In celebration of Women’s History Month, ZGF is highlighting a few of our outstanding female clients who inspire us to continuously challenge ourselves and raise the bar of design excellence.
Karen Weylandt, Chief Design and Construction Officer at Providence Health and Services, has been a client of ZGF for 28 years. From helping patients heal as a registered nurse to directing planning and designs for healthcare facilities in five states, Karen brings a unique perspective to the design team with an in-depth knowledge of healthcare facility planning and design. She has collaborated with ZGF on more than 50 projects to improve a network of educational facilities, outpatient clinics, surgery centers and acute care facilities, including, most recently, the Providence Portland Medical Center East Expansion.
We spoke with Karen about her trailblazing career in healthcare design, including her inspiration and lessons learned:
DREAMS OF SINGING TO DREAMS OF NURSING
“My dream job was to be a singer but that wasn’t going to happen as you have to be able to carry a tune! So, it was either be a nurse or a physical education teacher and I chose nursing. At 16 I got a job in a hospital as a messenger and I really saw the care and compassion nurses were delivering and making a difference in people’s lives, and that’s what I wanted to do. For me, nursing was my career path and healthcare my calling. I’m fortunate it led me to other opportunities to serve.”
LEADING WITH INTENTION AND AUTHENTICITY
“I’ve always said that I learn from the school of hard knocks, but here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the years:
Know your own strengths and weaknesses; Lead with intention, be authentic and listen to the good and sometimes the not so good; Delegate and empower others to have confidence in their skills and ability to do the work; Know the team and make a connection to the team and celebrate the successes; It’s not necessarily what you say, but how you say it.”
AN EARLY INFLUENCE
“I don’t think I have just one role model, but the woman who influenced my career early on was the director of nursing in the hospital where I spent the first 19 years of my career. To me she was the epitome of a nurse in her dress, her stature and presence, as well as a respected woman leader who was truly an advocate for the delivery of excellent patient care by all disciplines.”
“What I do admire is women of strength who overcome disadvantaged upbringings and/or other obstacles that life threw their way but pursued their hopes and dreams and can now give back to others to make the world a better place.”
PASSING THE TORCH TO THE NEXT GENERATION
“There are so many more opportunities for women in the business world today than when I started out. But I think mentoring today needs to focus on talent, knowledge, competence and confidence in that women are equal colleagues in the business community.”