Jennifer Fulmer Groves

Jennifer Fulmer Groves
Episode 106

Join host, Japhet De Oliveira, as he sits down with Jennifer Fulmer Groves, Pharmacy Services Executive for Adventist Health, to discuss her sense of community, passion for mentoring others, and a treasured waterpark experience.
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"In the workplace I tend to think of myself more as a coach rather than any sort of a driver. I like to help empower the drivers in their own seats and then just be there to help remove speed bumps in that coaching position."

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 am extremely delighted to meet this guest and to introduce this guest to you today because this is day three for them. You can hear them laughing, but there's more to it, there's more to it, and so I'm really excited about it. If you are brand new to the podcast, we have 100 questions.

They progressively become more vulnerable and more open as you get close to 100. And our guest gets to choose between numbers 11 and 100, where they want to go. The first 10 I'm going to ask, and then we'll dive into stories and experience that shape your life into the leader that you are today. All right? Okay. Let's begin straight away then. So first off, could you tell us your name, and does anybody ever mispronounce it or misspell it?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Yes. My name is Jennifer Fulmer Groves. My maiden name is Fulmer, and my last name is married, obviously Groves. So when I was growing up, Fulmer was pronounced femur, as in the bone, quite often. And the day of my marriage, the minister actually mispronounced us as Gross instead of Groves, and the whole side of that side of the church went ah. And so, yes, several times I've had pronunciation issues.

Japhet De Oliveira: That is just great. That's great. Is it hyphenated or just two...?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Just a space in between.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Hey, fantastic. Now Jennifer, what do you do for work? Day three.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Day three. Well, I'm still learning. That's my job right now, but I'm trained as a pharmacist and so I've worked in pharmacy, health system leadership for the majority of my career.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, wow. That's great. That's great. And where, like in California or all of the United States?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Well, I started out, I'm from Ohio. And so I started out working mostly for the Cleveland Clinic, and that was on their main campus in Cleveland. That led me to working for Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi for a few years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really? As you do.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: And then just in passing, just management.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, sure. As many people do. Okay, that's great.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: And then when I came back, I went back to work for Cleveland Clinic outside of pharmacy for a little bit helping to build an ambulatory medical facility. And then when I came back and finished that after a few years, I managed to end up in Portland, Oregon and was there for about 10 years working for a large health system there. Until eventually I wound up here in this wonderful location and I'm thrilled to be here.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. So you're working at Adventist Health based out of Roseville, California, and day three. But as you came into the studio today, this is not one of the questions, but as you came into the studio today, you were on a, what is that? A knee rover? So what happened? What happened?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Well, my middle name is not Grace, that's for sure. So let's just start there and I'll just tell you that this is now my sixth break of one of my feet, so I know the routine. So just to illustrate. Five on the right, and this is my first on the left.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, lucky left. Yeah, yeah.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: So it's kind of learning now. So second day in town, taking the dog for a walk. She's a Great Dane, she weighs about as much as I do, and she got startled and decided it was time to run. And little did I know that we were going to be running. So there goes my ankle, there goes my bone.

Japhet De Oliveira: And you didn't think about riding the Great Dane?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Well, it probably was quite entertaining because it happened in downtown Folsom, and so people were sitting there eating, enjoying the holidays, and they got to see this wild entertainment of this gal being dragged by her dog down the middle of the street.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sorry, I'm not laughing. I'm not laughing. I'm not laughing. I am laughing. I'm like, okay. Oh, my. Well, I'm shocked you're here, day three, and in the office with your knee rover and bandaged foot and yeah. So prognosis? Surgery?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Don't don't know yet. Still have to figure that out.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. All right. I was going to ask you how long you've been in your role, but I think we know where that goes. All right, so let's get back to morning routines. You get up in the morning. First drink of the day. Do you have water, tea, liquid green smoothie? What's your thing?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Usually I start with water just to get me started, but as soon as the coffee's made, I'm transitioning over there.

