Spotlight on Dorinda Dennis
For Dorinda Dennis, director of Medical Delivery/Supply Services, thriving in a field generally considered male-dominated isn't an obstacle as much as it's an opportunity to show "that women can do whatever we are challenged with, including running logistics, distribution and supply chain departments."
"A lot of my vendors are surprised when they find out I am the woman who they will meet or speak with, and ultimately has somewhat of the final say-so," Dorinda said. "However, as I branch out, attending conferences and other industry events, I see how women are starting to make their mark in this field."
When she came to Cook Children's about seven and half years ago, after working in leadership for an organization in Houston for more than 20 years, Dorinda faced another opportunity — gaining her team's respect and trust.
"I was new to the company and new to them. They had to learn my leadership style, and I had to learn about them," she said. "I have always led with an open-door policy, so I believe when they saw that I would listen and 'hear' them, things changed for the better."
Dorinda said she has been fortunate to lead teams throughout her career and some "extraordinary individuals" on those teams, in return, have "shaped me into the leader I am today."
She also had one mentor really made a difference in her career path: Frances Lekwart, who was her chief operations officer and a registered nurse at her previous employer.
"I was so blessed to have worked for a powerhouse of a woman for 20 years," Dorinda said of her mentor, who has since retired. "She took me under her wing, mentored and grew me and always stressed the importance of education."
When Dorinda was debating whether to return to school to finish her degree, Lekwart gave her this advice: "Regardless of the challenges that you face in your career, that piece of paper can never be taken from you, and it will also open more doors and opportunities."
Dorinda went on to complete her bachelor's, and then her master's degree.
"I am so thankful for her pushing me to do so," she said. "I honestly don't believe that I would be working as a director if she hadn't been my mentor. I owe my growth to her, and I still use a lot of her teachings in my everyday leadership role."