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Meet a Leader: Leilani Slama

12 Nov 2017

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Every so often we ask a top Salem Health administrator a series of interesting (and revealing) questions to give people a glimpse into their personal lives, passions and background.

Meet Vice President for Community Engagement Leilani Slama, who joined Salem Health in 2013. 

How did you start working in health care?

I was recruited by a board member who was my supervisor at a previous job. She told me what a great place Salem Health was to work. Making that transition was the best career-related decision I’ve ever made.Leilani Slama

What are three of your favorite books?

So hard to choose! I love to read and I keep discovering new authors I really like. As a kid, I could finish a book and start reading it all over again. I bet I read From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Harriet the Spy more than 20 times each. Fortunately, my kids love to read too, so when they were in elementary school and middle school, I found myself returning to those authors I loved as a child. When they moved on to high school, I read the same books they were reading – Austen, Dickens, Dostoyevsky. I like them all (well, ok, except Dickens.) If I had to break it down by kid/teen/adult, though, I’d say my favorite children’s book is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (although you can’t go wrong with any of Kate DiCamillo’s books). In the Young Adult genre, I love The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg. It’s an interesting and engaging story with a great moral. And my favorite book of all time is The Chosen by Chaim Potok.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

It drives me crazy when people intentionally misspell words, like “Kozy Kitchen”.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

It’s a toss-up between “Do or Do Not, There is No Try” (Yoda) and “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has” (Margaret Mead). In many ways, I think they are saying the same thing.

What is your favorite thing about working at Salem Health?

I like challenges and I like change - Salem Health has a lot of both. I have worked places that never changed for any reason; others changed but didn’t have a purpose behind it. At Salem Health, we implement changes every day that make a vital difference in people’s lives. There aren’t many places where you can do that.

What is a book I'm reading now?

Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics. Really. I’m not making this up.

What apps, software or tools can you not live without?

It’s not an app or software, but I can’t get through a weekend without making a recipe from my favorite baking website, Sally’s Baking Addiction.

What skills or hobbies do you have that few know about?

I grew up on a farm and was active in 4-H. I showed horses and we raised nursery and livestock. I still love to bake. I used to sew most of my own clothes, and I have a sewing room full of unfinished quilts.

What was the last movie you saw, and what did you think about it?

Wonder Woman and not much. I’m pretty hard to please when it comes to movies.

What is your favorite place to eat in Salem?

I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s less about where and more about with who…I am most happy when I have both my kids and my husband sitting around our own dinner table.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I find filling out forms (taxes excluded) oddly satisfying.

What is your favorite family tradition?

When my son was about five years old, he got a whole bunch of different Lego kits for Christmas gifts. On the day after Christmas, my husband went to work, and I stayed home with my son and my daughter, who was almost three. I asked the kids what they wanted to do and they said, “Stay in our pajamas all day and play with Legos.” So we did. Since then, Dec. 26 has been known as “Pajama Day” in our house. We lounge around, play games and enjoy each other’s company.

What is something still on your bucket list?   

I’d love to visit Greece.