Japhet De Oliveira: And when you say as soon as the coffee's made, does that mean somebody else makes the coffee for you?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: No, I have a specific way that I like my coffee made and it's black, but that's the first thing I go to, and then that's what I drink until about lunchtime.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. All right. All right, good for you. Where were you born?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Akron, Ohio.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, really?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Mm-hmm.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, great. Oh, great. Oh, so you got to work there first as well. That's fantastic. Oh, good. All right. When you were a child in Akron, Ohio, I say it with joy. Akron, Ohio, what did you imagine you would grow up to be?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I wanted to be a vet, a veterinarian.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And I just always had an affinity for animals, like many people. Little did I know that one would end up dragging me through the street later on in life. But I spent time as I started in pharmacy school shadowing a family friend who was a vet, and I realized that there were certain aspects of that job-

Japhet De Oliveira: That you didn't want to do.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: That weren't for me. And so I stayed on my pharmacy career path.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Well I'm glad you chose a good path. That's good. That's good. All right. Are you an early riser or late night owl?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I tend to be more of an early riser.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: And what's that mean?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Well, I would say most times, not on the weekend, but I tend to get up around 5:00. I know there are folks around here that get up a lot earlier than that, so I won't-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, they have no social life.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: But I usually like to get up and work out when I'm not on a scooter, and work out first, and then kind of get started with my day and sets me off to a good start.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Now, if people were to describe your personality, would they say you are an introvert, an extrovert, and would you agree with their conclusion?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I'm an introvert. And I think that they would probably describe that about me because I tend to pause and carefully choose my words.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wise. Wise.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: But yeah, I think most people who know me would say that I am just because I'm not usually the life of the party. I'm the one that's organizing the party.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, you're not pausing right now. You seem to be going rapid fire. So this is good. This is good. All right. This morning when you woke up at 5:00-ish, what was the first thought that went through your mind that wasn't related to your foot?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Good point. Well, gosh, I have to think about what that would be. I think it was, I'm studying for my California boards.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, okay.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: And so when am I going to fit that in today to make sure that I get today's amount of studying in? That's not a very nice thought.

Japhet De Oliveira: I like how you scheduled this out, so yeah. Okay. That's good. That's good. Hey, all right. Here's a leadership question. Are you a backseat driver?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Well, if you ask my husband, he would say yes, definitely.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Side or backseat?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Yeah, probably side in that case. But in the workplace I tend to think of myself more as a coach rather than any sort of a driver. I like to help empower the drivers in their own seats and then just be there to help remove speed bumps in that coaching position.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. That's great. Wonderful. All right, let's go. Now it's your turn. You get to pick between 11 and 100 where you want to go. And what numbers do you have in mind?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Let's start off a little easy.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. 100.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Let's go with 11.

Japhet De Oliveira: 11. All right. All right. Tell us about the most adventurous food or meal you've ever eaten.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Probably when I was in Thailand, I wasn't quite sure what I was eating all the time. I just would order something and I can't say that I remember the name of it or what was in it, but it tasted good. But I wasn't as adventurous as my husband and our friends who chose to eat crickets and other insects that were fried.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm not quite sure if that's actually eating, is it?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: That's where I drew my limit.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah. Well, good for you. Good for you. The experience has stopped you. All right, so that was 11. So now you're going up, then where next?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Well, let's go to 21.

Japhet De Oliveira: 21. All right. Oh, share the best compliment you've ever received.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Oh goodness. I think that something that meant a lot to me. And at the time I didn't know what it meant was that someone told me that basically I worked as, I functioned as their team's Ted Lasso. And I had never watched-

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, you haven't?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: No, my response to them was, well, I'm still getting caught up with some series from the '80s, so I don't know what that actually means, but I'll take it as a positive.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is. That's exceptional. Have you seen it now?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Now I'm all caught up. I finally finished the last season.

