The Power of Inclusion and Collaboration

I am part of a mentor program at Sheridan High School. I have been assigned to mentor a 14 year old female whom I had a hard time relating to.  She was born in Mexico; I was born in Korea. She is in high school; I am starting an Executive MBA. She wants to go into the National Guard; I have an office job. She worries about family members being deported; I worry that my kids will never leave the house. The only thing I felt we had in common was the fact that we are both female.

A few months back I did a project with my mentee titled Where I’m From . The purpose of this project was to get to know my mentee and for her to get to know me in a creative and personal way.  

Here were the instructions we received to do the project:

Consider all the ways to define where you come from:

  • words that describe your home, family, community
  • things you love about your country, neighborhood, community, family, self
  • people that have had a strong influence in your life
  • powerful experiences you had at an early age
  • things you learned the hard way  

Start every line with “I am from” and prioritize quality, not quantity. Interpreting “from” is personal; there are no wrong answers.

My mentee wrote her “I am from” and I wrote mine. I was deeply touched by this project and the opportunity to learn things about my mentee that are important in her life. I was able to identify many other qualities we had in common: our mutual love to read, soccer, independence, and our ability to dream big.

In the beginning, I focused too much on our differences. When I started to see our similarities, I began to view my mentee as another human being – not just a 14 year old girl. Once I started to see and hear my mentee on an equal level, I became more enlightened about her and her family’s world views and perspective. She has taught me just as much, if not more, than I’ve taught her.

A few of the guiding values of Doctors Care are inclusiveness, collaboration and respect. We have refined and improved our service delivery model just by listening to our patients, their families, our employees, the community and through all of our wonderful partnerships. The Japanese proverb “None of us is as smart as all of us” holds true for me in my experience with my mentee and my involvement with Doctors Care.  

Oh, and if you are interested, this is what I wrote for the Where I’m From project. I challenge you to write your own and share it with someone whom you want to get to know better.


I am from a fortress erected of quilts and passageways built from impenetrable chairs and tables. I am from MTV, Cabbage Patch dolls, Thriller, and roller-skates. I am from the caressing of my ear, loving words, and the caring hands every child should experience.

I am from a decision, but not that of my parents.

I am from my choice and my dreams where I construct the sky and run so fast that I fly.

I am from a deep voice of accountability, strong arms to embrace, and an infallible partnership that angels test.

I am from curiosity, challenges, and independence that have multiplied by two.

I am from callused hands, scars, and thick skin protecting a core made from raindrops, tulips, butterflies, and puppies.

I am from what love should be.

LaNee Reynolds, PHR
VP, Human Resources, COPIC
Doctors Care Board Member

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