: Let's see. How about 15?
Japhet De Oliveira: 15? All right. Here it is. What is the one thing that you always misplace?
Debi Beach: My glasses. How can that be? But it is.
Japhet De Oliveira: You have them on your head sometimes, and you misplace them, or literally misplace them?
Debi Beach: No, really. Where are they? Did I leave them in this room, that room? And I search through, and I'll drive off, and I'll go, "Oh my goodness. I found my glasses."
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. I have two pairs. I have one for working on the computer and one that I use for driving. The worst is if you get in the car and you're, "Uh-uh (negative). That's the wrong pair." You have to go back. I'm with you. All right. Where next?
Debi Beach: Oh, let's see. How about 40?
Japhet De Oliveira: 40? All right. Let's see here. Tell us about a time that you failed.
Debi Beach: Oh, wow. Which one do I pick? I would say way back in my early years in working. I worked at Loma Linda University Medical Center in IT. And, I started there as a secretary, and then I became a programmer analyst. I was not a good programmer. And, I was given an assignment of what I needed to write. I needed to write this program for this department. And I'm a good analyst, I'm not a good programmer. And I bring this up more just because again, it was one of those things of aware of who you are, and what you do well, and what you don't do well.
And I had to come to the terms that I chose an area that I thought was going to be good for me, programming, and I just wasn't. And the two guys that I shared an office with rescued me and fixed the programming so I didn't look so awful. But I say it was a failure, but it was one that I learned I needed to find a job that I could just do well, and that was to be an analyst. And that actually brought me to Adventist Health, that decision, where I thought, "I can't do this. I just need to be an analyst. That's what I do really well.?
Japhet De Oliveira: Well then I've got to ask you 40 (a), I know it's not on the list here, but 40 (a) would be... It's always a bold move to move from one space to another space, and to drive yourself into that space that you want to do something that you're good at. Were there any factors that helped you to make that decision easier? Or was that still just a big shift?
Debi Beach: Yeah. I was a programmer analyst, one, at Loma Linda. And after that, I took on this role of, I had to convert 600 programs from this system that we were on. And I had to go through and convert them. And it was for H.P., at the time HR, and it was highly successful but it was difficult. So I felt that I should have been promoted at my next review, and he didn't promote me, because I hadn't been in the role long enough. So, I was not happy with that. And I just took that as, "Well, I need to do something different." So it gave me the impetus, exactly. To go, "Okay, then I need to do something different." And actually, I was so upset at Loma Linda that I swore I would never work for another Adventist institution. And look at where I [crosstalk 00:19:51].
Japhet De Oliveira: I know.
Debi Beach: Yeah. But God works in mysterious ways, right?
Japhet De Oliveira: He does. Yes.
Debi Beach: I applied out into the world and I had several offerings, but nobody, they all thought I was crazy, that I just wanted to be an analyst. They said, "That doesn't work." And when I got hired at Glendale, I got hired as an analyst.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. I heard like a bell chiming in the background there. Was that your phone?
Debi Beach: That was my watch.
Japhet De Oliveira: Your watch?
Debi Beach: That I forgot to actually silence. Yeah. I silenced the phone, but not the watch.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. It was very nice though. It was good accompanying music to your comment. So, I figured it was very apropos, so it's good. Hey, this is the thing about this podcast that, I don't know if our listeners all remember this, and know this, but it's unedited. It's just one podcast we've had, and we do that every single time, one-take. So, all right. You are next then, Debi, where would you like to go next?
Debi Beach: Okay. Let's see. After 40, I'm a little bit nervous. All right. The challenge is on. 45.
Japhet De Oliveira: 45? Yeah, all right. When people come for you to help, what are they usually asking for?
Debi Beach: Well, in my present role, or just in general?
Japhet De Oliveira: You get to choose. Yeah. In your life personally, in your work, I mean, this is the beauty of interpreting the question.
Debi Beach: Yeah. I think it's probably to fix something. Which I like to do. So, whether it's, "Hey, do you know where to get this information? This is broken. Have any ideas about how to get around X, Y, and Z." It's usually that it is to fix something.
Japhet De Oliveira: And you are a great collaborator. You bring the right people to the table all the time. And so, I appreciate that as well. I've seen that in the way that you work. So, yeah. I can see that you like to, "I see the chaos. I see the problem. Let me bring some order."
Debi Beach: Yeah.
Japhet De Oliveira: It's good. See 45 wasn't that bad. I mean, you've done 60. So where would you like to go next?
Debi Beach: Right? All right. Let's try 50.
Japhet De Oliveira: 50, all right. Share about who has influenced you professionally?
Debi Beach: Well, one of the persons early on in my career, especially here at Adventist Health was Terry Burns. He was the first CIO for Adventist health, but a CFO, that was his background. And one of his sayings that he had was, "Be successful in spite of me." And that was the kind of leader he was. He gave us all a book about servant leadership and Jesus as our example. It changed how I looked at my role as a leader, to be a servant, instead of, "I'm the one who's in charge of making all the decisions. But what can I do for you?" He is a great role model. Drove us crazy because he always pushed us to, "Oh, you can do that. What programming? Why is it taking you two months? How come it's not taking you five days?" But we all loved him. I loved working with him. I learned a lot.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's really fantastic. Good. After 50 then.
Debi Beach: Oh, let's see. 48.
Japhet De Oliveira: 48. All right, here we go. Tell us about your best personality trait.
Debi Beach: Oh, okay. My best personality. I think that I'm positive. I'm more of a glass half full than half empty. So, I guess it also goes along with being a fixer of, "Well then, okay. How are we going to fix it? How are we going to do it? All right. That's all we have. Well, let's make the best of it and see what we need to do." So I think, probably, positive is probably one of my best.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. And that's really important actually. Because there's a lot of complexity in all sorts of scenarios, and I believe people can be positive, they can find a way forward. So, I like that. It's really good. All right. After 48 where next?