Japhet De Oliveira: Did you like it?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I did. And I circled back to this person and eventually said, "I hope you mean that in the way of not me being sort of not knowing anything about soccer or not knowing anything about that." And she said, "Of course." She said, "You're just the person that's helping to kind of coach and inspire us and at times when we need it the most." So once I realized and watched the show, it meant a lot to me.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. So they didn't call you Roy or Jamie or anything? No. Okay. All right, great. Hey look, that's fantastic. That's a beautiful compliment. All right, that was 21.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I don't want to go too fast here. So we'll go to 30.

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

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Oh, gosh. I'm looking forward to settling down in the Northern California area. Day three or maybe day five of being here. I can't wait to explore the area and be able to go out on hikes with my family. And I know that's probably a boring answer, but that's in having certain goals where you've been traveling and kind of just in a transition phase, I'm just looking for some stability and to help the team here and to help my family settle down and kind of get to the point where there's that good stability in life.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. You're going to love it. Auburn's got great hikes. It's a beautiful area and great community here. That's fantastic. All right, that was 30. So where next?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Let's see, how about 37.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh. What do you like most about your family?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Let's see. That's a good question. I think how much we support each other. I think that goes without saying for families that they tend to do that, but there are times where we all take turns being in positions where we need to be supported. Well, that's one of my downsides is I don't accept help very easily.

Japhet De Oliveira: Interesting. Self-sufficient.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Which might be one of the reasons I end up breaking my ankle so often is that it's teaching me that lesson of learning to accept help.

Japhet De Oliveira: Seems to be working.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Yeah. I haven't gotten there yet, but my family are the people that I think I will accept help from them. And they've really showed me over the years how much I can rely on them. That, and we play specific card games, progressive rum and some of those things. So I just like the friendly competition of who is the reigning champ and gets to hold the crown.

Japhet De Oliveira: Who is the reigning champ by chance? Would you share that?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I wish I could say it was me, but right now it's my brother-in-law and he's let us all know that he is the reigning champ.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's great. That's great. So you enjoy taking care of people, and you struggle letting people take care of you. Okay. Perfect. All right. That's fair. That's fair. Well, I see Ted Lasso. All right, that's good. All right, that was 37. So where next?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: 43.

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

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Well, I think I could give you the, I'll call it the capitalist answer, but that's what comes to mind first. But if I had time to reflect, I'd tell you that there are deeply touching gifts that are so deep down in there that I probably can't fetch them right now. So we'll go light first. My husband bought me, he surprised me. I had wanted a specific type of car and I just would never buy it for myself. And he went out and they're not in the market that much and so he managed to find one. And for my birthday, he bought that car and surprised me with it.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Is it whether the color that you wanted and the model that you wanted?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I didn't even care that much. I just really like the car. And the funny thing was that to bring this full circle was that it's stick shift and-

Japhet De Oliveira: I was going to ask that question. All right. You've now graduated. That's great.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Yes. And so when he brought it home, I could not drive the car because that was at one of those other points where my other ankle was broken.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's very good. Okay. Was that at ankle four?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I don't even remember.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. Okay. So what are you doing now?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Yeah. Well this is really an upside to this break is that it's on my left, so I have an automatic, so I'm all good. He doesn't need to drive me, but he spent a good deal of our lifetime driving me around.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's hilarious. That's really fantastic. Well, that's a good gift. That's great. I like great surprises. That's fantastic. All right, where next? That was 43.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Oh, thank you. Let's do 51.

Japhet De Oliveira: 51. All right. Tell us about something that you know do differently than most people.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I am not sure how to frame this, but I guess I would say I've been told over the years that I think differently than most people and that I tend to have outside of the box thinking. I'm an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, and I think that somewhat comes with the territory. But I just have noticed that typically even when I solve a math problem, I'm going the backwards way than how most people are going. So I guess it's akin to being left-handed in the right-handed world.

Japhet De Oliveira: Sure. That's fantastic. So you think differently, you see things differently. Are you a person that likes to map things out?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Yes, I do. I'm very much about, let's have a plan, let's have a schedule, let's have a process. But living overseas, that taught me very much about, you can only do so much and then there's in the moment that you have to respond to things.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fair enough. That's fair enough. Hey, that's fantastic. Good. All right. That was 51.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Okay. Let's do 55.

