Moving on Up: Gwen Drake
Cook Children’s Medical Center Promotes Internal Growth
Gwen Drake, MHA, LSSYB, feels strongly about advocating for employees and mentoring them – a character trait she honed while in the Navy. “I joined the service to help people and be part of something meaningful,” Gwen said.
Gwen served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm as one of the first females on one of the ammunition ships in the Navy. Following her honorable discharge, she immediately enrolled in medical assistant school to start her health care journey.
In 2004, Gwen began at Cook Children’s Medical Center in an entry-level position as a certified medical assistant in the GI Clinic and four years later moved to the Psychiatry department as a unit secretary and program specialist.
After four more years, she landed in the Endocrinology department as the office supervisor until 2016 when she began serving as the program manager Ⅰ at Cook Children's Neighborhood Clinic Richland Hills. In 2020, she transferred to the Arlington Neighborhood Clinic as program manager Ⅱ and in 2021 was given the role of practice administrator.
“From the beginning, the administrative staff has always been welcoming and supportive,” Gwen said. “This empowered me to believe that I could not only assume additional responsibility but that I was capable enough to pursue any position in which I was qualified. I went on to advance my education by matriculating in the health care field of study. After obtaining my master’s degree in Health Care Administration/Operations, I began aggressively completing applications for various positions.”
Gwen is especially grateful for Melody Johnson who gave her the opportunity as an office supervisor, Vera Johnson for the role of practice manager Ⅰ and Christina Reed for the chance to be a practice administrator.
“Encouraged by my previous success as office supervisor and opportunities provided by higher-level administrators, I was secure that I had landed in an environment conducive to my personal growth and success,” Gwen said.
Gwen says joining the Navy at a young age instilled leadership, persistence, loyalty, a strong work ethic and the love of learning in her – characteristics that, along with great leaders, helped her get to where she is today. Ultimately, she strives to make a difference every day.
“The challenges of my occupation motivate me to assist the families in the community we serve,” Gwen said. “Seeing the children well and whole drives me daily to do what I can to help them.”
As Gwen works on her doctorate degree, she looks forward to the day she reaches her long-term goal of being a director and part-time online adjunct professor.
“I plan to pay it forward and help those who want to grow within the organization as I greatly appreciate the help I have received from previous and current leaders.”