Kruse Scholar Perspective: Al Wazwaz

My 2-Year Journey.

When I first heard about the Kruse Scholarship, I remember pondering this idea of Communities of Excellence.  What would it look like? How can it be accomplished? Where do I sign up?  I never imagined my journey as a Kruse Scholar would provide me with opportunities to network and gain insights from some of the top organizations in all sectors of a community.  From the Baldrige 101 and 102 trainings to attending the PENworks Conference for two consecutive years, I have been given a unique opportunity to be a part of something not many currently understand; applying a quality framework to redesign a community.

However, at this crucial moment in my career, as a future healthcare administrator, I am still pondering the challenges of this idea.  Part of the enjoyment behind this experience is that things are still up in the air and not set in stone.  Also, part of the challenge is how can I help influence something that is constantly changing, such as a community?

I have been very fortunate to be a member of multiple communities throughout my lifetime.  I have had a first-hand look into some of the most impoverished communities in this country and understand the importance of influencing a positive change.  It is not easy to establish change in a community that is lacking in adequate resources to care for their population.  It is also not easy to create those resources for every community in this country.  However, this should not hinder the responsibility we have to change the status quo.  I personally believe the Baldrige framework has the potential to guide this change.  Listening to the transformation many organizations have gone through using these guiding principles has been inspirational.  It makes me believe that Communities of Excellence is feasible once criteria are established to tackle such a large, diverse entity.

A community can be many things to many different people.  It can be defined as the confines of multiple cities, a single city, a neighborhood, or a few blocks.  Defining community seems to be a very difficult task, but it is also a necessary goal.  Once a community is clearly defined, it will be easier to seek out the key stakeholders and try to get the ball rolling on creating a culture of excellence.

This is where I currently see myself.  Although I still have a long way to go until I am put into a position to influence major change, I can get the process moving by being an advocate for change, an advocate for the Baldrige framework, and an advocate for Communities of Excellence.  No one person can do everything, but everyone can do something.  This may have started as a 2 year journey, but the road to excellence is only getting started.  Let’s get moving!

* Learn more about Al here: Al Wazwaz

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