Japhet De Oliveira: 55. All right. Oh, share if you wouldn't mind, something that frightens you.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Frightens me. Probably just, I would say my kids. I am no different than any other parent out there.

Japhet De Oliveira: No, I hear you.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I just want to make sure that they're developing, getting the education that they need, the nutrition that they need, all those elements. I don't think I'm any, no different than any other parent, but what frightens me is kind of getting that call one day that something terrible's happened. So I just try not to think in that space.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. That's good. It's good practice, but it is hard. I know what you mean. All right. That was 55.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: 62.

Japhet De Oliveira: 62. All right. Oh, what does a sense of community mean to you? Ted Lasso. That's not going to go away. That's going to stick, I believe.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: That's right. Exactly. There was one job where I worked outside of pharmacy and I was able to help build a 200,000 square foot ambulatory facility, which had an ED and an ambulatory surgery center and 25 different medical specialties. And it served a need for that community. Instead of having those individuals drive an hour and a half to get some specialist care.

It also had a community room so that individuals in the community could really be together in that space. And we provided yoga lessons. And it was all about promoting wellness and that sense of support for each other. And so to me, that's when I lived that sense of community directly in every ounce of what I was doing.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's brilliant. All right, so that's brilliant. I like that. That's pretty powerful. All right, where next?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Let's see here. 60.

Japhet De Oliveira: 60. Oh, when in life have you felt most alone?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Oh, that's a tough one. I'm going to have to slow down and pick [inaudible 00:19:07].

Japhet De Oliveira: I don't know. I feel like it's a reasonable question.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I think when I headed off to college, that's probably when I had to learn to be more independent and develop new friend sets and really develop who I was as a person. It was foundational and it was really helpful. And eventually you work through all that once you get through your first year too. But that was probably the biggest soon after my husband and I met and we were able to, after some years be together with our family. But that time was important for me to learn how to be an independent person and be by myself.

Japhet De Oliveira: True for everyone. That's a common experience. So, lovely. All right, where next? That was 60. And you can go down, you don't have to go up. I just want to, let's be candid here.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. You're welcome.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Let's do 65.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Share one word that you could describe your past and then could you unpack that one word? So your life at this moment.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Dynamic. Oh,

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, good. Good word.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I think that I've always taken the unique path, the road less traveled, always wanted to challenge myself in ways-

Japhet De Oliveira: [inaudible 00:20:46].

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Yeah. So along with that comes a sense of being kind of, we'll see what tomorrow brings and kind of writing the book in each new chapter as you go along.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. I like that. All right, where next?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I'll keep going up. Okay. All right, we'll go to 70.

Japhet De Oliveira: 70. All right. Tell us about one thing that you are determined to accomplish. Just one thing.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Just one.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, just one. I know I [inaudible 00:21:16] checked you, but just one.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I can't say that there's a huge list because I try to keep that openness each day in what I feel I'm determined to do. I can tell you I was determined not to break my ankle again, but we won't go there.

Japhet De Oliveira: You really, really do. Well, you didn't, you broke the other one.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Right.

Japhet De Oliveira: You achieved something.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Yeah, I was doing dynamic and changing things again. Yeah. I think I wanted to get some additional degrees when I was growing up and I checked those off just recently in May. I got my second master's degree.

Japhet De Oliveira: Congratulations.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: What was your second master's in, just out of curiosity?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: I got my MBA.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. Fantastic.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Got my MPH first. So I think I'm at a point now where I'm really invested in Adventist Health and really making this team the best they can be. So that's really been my primary goal because I kind of felt like I did some of the personal, you always grow and develop in everything you do, but some of those elements of personal development, I've checked those boxes.

That's not to say I'm not going to learn because to me you learn every single day. But that's probably my biggest goal transparently right now is just really focusing on this position and being three days in and learning the role and learning the team and really figuring out how I can help to support everyone here.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. I've heard a lot of good chatter where people are excited that you were coming and so it's great. But an infamous ankle. Yeah. Hey, well done. Well done. That's great. All right, so that was 70, so where next?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Okay. 73.

