Linda Givens

Linda Givens
Episode 91

Join host Japhet De Oliveira in this episode as he sits down with his guest, Linda Givens, for an insightful conversation about positive leadership, the joy of gratitude, and the art of empowering others in both personal and professional spheres.
Libsyn Podcast
"Most people set out to do good. They don't set out to do bad. I always think to myself, if that was me or my family, what would I want? And I tell my people, you don't need me to make decisions. Do the right thing for the patient and everything will be okay. Do the right thing."

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 episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. I can see my guest, you can't see the guest because this is just an audio recording always, and I'm excited as they are excited. I'm excited to be able to connect with them. If you are brand new to the podcast, we have 100 questions. They are about stories and experience that shape the leader into who they are today, and they become more vulnerable, close to this, we get to 100. So I'm going to ask the first 10, and then the guest gets to pick between 11 and 100 where they want to go. So let me dive straight in and I'll begin with the first one. Could you share your name and does anybody ever mispronounce it or is it pretty straightforward?

Linda Givens: My name's really easy. Linda Givens. And my father named me Linda. All my brothers begin with D, but I'm a Linda. And nobody mispronounces my name except sometimes instead of Givens, they say Gibbons. It's always say it with a V.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's true. Linda, if you were in Australia and you had a name like Gibbons or Givens that became Gibbons, you'd be called Gibo. So this is good. This is good. Hey Linda, what do you do for work?

Linda Givens: So I am the site administrator for Adventist Health, Howard Memorial, and I have worked for Adventist Health. Oh my goodness, for over 40 years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my goodness. Wow. Well done. So what have you done in that 40 year stretch? A few? Just a few.

Linda Givens: I started out as a blue striper, but I don't count that in those years because it'll even be worse. I'll be older. And then I was a nurse. I started as a nurse on med surg, and then I was an ICU nurse, and then I was an ER nurse, and then I became an ER manager and an ICU manager and a cath lab manager and a director. It just kept going like that.

And then when I came to Mendocino County during COVID, I was actually the CNO for the coast hospital, our coast hospital, Ukiah Valley, and Howard, which was very uniting for those two years, which was really great. Actually gave us some, I think, strength for that, but it was also very tiring to go between three, and especially with a new facility lifting it. And so I really wanted to be based in one site and they offered me the site administrator role and Howard was the initial place I came to be the PCE at. And so I was very honored to do that role here.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. That's fantastic. Well, well done for that. All right, that's brilliant. And I can't wait to hear some of the stories from your experience and your leadership as well as they come through 40 years. All right. That's great.

Linda Givens: I started when I was 10.

Japhet De Oliveira: When you're 10?

Linda Givens: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Thank you for clarifying.

Linda Givens: Child labor was just fine.

Japhet De Oliveira: You know back in the day, there were no child laws. Hey, this morning, drink of choice. Did you have coffee, tea, water, liquid green smoothie?

Linda Givens: I always have coffee, black with a prebiotic.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice. Prebiotic instead of milk.

Linda Givens: It's clean-

Japhet De Oliveira: Or do you mix them together or you have them separate?

Linda Givens: No. Coffee, and I just pour the prebiotic in it and dissolves. So it's just black coffee, but always that way, it reminds me, always take my prebiotic.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. I like it. Oh, that's fantastic. All right, now Linda, where were you born?

Linda Givens: I was born in Walla Walla, Washington.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's awesome.

Linda Givens: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Did you spend a few years there as a child?

Linda Givens: Oh, my whole growing up years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, great.

Linda Givens: My family came out on the Oregon Trail in 1859, so deep roots there.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. Where did they come from, your family?

Linda Givens: Pennsylvania.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, wow.

Linda Givens: My mom's folks did that from Pennsylvania. Now my dad's folks came out from Nebraska in the Dust Bowl.

Japhet De Oliveira: My goodness. Fantastic. That's pretty cool. Now, when you were a child growing up in Walla Walla, what did you imagine you would've grow up to be?

