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Why I Came, Why I Stayed: RyAnne Elsesser loves helping Methodist Hospital Foundation in its mission ‘to improve the health of our communities’Published: Feb. 5, 2024
In “Why I Came, Why I Stayed,” you’ll get to know people who are making a difference every day at Methodist and how they contribute to providing The Meaning of Care.
Chief Operating Officer
Methodist Hospital Foundation
Tell us more about yourself and your background with Methodist.
My focus at Methodist Hospital Foundation includes overseeing our budgets, managing the Scott Scholars Program, grant writing and reporting, special events, and corporate compliance.
I’ve been married to the funniest man – Dave – for seven years. We have three dogs, Toby, Penny and Blue, and they all look the same. Toby is the official office greeter at the Foundation, so stop by anytime you want to love on a dog.
My hometown is Papillion, and I still live there. I like to spend time with my family – my mom, brother and nephew live in Papillion, as well. In the winter, you can find Dave and me cheering on the Creighton Bluejays basketball team. We love all sports – Husker volleyball and football, Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox baseball, Minnesota Vikings football, and St. Louis Blues hockey.
RyAnne Elsesser with her husband, Dave, and their dogs Toby, Blue and Penny.
Why Methodist? What attracted you to the organization?
I started at Methodist Hospital Foundation as a temporary receptionist after a temp agency connected me. Immediately I knew Methodist was the place for me. The Foundation team helped me grow personally and professionally – encouraging me every step of the way. The culture of Methodist has a big family vibe, which is something that’s very comforting to me.
Fundraising is hard work. Developing and sustaining new programs is challenging. But there’s nothing more rewarding than being able to connect a donor to a program or project that supports the Methodist mission. Philanthropy is so crucial to the growth of Methodist, and it’s fun to be part of the process that supports new and innovative ideas. Watching a program go from an idea to actually helping our communities is fulfilling.
What is it about Methodist that keeps you coming back?
Methodist Hospital Foundation’s mission is simple – to improve the health of our communities. It’s gratifying to help patients going through their most vulnerable times by removing barriers. Whether it’s paying for a $4 prescription co-pay or helping a patient afford hospice care, we help patients focus on their health.
Through our scholarship program at Nebraska Methodist College (NMC), we’re making dreams come true for so many students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend college. I find joy in seeing these students develop into professional nurses and give back to the community.
Our goal is to offer help beyond our clinics and hospitals. We seek out the underserved and meet them where they are. Methodist Mobile 3D Mammography, the Methodist Community Counseling Program and the NMC Mobile Diabetes Center are just a few examples of donor-funded programs that extend beyond our walls.
It’s our donors – including our Methodist employees who give annually during the Caring Campaign – who make our work possible.
Do you have any favorite Methodist memories?
My favorite memory is also my saddest memory. My dad was diagnosed with cancer and was at Methodist Hospital before transferring to Hospice House. Everyone who was part of his care not only took care of him but also cared for me and my family. Making sure we had the resources we needed to focus on being the wife, daughter and son helped us through a very difficult time. Although the outcome was not what we prayed for, having my Methodist family surrounding us during my dad’s final days is something I will never forget.
Flash forward six years, and my Methodist family is now taking care of my mom as she goes through cancer treatment. Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center has actually turned into a place of joy for us when we go there for appointments and treatment every three weeks. Her health care team loves on her every time she visits, and I know this is going to give her many more years with us.
Have you had a mentor or colleague who has stood out in your journey?
While they weren’t in official mentor roles, there are three Foundation colleagues who guided me to becoming the Methodist employee I am today. Cyndy Peacock, retired president and CEO; Tracy Madden-McMahon, president and CEO; and Tom Elser, vice president, have all encouraged me and pushed me to be my best. Working with colleagues who have your back and want nothing but the best for you and your team is priceless. At Methodist Hospital Foundation, we all work together to help others, and it’s an honor to carry on the Foundation’s mission and set it up for success in the future.
What should people know about Methodist, its mission and its culture?
Methodist believes in growing its own. Through management training, continuing education support, the Peacock Mentoring Program and scholarships for our nurses, Methodist believes it has the best and supports the growth of all of its employees. When I started at Methodist in 2003, the thing that amazed me the most was the annual service recognition listing. Seeing employees celebrate 30, 40 and even 50 years of service at Methodist showed me that working at Methodist is more than a job. We’re a team of many that works together to improve the health of our families, friends and communities.