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  • Writer's pictureAlan Shoebridge

Back to the future: Taking a new path to a familiar destination

The picture at the top of this article has been my personal laptop’s screensaver since I moved from Portland, Oregon to California nearly four years ago. Well, it’s a good thing I never changed that image because I’m back! As I write this post, I’m just wrapping up day one of my two-day, 12-hour drive up to Portland to start work at Providence on Monday.

Perhaps part of that last sentence – me working at Providence – sounds familiar to you? It was my pleasure to work at Providence from 2007 until 2018, and I’m honored to return. In my new role as the Chief Communication Officer for the state of Oregon, I’ll be leading a fantastic team of professionals – the majority of whom I worked with closely during my previous time at Providence.

During my years away, I had many great experiences and worked with some truly excellent people; however, I was excited by the opportunity to rejoin Providence. The culture and history of Providence made a deep impression on me when I worked there, and I continued to admire the organization’s commitment to improving healthcare.

For those who have worked at Providence or know it well, you are aware that stories about Providence’s history often involve journeys that are far from planned or linear in nature. The Sisters of Providence faced many unexpected twists and turns when they were building hospitals and fighting to keep them operational during the leanest of times. No matter what obstacles got thrown at them, they made progress and remained focused on their goal of providing healthcare to the poor and vulnerable. That goal remains a core part of Providence's mission today.

My journey since leaving Providence hasn’t been expected or linear either, but it has been rewarding and set me on this new path – one that I’m excited about following.

When I was completing my new hire paperwork, my assigned caregiver ID number seemed familiar to me. I wondered if it might have been my ID number before, and I soon learned that it was indeed the same. The caregiver processing my paperwork said, “You must be a returning employee; this is a really old ID number.” I have to admit that even though the word "old" was used, it made me feel great.

Setting the tone for the future

Providence has a tradition of using reflections to set the tone at the start of all meetings, and I’ve always enjoyed that approach. However, today I’m going to go in a different direction and end my message with a reflection. This quote spoke to me when I was thinking about this new turn in my ongoing career journey:

Your journey never ends. Life has a way of changing things in incredible ways.

- Alexander Volkov

As I get ready to embark on this new (yet also familiar!) career journey, I am looking forward to what the future will bring at Providence.

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