Linda Givens: Oh, well, I had always wanted to be a nurse because my aunt was a nurse. She lived in Portland, and I always thought nurses were just the most amazing people. They wore capes, they drove convertibles, and they must be cool people. Like superheroes.

Japhet De Oliveira: I've never heard that. That's great. They're great, but I love that description. Convertibles, capes, superheroes. I'm with you.

Linda Givens: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. Linda, if people were to describe your personality, would they say you are an introvert or an extrovert and would you agree?

Linda Givens: I think a lot of people would describe me, especially in my youth as an extrovert, but I think as you age, you become more of an introvert. I find that I like my company and I think it makes you an introvert in that you become introspective and you think about the events of the day, and I need quiet time to process. I also, one time in my career taught at the colleges in a university, and I found that after I was done teaching, it was like I was done with words, and that I just needed time to process. Where I think a True extrovert, they get energy from that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes. Yeah, that's true. That's true. Hey, I like that. This morning when you woke up, what was the first thought that went through your mind? You're laughing. Sorry, what did you say?

Linda Givens: I thought about, I always think about the events of the day, the meetings, the events, what all my day, my calendar, usually go through my calendar. Then I get my morning coffee, talk to my little dog. She has her treat every morning. She sits there very quietly and looks at the door of the pantry because she knows. And then I usually read electronically the news.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice.

Linda Givens: And just have a quiet time to contemplate that and an important email, so it's a time. Or anything that I need to study in depth. I do that in the morning. It's just the best time to, I'm an early morning riser. I get up-

Japhet De Oliveira: Are you a late night owl or just an early morning riser?

Linda Givens: Oh no. Man, I head for the barn 8:00. It's like I'm working Cinderella.

Japhet De Oliveira: And what's early for you?

Linda Givens: 5:00. I get up most of the time at 5:00. That's a good day if I can get up at 5:00. And yeah, I like that because then it gives me enough time to gather my thoughts, cogitate and get enough of the world news that, "I'm okay, that's enough." And what my day's going to be. And I'm a list maker so that in my mind, make a list of things that I want to accomplish that day. And always the hardest task always has to go first because I believe in that eat the ugly frog first.

So you do the most difficult task first thing when you have your most energy and your thoughts are there and it's fresh, you don't have any other issues of the day and you tackle that or at least make progress. I find that the higher up in leadership, the tasks aren't something that often can be accomplished in a day.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's true.

Linda Givens: So you have to look at a task and say, "What are the steps that I'm going to get there?" And then break it down and what can you get done? And every day just make a little progress. Maybe it's a conversation with a physician. Maybe it's a conversation with somebody else. Maybe it's actually a little bit of research going and seeing how things are done, but always steadily making progress toward that goal.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, that's really good. I noticed that you said you read a lot of news. Have you found in the last few years that you, in the last decade or so, that you have now started to curate your sources of news? Or do you just rely on whatever your computer, your phone brings to you and says, "This is what it is?"

Linda Givens: That's interesting because I got so that I will not watch news on the television.

Japhet De Oliveira: Interesting. So you read and digest it?

Linda Givens: I read it and I find that interesting. And so I have a couple sources that I read and I read what all of us do, Becker's, The Times. And trying to, everything does have a little bit of different bend to it. So I'm a bit of a skeptic anyway. And then you have to have a little bit of local news because that's going to influence your life. And sometimes I find I'm almost a little ignorant of the local news and rely on... I went to a chamber meeting last night and they were all talking about what happened at City Council on the news. And it was very interesting to me just to get everybody's take on it. What did everybody think?

And it matters who that person is and where they are in life and what they think of that. And I find that, how do I want to say it? A little more, I don't want to say dispassionate, but a little more just to step back from the news. And the rest of the story is. You always wonder what, now that's what they want us to think. What is the real truth? What are all the other parts of that?

Japhet De Oliveira: I presume and I can see that this probably plays into your role as an administrator as well, when you're receiving data from so many different sources and so many different leaders and then having to try to govern and move and manage. And so you do the same skillset with your new story as well.

