Dr. Wahlig shares leadership lessons she learned from her parents and identifies that "believing in the spirit of the child" is the key to working with children. Managing Director Lance Gunkel and Director of Business Development Adam Steen interviewed Dr. Teri Wahlig, CEO of ChildServe in Johnston, Iowa for "This Story Needs to Be Heard" podcast.
Special podcast guest Dr. Teri Wahlig joined ChildServe in Johnston, Iowa in 2010 as Vice President and Medical Director, and began serving as CEO in July 2018. She graduated from the University of Iowa College of Medicine, and is board certified in pediatrics, neonatal – perinatal medicine, and palliative care – hospice medicine. Prior to joining ChildServe, Dr. Wahlig was medical director of the Mercy Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Wahlig is past board chair of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines and was the 2018 Business Record’s Women of Influence Honoree.
Making the change from neonatologist to her current role as leader of ChildServe was a natural transition as she had been on the board of ChildServe. Taking the position has allowed her to walk the journey with families and has deepened her appreciation for what families experience in life after the NICU.Dr. Wahlig credits her parents who helped shape who she is today. As one of eight children in her family, she identified some specific leadership lessons that her parents taught her.
1) With the added chaos of a large family, she learned how to speak up, how to negotiate, and how to share.
2) She learned how to have a “can do” attitude from her Mom as her Mom always found a way to get things done and liked to push the boundaries.
3) Her father, a CPA by trade, was an analytical thinker with great organizational skills. She shared an inspirational example of how he put those skills to use in having eight children pack for vacations!
Adam Steen shared a heartwarming story of his young son’s interaction with Dr. Wahlig and how her heart completely overtook her authority or position. She explained that the key to working with kids is “believing in the spirit of the child.”
When asked about how to bring out the power of love inside of people, Dr. Wahlig said to make it a part of our vernacular, talk about it, unleash it. Don’t be afraid of it, and tap into the power of it. She has required her ChildServe team to read the book, “Love Is Just Damn Good Business.” She says it’s OK to bring the “love” word into a business setting.
When asked to leave the listeners with a message of hope and inspiration, she simply said to believe in the spirit of the child and have the willingness to be creative, innovative, and passionate.
Dr. Wahlig key quotes from podcast:
“Some life lessons are not appreciated as kids.” “It was never perfect but despite the chaos, I learned great lessons from my parents.” “When we tap into the spirit of a child, we build rocket ships!” “Kids inspire me.”