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Week 2: Teamwork by Jackie Zeeman

Week 2: Teamwork
August 12, 2013 – August 16, 2013

From the moment I walked into the AACP office on my first day, it was quickly apparent this was no ordinary office staff. The staff did not view each other as simply co-workers, but rather family, and with open arms, they embraced me into the AACP family. With a delicious breakfast waiting in the kitchen, the entire office staff gathered to greet me upon my arrival and each made several efforts to speak with me directly and welcome me to the team. This same dynamic has continued to reappear again and again throughout my interactions with the staff over the first two weeks. Whether it was a simple greeting upon my arrival in the office each morning or an out-of-the-office lunch adventure, warm and genuine conversations with an invested interest in my experience thus far and my future aspirations has always left me feeling like I was a part of the AACP family.

With the AACP Annual Meeting consuming the office’s staff throughout the month of July, many staff elect to take vacation during the first week of August. Consequently, the AACP Annual Meeting debrief was scheduled for the second week in August once the majority of staff were back in the office. As the entire staff congregated in the main conference room, with a few staff members calling into the meeting, Barbra Gustis, Senior Director of Meetings and Business Partnerships, kicked off the discussion. What unfolded was more than just a debrief of the Annual Meeting but rather a celebration of the entire staff’s commitment to making the Annual Meeting a success. As Barbra went through the various discussion points surrounding the Annual Meeting, this family dynamic was what filled the room. Between laughs and congratulations, it was easy to see that one person’s achievement was everyone’s achievement and it was this dynamic that resulted in such a small group of individuals being able to plan and run such a large meeting with undeniable success. This staff not only treats each other as family but recognizes the greater force and impact of a team over that of an individual. And most importantly, they recognize how essential teamwork is in planning such a large-scale meeting for over 2,200 faculty, staff, and students.

After sitting in on the Annual Meeting debrief and reflecting on what I just experienced, I realized the importance of not only a team, but of a family as well. Throughout my childhood, I participated in a variety of organized team sports and thus have grown an appreciation for the team dynamic. I have consistently tried to instill this team approach in each leadership role I have held because my experiences have taught me that a team has such a greater force and impact than just the individual. However, what I took away from this Annual Meeting debrief that I have often failed to remember is that camaraderie and celebration are equally essential to the development and success of a team.  As I reflect back on my leadership experiences and the teams I have led, I can recognize the achievements we have made but I also recognize that we often did not take the time to celebrate our accomplishments. Without celebration and recognition, it is easy to become burnt out after all the hard work, time, and dedication that have been invested into the project. It is necessary to have a time in place to not only reflect on the project experience and improvements that can be made in the future but to also relish in the accomplishments and successes of the team. It is the unwavering support of the team/family that can lift the group to new heights.

Having the opportunity to experience the Annual Meeting debrief and the dynamic of the office staff on a daily basis for the past two weeks has taught me the value of teamwork and celebration. Additionally, it has taught me just how valuable it is to develop supportive working relationships with your coworkers. Especially since the average full time worker spends a significant percentage of their time at work, how great would it be to establish supportive relationships with those you spend so much time with? In future teams I am fortunate to be a part of, I hope to establish this type of dynamic. I hope to view my teammates as my support system and as colleagues I can turn to for advice both professionally and personally. I learned this week that I can do more to establish this dynamic. I can focus more energy into getting to know my teammates personally, dedicate time for celebration of our accomplishments, and reflect on ways to improve. I look forward to establishing the working relationships I have been fortunate enough to experience here at AACP with more teams in the future.
Jackie Zeeman
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
PharmD Candidate | Class of 2014


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