Linda Givens: Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Linda Givens: And I've learned that if I just take the first person story, they leave out all the rest of that and assume that you've known all that. And so I always have to catch myself when I want to just say, "Oh yeah, just do it." I always have to catch myself to say, "Okay, well let me just verify a few things."

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

Linda Givens: And I find that catches me over and over, that if I don't do it, then I've caused more discord than I've solved. And I think my job as an administrator too is also to solve problems, remove people's barriers, but also to be a calming influence on things and not, to help stave the chaos. You have people in events that dramatize and enhance that. Make it worse. And it's like, "Well, now let's talk about that."

And then the other thing is we say the term assume positive intent. It's very hard to do. People, they want to assume otherwise. And so I have to constantly tell myself, assume positive intent. Most people set out to do good. They don't set out to do bad. And then I always think to myself, if that was me or my family, how would I want? And I tell my people, you don't need me to make decisions. Do the right thing for the patient and everything will be okay. Do the right thing. Sometimes that's making them stay a day longer, but it's the right thing. And in the end, it'll all work out. Maybe we have to order an expensive test or give an expensive medicines. It's still the right thing. And would you want that done for your family? Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Linda Givens: And if people keep that in their mind, things, finances, things, because everybody watches that and they watch those tough things. And if you're a good steward in those tough things, they trust you with good reason. They respect and trust you. If you ask people, "What does Linda say?" "Linda would always say, "Do the right thing for the patient." We'll be open."

Japhet De Oliveira: If the podcast ended right now, I think we would have enough wisdom to guide us and give us insight into your leadership. Absolutely. It's fantastic. That's really, really good. I appreciate that a lot, Linda. I was going to ask you the last question before I hand over to you, but are you a backseat driver when it comes to leadership? But in tuned, but I should give you the floor, if you wanted to just reference that. How do you see yourself as a backseat driver when it comes to leadership?

Linda Givens: Well, first of all, when you say leadership, it is not, and having come up from the ranks, from manager to leadership, that's hard. There's a part of me, I always say the story of the little red hand, I'll do it myself. And so there's a part where you have to give people and empower them to do the right thing, because sometimes they'll do it so much better than you could ever do it, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Linda Givens: But there's also the time that you need to help the housekeeper with the garbage because the can is big. Or pick up the garbage in the hall to show that you would help that. You would pitch in when you needed. And I really love to develop people into leaders. So empowering them, "What do you think? What's the best idea? How can we do that?" And then also, because I had a great mentor in my life that made me go back and get my education, I say that like you make people. And when you finally realize the great gift that they give you, you want to give that gift to everybody else.

So I always look at all of my leaders. How can we grow them? How can we help educate them? Because that's something that they always have wherever they go in the world, and makes the world a better place. And enhances their life. So I like to think of myself as a leader, not a manager. And as a leader, I can sit in the backseat. I have no, I don't need to drive. Everyone knows that Amy is my driver and Amy drives very fast, and I just don't look. Trying to teach me how to park. I'm a terrible parker. I'm going to tell you that. I cannot park to save my soul. Cannot park.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic.

Linda Givens: That's back seat as I get, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. No, that's great. That's great. All right, the floor is open. So where would you like to go? Which number?

Linda Givens: 17.

Japhet De Oliveira: 17. All right. Share what day is most special for you in the entire calendar and why?

Linda Givens: Special as in joyous? I love Christmas.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Linda Givens: I love Christmas.

Japhet De Oliveira: Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or the season?

Linda Givens: That's all one. Christmas Eve and Christmas day. It's all one.

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay. I like that.

Linda Givens: I love that because it means family and you're always with family. And I have worked Christmases, but that's why I always group Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together, because at some point in that time, I do get to have time with my family always. No matter even if I work Christmas Eve and I got Christmas day, and then it's the birth of our Lord. And it's I love winter and it's a time of hope. And I love that. I love that. The thought of the hope of a newborn. And I think every time you have a newborn, there's hope.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's true. Yeah. I'm with you on that, by the way. I love, that is my favorite season for the year. Absolutely. So I'm with you on that. Brilliant. All right, we're next then.

