Unleashing Potential Through the Emerging Leaders Leadership Program

Unleashing Potential Through the Emerging Leaders Leadership Program

Photos of graduating class

Emerging Leaders Graduates – Class of 2023

Just before the holiday season, the third Emerging Leaders class kicked off, with its participants eager to develop a wide variety of skills and knowledge.  The Emerging Leaders Program is a 6-month development program that is intended to help prepare future Saving Sight leaders in the principles of leadership, strategy, and relational impact. During the program, participants will dive deep into topics such as leadership guiding principles, difficult conversations, data analytics, and communications, just to name a few.

This program is meant to develop future leaders, whether they are future leaders at Saving Sight or somewhere else down the road. The growth and development of new leaders are beneficial to everyone involved in Emerging Leaders. By focusing on leadership development, Saving Sight creates a culture that values learning and continuous improvement. Investing in leadership development ensures a pipeline of skilled and capable leaders. This, in turn, contributes to the overall success and sustainability of Saving Sight. Class participants gain new knowledge and skillsets while growing in their leadership abilities. Meanwhile, current leaders can share their experience and knowledge with emerging leaders, facilitating the transfer of institutional wisdom and organizational values. “It’s a rewarding experience, and I really enjoyed it. You’ll find that you’ll get out of it exactly what you put in,” says Mark Wood, a Client Services Specialist at Saving Sight and recent graduate of the Emerging Leaders Program.

While there were quite a few applications to the program, only a few were selected. A selection committee of current leaders at Saving Sight met and decided who would be in the third class of emerging leaders.

Bi-weekly sessions will immerse participants in a wide array of subjects, such as the Guiding Principles of Leadership, Time Management, and Emotional intelligence. Experts from the leadership team present their areas of expertise, sparking in-depth discussions.

The Emerging Leaders Program at Saving Sight stands as a catalyst for developing the leaders of tomorrow. As the third class starts its journey, the program’s focus on leadership principles, strategy, and relational impact provides a comprehensive foundation for future leaders. The commitment to continuous improvement and knowledge transfer between current and emerging leaders fosters a culture of growth within the organization. With bi-weekly sessions immersing participants in diverse subjects and hands-on experiences, the program ensures not only the growth of knowledge but also the practical application of leadership skills.

The Importance of EBAA Accreditation

The Importance of EBAA Accreditation

Established in 1981, the EBAA (Eye Bank Association of America) Accreditation is an important benchmark for excellence within the world of eye banking. This accreditation holds the seal of approval from several reputable federal agencies, including the FDA and CDC, signifying its importance in the field. EBAA Accreditation ensures the consistent safety and quality of ocular tissue by enforcing adherence to meticulously outlined medical standards, which are endorsed by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It is a testament to an eye bank’s commitment to upholding the highest standards.

The accreditation process is meticulous and entails a comprehensive review of various aspects of eye bank operations, policies, and personnel. A distinctive feature of EBAA Accreditation is the involvement of a dedicated team comprising an experienced eye banker and a corneal surgeon. This team undertakes site visits every three years, evaluating donor records, standard operating procedures, tissue documentation, and administrative records. They observe tissue recovery and processing techniques, thus ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of the eye bank’s practices.

The inspection results are presented before the EBAA’s Accreditation Board, a group of seasoned professionals within the field. Their deliberations determine whether an eye bank earns accreditation, requires corrective action, or faces potential revocation of status. This rigorous evaluation underscores the significance of the EBAA Accreditation as an emblem of excellence, which directly impacts the safety and quality of the ocular tissues utilized in transplantation surgeries.

EBAA Accreditation signifies a commitment to safety and quality and an unwavering dedication to the well-being of patients. It establishes a standard of excellence that fortifies confidence among medical professionals and patients alike. By fostering consistent adherence to the highest medical standards, the accreditation program ensures the preservation of ocular tissue quality, elevating the pursuit of restoring vision through transplantation.

IT Department Highlight

IT Team from left to right. Brandon, Jess, Andrew.