Debi Beach: I want to be brave. 65.
Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Share one word, right? One word that would describe your past and then unpack that one word.
Debi Beach: Oh, okay. Driven.
Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Driven? I like it. And unpack that.
Debi Beach: Well, I think growing up we all have, in families, we all have our role. What place do we play? Mine was the peacekeeper. So, I was the second of four children. And grew up with not a lot in material things. We had some very tough times, had family all around all the time though. But, my dad was always out there working, always trying to make things better. And, as I grew up, and started becoming adult, and looking at things, what I knew is that I wanted more for my children than what I have, which I think is what most parents want, right?
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.
Debi Beach: But I knew that nothing was handed to me. My dad who was from the Hispanic, there were opportunities to get aid, and that kind of thing. And he wouldn't do it. Part of it was pride. But the other part, that he instilled in us, is that our duty, our role in life, or whatever is to be the best that he can be, and to work forward. I don't know how else to say that, but it pushed me to then, "Okay, what else can I do? My parents didn't have college educations. All four of us children have gone on to college." Paid for the college ourselves, parents couldn't help. But, it drove me to look to see how could I get out of the poverty that we were in, how could I strive to do other things? So we went back and forth of, "Okay, it's about money." To, "It's not about money." To, "How could I be a better person." Once I had disposable money, so to speak, it was, "How do I then share this?" This is a gift and a blessing that I was given.
And to think back of growing up, there's people who need help. And that's what I feel like today, I have more than I ever need. So, "All right, Lord. Where is that need? How can I help?" Because it's not all mine. But I was driven to, as I talked earlier about knowing who I was, what was my purpose here on earth? And this is what I loved about Adventist Health, it was about what's your purpose? And, I thought I would only stay in the company for a little while and move on to other things.
But what I found is, that through this company, and many different jobs, I had a purpose. That I could make a difference, and not only within the company, but with the pay, and the things that I managed effectively, that I was able to then share that outside. So, now what I have is I'm an empty nester. My kids, my two boys are grown, right? I have some time. And so now I'm driven to know as much as I can about, through the Bible, through his messenger, what can I know about the God who created us that then helps me know who I am even more? And now what's my purpose at 68? What else is there left for me to do while I have time here on this earth?
Japhet De Oliveira: Yes. As you said, you woke up in the morning and said you have life. That's a true thing. Debi, I appreciate you sharing that. Because, I mean, sharing the personal journey of your life story there in that short snippet there that's beautiful. I agree with you, 100%. Purpose makes a difference and being able to give back and support, that's actually really good. That's beautiful.
Debi Beach: Thank you.
Japhet De Oliveira: Well, our time's up, but we have time for the last two numbers. So you get to pick two more numbers. So, just FYI, where do you want to go? Do you want to pick both straight away? Or do you want to pick one first? And, yeah. You tell me.
Debi Beach: I will do 36. I love the number six, so, I'll do 36 and then 66.
Japhet De Oliveira: And then 66? All right. Route 66 is where we'll end on and we'll start off with 36.
Debi Beach: Okay.
Japhet De Oliveira: All right. 36. Tell us about one thing you hope never changes.
Debi Beach: I think it's probably about Adventist Health. That I hope what never changes is our commitment to really, with our mission and all, it's being a light to the world, right?
Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.
Debi Beach: That it is a place for people like me who want to have a higher purpose to what they do than just getting a paycheck, that it doesn't change. Because it's easy with the influence, and the things that are happening in the world for us to lose sight. But every morning I pray for the leadership of our company. That God will lead them because I just can't imagine what they've got, it's a lot on their shoulders, and a lot of responsibility.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's beautiful. I like that. That's really good. And I agree with you as well. Staying true to our mission. It's a sure anchor. That's brilliant. All right. 66, our last one, and this actually could be, and I think it actually is a little bit of a fun one, it's beautiful. So, it's a great way to end. Tell us about one of your favorite songs and what do you love about it?
Debi Beach: Oh gosh. I'm thinking about mission. They sent us a question and Alex asked, "Okay, what are the songs that you want?"
Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah. That's right. For the mission summit coming up. And, yeah.
Debi Beach: Yeah. I think there's one that is secular and I love, it's Sweet Caroline. It just makes me feel good.
Japhet De Oliveira: Doesn't it?
Debi Beach: It's just a happy... It doesn't matter even, almost, what the words are, but except for Sweet Caroline. It's just upbeat... It's a great tune, yeah.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. It's true. I got it in my head right now.
Debi Beach: Yeah. I know.
Japhet De Oliveira: Everybody who's listening is, "Oh yeah, I've got that tune right now."
Debi Beach: Yeah. Good old Neil Diamond.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's pretty good. Well, Debi, thank you so much for being so honest, and being so forthright, and beautiful in the stories that you shared. I appreciate the honesty, I appreciate the vulnerability, and the encouragement as well. I think you're right, if we do well, and knowing what you do well, and understanding your purpose is really important to be able to belong to others.
Debi Beach: Yeah. Thank you.
Japhet De Oliveira: Appreciate your time.
Debi Beach: It's been my pleasure.
Japhet De Oliveira: It's good. Hey, for everybody who's listening. I just want to encourage you just as we have done right here is to share your own stories with your friends, listening to other stories as well. Because as you do, I grow, I'm learning all the time. And we become better people. We actually can live all that God has called us to do. So, God bless you, look after you, and we'll connect on another episode soon.
Narrator: Thank you for joining us for this Story & Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story, and experience at adventisthealth.org/story. The Story & Experience Podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health, through the Office of Culture.