Linda Givens: 27.

Japhet De Oliveira: That was 17. Which one? Sorry?

Linda Givens: 27.

Japhet De Oliveira: 27. All right, bring us in your kitchen. You're preparing a special meal. What would you be making?

Linda Givens: Oh, I'm legendary for my pie making.

Japhet De Oliveira: Are you really?

Linda Givens: Yeah. My grandmother-

Japhet De Oliveira: All the types of pie?

Linda Givens: Any type of pie. My grandmother taught me how to make pie. My mother never liked to make pie, so my grandmother and I would make pies. And we'd have to have at least two pecan pies because my husband loves pecan, so it has to have at least two of those. And usually a fruit pie like cherry or apple. My son loves cherry and maybe a cream pie, like coconut cream or chocolate cream.

Japhet De Oliveira: For your pies, do you have flat pastry on the top or your crumble pastry?

Linda Givens: For my fruit pies, always flat pastry on top. That's interesting. I've never done lattice or the crumbs. Of course, your cream pies, you have cream.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Linda Givens: Yeah. Pies.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good.

Linda Givens: Nothing better than cherry pie.

Japhet De Oliveira: Alrighty. All right. I'll take your word. More blueberry, but I'll take your word.

Linda Givens: I could tell you-

Japhet De Oliveira: Strawberry. Oh, I don't know. Okay. All right. We digress a little. It was fun.

Linda Givens: I made pecan pie. I lost a bet with one of the physicians at work, so I was going to take him this pecan pie, and I told my husband that I only made one. It was for the doctor that I was going to take it to work because I lost this bet, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Linda Givens: And so he took, knowing that I wouldn't take it if he had a bite out of it.

Japhet De Oliveira: No.

Linda Givens: Yes. But I didn't tell him is I'd hid the other one.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's very clever.

Linda Givens: He's like, "I don't share my pecan pies. Those are for me." Anyway, so that's my pie story.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. Yeah. Well that goes to share the pie, must be that tempting and that good. Yeah, absolutely. All right, where next then?

Linda Givens: 33.

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

Linda Givens: The best gift?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Linda Givens: Oh, I think my children were my best gift. And I gave my children to my parents, my in-laws, my spouse, the rest of my family. And I always, that's the best gift, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Family. Absolutely.

Linda Givens: Family.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Totally. Good. All right. Where next after that?

Linda Givens: Wow. Let's see. 45.

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

Linda Givens: A listening ear. And I have to tell myself that because I think I'm a talker sometimes. To be quiet and to listen. And to listen for what it is, for really what the issue is or the problem. And I think that most of the time it's about listening. And I that's what makes me more of an introvert in those times, because you listen and then you cogitate and connect all the dots.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is good to have people in your life that listen. And yeah, absolutely. And to be in a workplace where actually your bosses or colleagues listen. That's good. That is good. Hey, that's fantastic. All right. Where next?

Linda Givens: 51.

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

Linda Givens: I can't say park, can I?

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, I don't know. Allegedly, it may be. You need to get one of those cars that has the automatic parking button. You just line the car, push it in, [inaudible].

Linda Givens: Those are scary.

Japhet De Oliveira: They're lots of fun. I was in one once and it's a lot of fun.

Linda Givens: Yeah. Judson showed me. And I suspect mine would do that, but it's just like, "Man, that's really relinquishing control."

Japhet De Oliveira: It is.

Linda Givens: What do I do differently?

Japhet De Oliveira: Differently than most people. Yeah.

Linda Givens: Than most people. What am I different about? Wow. I don't know. I don't know that I don't ever think that I'm that-

Japhet De Oliveira: You don't think in that way?

Linda Givens: Right. I don't ever think of myself as that different.

Japhet De Oliveira: But in your 40 years of work and life, there must be things that you felt like, "Hey, I was able to bring that to the table. I was able to, God bless me and brought this gift out and this talent."

