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Student News of Liberty High School


Student News of Liberty High School


Student News of Liberty High School


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Finding Your Place: Managing the Pieces of Life

Tonya Waller, the Supply Chain Logistics Manager for three different hospitals, shares her story of how she got to where she is today
Kylie Brennan
Tonya Waller’s department replenishes many emergency kits including the crash carts found around the hospitals.

One of the most important things in life is finding out where you go after high school, what do you want to do for the rest of your life. This can be one of the most important and difficult decisions for a person to make. Luckily for us still in high school, we have a group of adults that surround us, all there to help make the process easier. “Finding Your Place” is a collection of stories about adults out there in their profession and their stories; the hope is that those of us out there still trying to figure it out can look at these to see a few of the many options we have. Here’s to finding our place out there!

When doing group projects, do you take on the leadership role? Some people are born leaders, liking to take charge and help others towards a common goal. If this is something you excel at, something you want to get better at or a thing you would like to pursue; you could take a page out of Tonya Waller’s book and go into management. Waller is the Supply Chain Logistics Manager for three SSM Hospitals; DePaul, St. Joseph West, and St. Joseph Wentzville. Waller summarizes their role saying, “We do stock, our team is in charge of supplying med surg and critical supplies to the hospital units along with shipping and receiving in the department for the clinical staff. We will replenish several different types of emergency kits.”

Tonya Waller checks supply room 4344. Each bin is labeled with a QR code which allows Waller and her team to have an online chart for the quantity of items in each department. (Kylie Brennan)

Management was not what Waller was originally in college for. She went in for a degree in multimedia and web design. During college, she switched her major a few times. This is something that most people end up doing when trying to find a career path. “When I went to college in the first place I wanted to do multimedia and web design,” Waller said. “I learned that it was all going overseas, so then I went into accounting at school and then joined some accounting clubs and learned that wasn’t for me. Then I took business management classes and I did like that aspect of it.”

Between 50-75 percent of undergraduate students end up switching their majors before graduating, according to a study by Ohio State University. It is super common and a great way to figure out what you are interested in.

Being a supply chain logistics manager means a lot of things. This is a very demanding job, something you have to have dedication, patience and good time management skills for. “The team works very well together and that’s a big thing on this type of job,” Waller said. “Being able to navigate who your contacts are and what information they need, it’s a full circle that process and to make sure that we finish our part to make sure that that department gets filled and their supplies.” Both her father and her brother went into management, she ended up following in her brother’s footsteps by getting her degree in business management. Waller loves to watch people grow and learn, caring deeply about the people around them. She claims this is a huge part as to why she loves her job, the people she works with and leads.

Being such a crucial part of the hospital isn’t all pretty, there are many difficulties and sacrifices that have to be made for the sake of the job. Waller, having worked in this position for four years, says, “You have to have dedication, cause some of the stuff requires a lot of work from you or some sacrifices with being a salary employer there are definitely those times you are working more than the average 40 hour work week. Being flexible to know if something major comes up, what you are doing in your personal life kind of goes on the side, and you have to do the work side. Then again I think that it does give you a lot of pride in what you do, especially when people are very thankful for that, you realize that what you do is important.” Waller says for the people just starting out in these types of jobs, and those who want to, that you don’t know everything and have to be willing to learn new things everyday. Although you learn about management in college, a lot of what you learn is going to be through experience in that field.

Tonya Waller (left) works with many people for the job she does. One of these people is Lauren Fagan (right), the Administrator Director of Nursing for St. Joseph West. (Kylie Brennan)

Waller works with many people because of the work she does, and because of this knows that in order to be successful in this job you need to have good communication skills. Communicating is a huge part of being in a management position, you are teaching and leading people in projects. The supply chain is a very important section of any hospital, this is the section that makes sure you have all the materials and tools that the more clinical workers need in order to help people.

It is a huge responsibility and can make it difficult to have a good work-life balance. “A lot of what I do dictate what other people want from me, at the same time there are easier cut off times for me. I am not in staffing like I was in retail management. I can work from home sometimes, some of those emails can be 5 minutes. So that helps with work-life balance because that can still be doing something, send an email and it’s over.” Waller says, comparing the two jobs, “Whereas in the retail aspect I had to be there, that changed the game a bit for me. If no one is emailing me at one on a Friday then I can leave at one on a Friday. So that is a very helpful way to manage that better than I had in the past.” 

Finding out where you want to go is difficult, you might change your mind a lot; and that is a good thing. Waller says that, “You are making the decision for a big chunk of your life so if you really aren’t comfortable in what you are doing or think that this is really what you want to do, explore some other options. Or at least do some electives or join some clubs, they kind of show you what that’s all about. The one year or year and a half that you may be in school now could be 10 years down the line in a job you can’t stand.”

Don’t be afraid to explore different interests, you won’t know until you give it a try. There are endless possibilities for you out there, perhaps something in management is an interest of yours the same as it is for Tonya Waller. 

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About the Contributor
Kylie Brennan
Kylie Brennan, Reporter
Kylie Brennan is a junior and a part of the magazine staff this year, having previously been in journalism. Kylie loves the theater arts and recently joined Earth Club as well. She is very excited for this year and hopes to make as many memories and accomplishments as possible!

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