Dailey tells story of growth, mentorship, and challenges

Friday, October 14, 2016

For Kiana Dailey, opportunity and encouragement helped set her on a new path.

Dailey, senior access coordinator and staff assistant team lead for Duke Division of Gastroenterology, has taken on opportunities that have challenged her to grow.

When Duke University Health System merged with Triangle Heart Associates a few years ago, Dailey was a Triangle Heart patient access associate. Now a Duke employee, Dailey explored moving her career forward. Stepping out of her comfort zone, she applied for a staff assistant position in Duke GI and has acted as team lead since last summer.

“It’s been awesome to meet so many different people, going to different meetings, and networking,” said Dailey. “It has been a learning experience. There were certain things that I wasn’t able to do at first. I’m now able to accomplish those things very well. I’m able to get in, hitting the ground running.”

I want to be able to push somebody else and give somebody else what I was given here at Duke.

 Kiana Dailey

As Dailey began to make her in place in Duke GI, her managers Cathy O'Neil, division administrator for Gastroenterology, and Sara Johnson, add title, nominated her for the First Time Supervisor Program.

The First Time Supervisor Program is offered through Duke’s Professional Development Institute. In the program, participants attend coaching sessions, take on projects within their department, and have monthly meetings with their assigned mentors.

While in the program, Dailey's managers introduced her to Department of Medicine project planning director Mary Trabert for mentorship.

Trabert encouraged Dailey to take control of her career path and believe in herself. In a mentoring session, Dailey and Trabert talked about Dailey pursuing higher education.

Dailey said at first, she didn’t see pursuing a college degree as an option because she has two children she takes care of on her own. With Trabert’s help, Dailey is planning on taking classes in business administration toward her associate’s degree.

Since being paired together through the program, Dailey said Trabert is “a great resource.”

“She really makes me think,” Dailey said. “She keeps me on my toes and she’s a very good pusher for me. I like that I can contact Mary for anything. We’ve talked about work and family matters. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple weeks ago and at our last mentoring session, that was the first thing she asked about. It made me feel like she really, genuinely cares.”

Before the program, Dailey said her self-confidence was low.

“I was really second-guessing myself,” she said. “I asked myself, ‘should I be in the program?’ In the program, we have to stand up and introduce ourselves when we have certain speakers visiting. I was so frightened about standing up and introducing myself, saying where I was from, and giving any background history. Now I don't even think about it.”

Because of her experience in the First Time Supervisor Program, Dailey said she is inspired to mentor others who are dealing with the same issues that she had to overcome.

“I want to be able to push somebody else and give somebody else what I was given here at Duke,” she said.

Now, she has the opportunity to be a mentor who helps others in need. Starting Oct. 1, Dailey was promoted to manager for the Duke GI staff assistant team.

“It was very shocking the way that they presented it to me,” she said. “You just feel like that something that you’ve been working for, for so long is coming to light. I cried a like baby. I was so emotional. It was a great feeling.”

With her new position, Dailey plans to keep up the team’s morale and give her staff the support that they need. She said it’s going to be challenging to manage a team that she was once a part of, but she won’t let this obstacle hold her or her team back.

“I just want them to know I’m still the same person,” she said. “I want to be the manager that if my team is needing help, I’m the manager that can get in and do the work with them.”

Dailey will complete the First Time Supervisor Program this November. She will continue her responsibilities as Duke GI’s scheduling subject matter expert.

This story was written by Tia Mitchell, communications intern for the Department of Medicine.