Leaders in the Limelight: Laurel Barnes

Written By

Susan Jacobs

January 16, 2018

Laurel Barnes

My name: Laurel Barnes

My company: University of Michigan Health System

My title: Senior Manager, Learning Management

My location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Best business advice I ever received: To build and maintain effective relationships. This fundamental habit has helped my career immensely. The sixth habit in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is synergy. He discusses how we can achieve so much more when we engage in effective relationships with others than if we acted alone. I wholeheartedly agree with this advice.

Most daring personal career move: My most daring career move happened last year. For more than 17 years, I managed a group of instructional designers, technical writers, and multimedia experts that supported the University of Michigan’s enterprise IT systems with training and documentation. I loved my job and the people I worked with.

In February 2016, I took a new position across town with the University of Michigan Health System. My new role in this job focuses on managing the technology, hardware, and software that supports the learning of over 26,000 medical faculty, staff, and students. It was a hard decision to move out of my comfort zone, but I am so glad that I did it! I have grown so much in the past year, and I am continually challenged. I am excited for what 2018 will bring.

What I’m most proud of: I am most proud of the opportunities I have had to positively impact others: challenging, mentoring, and inspiring people to excel and grow, and experiencing success wherever their developing talents take them. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the staff I supervise and the peers I support move on to bigger and better opportunities, and watching them influence their newly adopted environments in positive and dynamic ways.

Current workplace challenge: Change is hard. Like most organizations, the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Health System have undergone many organizational changes. Change in my work environment is constant. This can be stressful and uncertain for people.

One way I mitigate ongoing change is to learn all I can about the change, and to maintain open and clear lines of communication. Each reorganization means changes in how people are managed and how work is done. With effective communication, the negative effects of change can be minimized.

Something people don’t know about me: I love weaving! I enjoy taking yarn and turning it into fabric for an article of clothing, a tablecloth, or a wall ornament. It can take hours to complete, but it makes me happy and keeps me sane.

As a result of my recreational passion, I am now a published author! I recently had an article published in Handwoven, a national journal for weavers. The article has special significance because I was writing about a table runner I had made for my niece’s wedding reception.

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