Driven to Serve
Debi Beach describes her past in one word: driven. Not by ambition, but by the desire to make things better.
“I was the second of four children, and we grew up with not a lot of material things, but my dad was always working, always trying to make things better,” Debi says. “My dad instilled in us that our role in life is to be the best that we can be and to work forward.”
To move her dreams forward, Debi went to college, even though her parents didn’t. While studying to become a teacher, one professor told her she couldn’t do it. “They told me I wasn’t smart enough, that I should probably do something more like secretarial work,” Debi remembers, “So that is what I did.”
Although she heeded that advice, Debi went on to prove it wrong. She launched her career as secretary in the IT department at Loma Linda University Medical Center, but soon worked her way to a role as programmer-analyst. One particular project challenged her to change directions.
“I was given an assignment where I needed to write a program for a department, and I had to come to the terms with the fact that I chose an area that I thought was going to be good for me – programming – and it just wasn't,” Debi recalls. “It was a failure,” she says, but one that opened her eyes to the idea she should specialize in what she really excelled at.
Debi started applying for jobs as an analyst. “Everyone thought it was crazy that I just wanted to be an analyst,” she remembers. It turned out, once again, that the others were wrong. Debi found exactly the role at Adventist Health Glendale. Since then, Debi has served in various capacities within Adventist Health, with 30 of those years spent in IT.
“I thought I would only stay with the company for a little while and move on to other things,” she remembers. Now, Debi serves as Roseville Operations Executive at Adventist Health, “which I absolutely love,” she says.
“What I loved about Adventist Health is it was about, 'What's your purpose?'”
Debi describes her life since joining Adventist Health as a gift and a blessing from the start. “What I loved about Adventist Health is it was about, 'What's your purpose?'” she says. “Through this company, and many different jobs, I had a purpose.”
And that purpose, she says, is rooted in the mission of the organization, something she hopes never changes. “The first CIO for Adventist Health gave us all a book about servant leadership and Jesus as our example,” Debi says. “It changed how I looked at my role as a leader – to be a servant instead of thinking, ‘I'm the one who's in charge of making all the decisions.’ It’s more about, ‘What can I do for you?’”
Throughout many changes over the years, she has seen Adventist Health’s mission stay the same.
“It’s easy with the things that are happening in the world for us to lose sight [of mission],” she says, “but every morning I pray for the leadership of our company – that God will lead them, because I just can't imagine what they have on their shoulders.”