Summit Spotlight: Erika Lamb
Performance Improvement Consultant, Centracare Health

We are so excited that Erika is joining us at the 2021 Women of Influence Summit on Friday, September 17 to share her story and journey of finding the courage to grow. To help you get to know Erika better check out her answers to our interview questions below:

What does a typical day look like for you?
There are no typical days within my role, which is what I love! However, most days you will find me:

  • Developing process maps and work plans that align to improving operational inefficiencies
  • Facilitating improvement discussions and improvement events
  • Working alongside Data Analysts/Report Writers to develop meaningful reports, analyzing data, determining trends and opportunities for improvements
  • Collaborating with leaders and front-line staff across the organization to meet strategic plan initiatives

What is your favorite part of your job?
I work within a role that allows me to support and collaborate with individuals throughout the whole organization which has been such a great experience. I love that I get to connect with leaders, medical providers, frontline staff, and ancillary support roles – my job has allowed me to learn about the patient care services as well as business functions of the organization and truly being able to look at the “big picture” of healthcare. I also love knowing that I indirectly assist in making a difference in our patients lives, by improving the care they receive through improving processes and standardized care expectations.

How do you spend your free time?
Right now, we are soaking up every little bit of summer that we can by doing outdoor adventures with our kids – time spent at the lakes throughout our state, primarily.

I also love doing home improvement and refurbishing projects; we have recently completed a full basement remodel which I did the bathroom tile work, painting, furniture building and furniture rehab work.

My husband and I also disconnect each night by working our way through series of shows – currently at the top of the list are Billions, Ted Lasso, the Marvel series, and I am anxiously awaiting the next season of The Morning Show.

What’s on your summer reading list?
Dark Places – Gillian Flynn
The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
The Body Keeps the Score – Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD

How has Next Monday been of value to you and/or your career?
Participating in EPG gave me the courage to make career moves that were meaningful and in alignment with my goals for personal development. My EPG helped me walk through challenging scenarios by offering sound advice and putting my experiences into better perspective – there were various experiences in which it was helpful to have a like-minded group of individuals available to strategize and problem solve, especially these individuals who always had my best interest at heart.

What are you looking forward to at the Women of Influence Summit in September?
I get so much energy from hearing other women’s stories and learning about how they overcome obstacles within their career and personal life. I am not much of a “small talk” person so to hear other individuals share so much about themselves on stage and with all of us attending the Summit – lights a fire in me and renews my energy surrounding leadership and growth. I also walk away from the event with a feeling of not being alone in my leadership journey, which is a journey that can often feel lonely and overwhelming. 

What are you hoping to share with fellow attendees at the Women of Influence Summit?
I am really hoping to share about the choices we have in our leadership journey – we can choose to make decisions out of fear or courage. We can make decisions that allow us to remain in a fixed mindset or focus on our own growth and development. I hope that the individuals in attendance leave feeling more empowered and in control of their choices – whether they are personal or career related decisions; we can do hard things.

What is your favorite family tradition?
We recently started an annual family golf tournament – equipped with trophies and all for the winning team. We start out the weekend playing independently for 18 holes and then teams are created for a scramble tournament that plays an additional 18 holes. Post tournament is a fish-fry and awards ceremony. We have done this the past two summers and I have started looking forward to it each year; it gives us a long weekend at Birch Lake and playing the golf course in Babbitt, MN. I spent a lot of my childhood summers in Babbitt with my grandparents, so this trip and exposing my own kiddos to the small-town is special. Babbitt is a place that always seems to ground me and feels a little bit like home.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I would love to explore the opportunity of being an independent business consultant/coach and spend more time focusing on furniture build/rehab work. I thoroughly enjoy supporting others in achieving their goals and working creatively fills my cup. Most of my free time in the warmer months you can find me in the garage working with power tools and focusing on the details as we remodel our home room by room.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
Hands down – Key West, FL – I love the small town-high energy vibe. Much of the transportation in Key West is done on foot or bicycles, the dining options have meals that I still dream about, and I love being on the water or the beach with a good book. There is live music on many of the corners and so many small-business artists showcasing their work. Truly a top destination that is good for my soul and was a place that provided the opportunity of reconnecting with my husband after a challenging three years of loss, grief, and lockdowns.  

What is your favorite meal?
I have meals that I dream about eating again at restaurants… locally, Krewe’s crab cakes and Bello Cucina Boom Boom Pow and if traveling back to Key West – Santiago’s Bodega and their dates, croquettas, spanakopita, and beef carpaccio (I think about this Bodega so dang much!). But, at home – a meal that brings me back to my childhood is a simple chicken Dijon pasta with broccoli; it is literally a recipe off the side of a Campbell’s soup can.

How do you keep a healthy work-life balance?
Honestly, I do not know that I truly believe there is a right work-life balance. I do things like keep my email notifications off my phone and be sure to start/end my workday at appropriate times, especially since shifting to working from home most of the time (my oldest is great about telling me when my workday should be over when he gets home from daycare 😉). But there are days that my work requires my extended attention and other days where my personal life is the high priority. I try to be mindful of what must happen now and what can wait. This is also the first year in the past five that I do not “have” to save my PTO to plan for a potential maternity leave; my PTO can be fully utilized for family time or just time away from work – so I am finally taking intentional time off. This summer, I have taken more days off in three months than I previously have in a full year. So, I guess my biggest take-away is if you have PTO days – use them. They are there for you and there for a reason; time away from work is just as important as excelling in work and time off is needed, to truly do the latter.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
I graduated from my undergrad with student loans and knowing that I would be paying them off on my own for the years to come; I made my regularly scheduled payments as expected. What I did not know is that my parents were working hard for years to strategize being able to pay my loans off. One year for Christmas, I opened an envelope with a statement of “Tis the season of giving… and to provide you a better living. March 1st is the day, you no longer have to pay, so stop with the groans, we will pay your student loans…” – the planning and work required for my parents to do this gift meant so much to me, especially now that I have my own kids. I fully understand creating opportunities for generational wealth and ensuring your kids are cared for, well-beyond them leaving the nest. This gift is one that keeps on giving; it has created lessons learned and steps I have taken in my life to ensure similar support and care for my kids as they become older. 


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