At Saving Sight, the IT department plays a crucial role in the success of the organization by providing reliable and efficient technology, cyber security training, and the knowledge to help keep the technology running. They are responsible for the support and upkeep of all technology components, while also keeping up with the latest advancements as they apply to Saving Sight. The department comprises a team of dedicated people who work together to ensure that all departments work seamlessly.

The IT Department is made up of three talented IT professionals: Brandon, Jess, and Andrew. Brandon, the Director of IT, and team leader is responsible for overseeing the database administration, vendor management, contracts, and services. He is also responsible for department employee management, project management, and application development. Jess, the IT Systems Administrator, is responsible for administering, implementing, and maintaining the security of all systems and platforms used by the organization. Andrew is the Desktop Support Technician and ensures that all equipment is functioning smoothly and efficiently day in and day out.

The day-to-day activities of the IT department are centered around problem-solving, with a mix of current projects, new projects, and individuals requiring support and ticketing assistance. The department’s role is largely reactive in responding to support tickets received. Yet it also operates proactively, staying ahead of the game and keeping up with new advancements. Documentation and content creation are important aspects of the IT department’s work, as they aim to maintain the current infrastructure and provide reliable equipment.

“Technology drives almost every process and procedure in the organization,” says Brandon, making the IT department’s role vital to the success of the mission. The department is involved at every level and works closely with other departments to ensure their technology needs are met and goals are achieved. The IT department’s goal is to act as a support system for other departments, providing technology solutions that align with their goals and strategies.

The biggest evolution in the IT department has been the shift towards data analysis and the handling of helpdesk support internally, instead of outsourcing. The IT Department enjoys the challenge of learning new things and helping people out, making the workday smoother and more productive. “If you like to solve problems, IT is the place for you,” says Brandon. They find satisfaction in finding solutions and making a difference in the organization.

In 2023, the IT department is placing a strong emphasis on cybersecurity. It is implementing policies and procedures to shore up its security foundation and conducting security training for all end-users through Ninjio, a cyber security training company. 96% of cyber attacks come from end-users, and the IT Department is making an effort to educate everyone within the organization on how to identify and report threats.

The IT department is a support system for the entire organization, providing reliable and efficient technology solutions that drive success. It is always working to stay ahead of the curve and provide the best possible services to the organization.


Quality Assurance Department Highlight

QA Team Picture

The Quality Assurance department is designed to prevent, detect, and correct deficiencies that may lead to circumstances that increase the risk of introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases, and is an integral part of Saving Sight and Vital Tears operations. At Saving Sight, the Quality Assurance Department is made up of three team members: Patrick Johnson – Director of Quality Improvement and Regulatory Affairs, Kristine Kennedy – Quality Improvement Specialist and Jessica Cody – Quality Improvement Specialist. While each member has their own responsibilities and title, “in the end, we are a team and complete all task as a team,” says Kristine Kennedy.

Like any department, each day is different, but in the Quality Assurance Department you can find them in meetings, working on projects, auditing different processes, not only in our main office in Kansas City but in each of our satellite offices. “Quality Assurance is part of every aspect of Saving Sight and Vital Tears” says Kristine Kennedy. This could be helping a team understand how to complete regulatory documentation or verifying that documentation is completed correctly. It might be improving SOPs for departments to clearly understand requirements or improve a process. Quality Assurance is a vital part of helping the organizations operate to stay in compliance and improve the overall quality of the operation. They are ultimately responsible for quality improvement and assurance, making sure we are following the rules set forth by HIPAA, Non-Conformance Management, both internal and external audits, OSHA incident tracking and supply and supplier management. No day is the same, but they play and important role in making sure we are being good stewards of the gift of sight.

“The Quality Assurance department has been a very rewarding job for me. I truly love being able to help other departments grow in their learning and support them in improving their processes. This roll requires organization, problem solving, “out of the box thinking,” and teamwork, just to name a few. I am so incredibly blessed to work with such amazing people that are dedicated to our mission. I have the best teammates EVER, that are always willing to step up, have each other’s back, and support one another” says Kristine Kennedy. Saving Sight truly is lucky to have such a caring and devoted group of people, all helping us in our mission to change lives by Saving Sight.