Japhet De Oliveira: 73. All right. Oh, share something that you've had to unlearn in your life.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Oh, unlearn. Well, I think when I was growing up, I probably grew up in a household where there was a focus, excuse me, on being maybe kind of quiet and independent and studious. And I've had to learn over the years that part of being engaged in a team, actually I have to step outside of that comfort zone a little bit more and kind of put my foot on that extrovert gas pedal a little bit.

So I think that was one thing, and that's just the household that I grew up in with studious parents. But that's something that I think that's just being an introvert as well. But I think that's something that I've had to learn. And over time I'm not there yet, but I'm still working on it. But I've unlearned it enough to feel comfortable with my foot on both the gas and the brake at the same time.

Japhet De Oliveira: It's great. Great metaphor. Yeah, absolutely. And I think we all are unlearning things all the time. Yeah. So it's good to recognize that. All right, you have time for two more. Okay. Can you believe that? All right, that was 73.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: So fast.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Let's go to 77.

Japhet De Oliveira: 77. All right. Share one of the most cup-filling experiences with us.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Oh, my goodness. Okay. Well everyone would say the birth of their children, right? So I'm going to skip over that for purposes of keeping this entertaining. I want to say that there have been a couple of times in my life where I've been able to mentor individuals that otherwise wouldn't have had that opportunity. And in the process was able to really help them, I think, change the course of their lives.

Not like I did, but it was just they leaned in so hard to the partnership that it gave me great joy to be able to see how they flourished and they took that information that they discovered. I didn't help them really, I just kind of said maybe consider some of these things. And it changed, I think the trajectory at least of their career, if not some other aspects of their lives.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right, so I have to ask, this is a bonus question before we get to your final number. Where did you discover that skill and how did you discover that skill?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Well, I'm not sure that I would call it a skill. I think that maybe it's just sometimes you just have to kind of let whatever's inspiring you kind of flow through you. But I think that that mostly happened, one, I was in Abu Dhabi. When you're trying to speak across different cultures and different languages and learn how to help people at different levels of need, you sometimes just find yourself instead of anticipating or planning or I guess I would say writing the script before you get into a situation. You find yourself in those moments, just being in the moment and letting it flow. And that was maybe just what I needed for that introvert part of me to let go and discover that element of helping others.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's brilliant. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Right. Final one, where did you want to go with final number?

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Oh, let's see here. We'll do 83.

Japhet De Oliveira: 83. All right, here we go. Oh, think about your favorite childhood memory. What was it? In Akron, Ohio? I just like saying Akron, Ohio.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Let's see here. So my probably, I'll just tell you a funny story that it maybe isn't one of my favorites, but it came about, it was at our wedding. So my sister is eight years younger than I am, and we were at a water park and we went down, we were going down a slide together, and I went down first and then she went down and then she said let's go down together. And I said, no problem, I'll go behind you.

And we get down there, and now mind you, she has a different version of this story, so you may have to talk to her, but we get to the bottom, and the bottom of the kind of had pebbles, I lost my footing. Meanwhile, she couldn't retouch the bottom for some reason because it had gotten kind of washed out. So I'm down under the water, holding my breath, pushing my sister up so that she can breathe. And as she's breathing, catching her breath, she's yelling help, she's drowning me.

Japhet De Oliveira: She said she's drowning. Oh, nice.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: And really, I wasn't breathing at all. So that has become just one of those stories that our family continues to tell.

Japhet De Oliveira: I bet. Oh, we do want to hear her side. Hey Jennifer, that was absolutely delightful. Thank you for on day three, with a damaged ankle accident, and for taking the time in the middle of your orientation and getting [inaudible 00:29:20] with everything. And we're delighted that you're part of Adventist Health.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. I want to encourage people to do the same thing. When you meet somebody, ask them good questions. Listen, if you can, have a cup of tea, even better. But we learn so much about each other and we become better for that. So God bless you, and we'll connect again on another episode sometime.

Jennifer Fulmer Groves: 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.