Linda Givens: I think I always look at the world a little bit through rose colored glasses and very positive. I'm a positive person and I look at things like I have a lot of gratitude. I try to live in the moment and say, "Look at that hummingbird, or didn't my flower, didn't it turn out great? Well, I put that in the right pot. That was great." So I think being positive or seeing the positive side, people will talk about everything that went wrong in this, and I'll look for all the right things. Or all the things.

And I like to catch people in grade X. I like to see that and that I think I am different and I think that's what's wrong with a lot of the world, is that they look at things in a negative or a dark way and I don't. I'm very positive about things. I think things will work out. And when you have those bad days, I have to shake myself and remind myself, what are the positive things? What good happened today. Today was good. This happened and that happened. It was good.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic.

Linda Givens: Yeah, I look at what's positive.

Japhet De Oliveira: Really good.

Linda Givens: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. I actually think we need more of that in the world.

Linda Givens: Yeah, me too.

Japhet De Oliveira: For sure. All right, we've got time for last two numbers. So last two questions, where would you like to go?

Linda Givens: 64.

Japhet De Oliveira: 64. All right. When you look back at your life, tell us about a moment where it was like, "What was I thinking?"

Linda Givens: So I went on a mission trip, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Okay, great.

Linda Givens: Call it a bucket list thing. All right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

Linda Givens: And I was in the mosquito netting. Now I'm a person that I don't camp. Okay, let's just get that clear. Camping is the Four Seasons. All right. I like a real bathroom, not a gitty boo. And so I am going to be a good fellow and I really wanted to do this. And so I went with Diana in the mosquito netting and I had that feeling of Mr. Wizard, how did I do this? I remember I had my iPad and I was typing to my husband, "I don't know why I did this." The mosquitos are going to get me.

They don't call them alligators, Karen, I don't know. Anyway, whatever the name, they have their little alligators there. Went out for a walk and there they are. And I was like, "I'm in a Third World country." My husband would write, he's a wonderful, talented writer, and he would write amusing little stories to me, telling me what all the pets were doing and thinking in a funny story. I was like, "Yeah, I'm okay." But I did think at that moment, "What was I thinking?" And it turned out to be a great adventure in my life. It really did. There was a lot of things that I felt I could help and teach people with. And if nothing else, I just learned that I could do quite well and I was okay and okay to sleep in a mosquito net. But I did question my judgment.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. Well, I'm glad you did it at least once. That's good.

Linda Givens: Oh, yes.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Last number. Where would you like to go?

Linda Givens: 72.

Japhet De Oliveira: 72. All right, here we go. Oh, tell us about what you want to do when you retire and why are you waiting?

Linda Givens: Oh, wow. Wow. Well, I have to be active. So I have a business with my father and we have several vacation rentals, so I'll probably renovate them. Really, the other profession I wanted to do besides nursing was I would love to be a commercial artist. So I do a lot of work with painting and stained-glass and really you clinically can't have cuts on your hands. So the working with stained-glass, but I'd love to do that again, that really speaks to me. And maybe take a class in watercolors and do artwork. I think I would like that. And then of course, I like to travel and see different places. And I would do a lot more traveling and see some friends in different parts of the world that I feel I'm always doing something else and maybe not see. Parts of America, I think. I've never been to Mount Rushmore.

Japhet De Oliveira: There you go. That's good. Well, I hope that you don't wait until you retire, that you continue to explore all this creative elements and outlets that you have, that God has blessed you with all these gifts and that you get to use them.

Linda Givens: Oh, amen.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. No, totally. Linda, it has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for, again, as I said at the beginning of this podcast, your incredible insights into leadership, which I felt we could have stopped right there, but then we had a lot of fun since there as well. So thank you for that. I want to encourage people to do the same thing that you and I just did. Just sit down with someone, ask them good questions. Listen, learn, we're all changed, we all grow for it, we're all better for it. So until we connect again, God bless everybody and Linda again, thank you.

Linda Givens: Thank you.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story & Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at The Story & Experience Podcast was bought to you by Adventist Health through the Office of Culture.