Sometimes friends become family, but in the case of Sharp HealthCare employees Tami Vahalik, Sami Shelton and Morgan Monreal, these “sisters” have become lifelong friends.
Tami, Sami and Morgan were all members of the Alpha Sigma Pi sorority when they attended the University of Redlands. Now, the sorority sisters are all proud members of the Sharp HealthCare family. Though their graduation dates span nearly three decades, the bond of sisterhood and friendship have only strengthened over time.
While each of them studied different subjects in college and now work in various roles across Sharp, they remain steadfast to the three tenants of their sorority: friendship, constancy and fidelity.
In honor of Friendship Day, we asked these three employees about the impact their sisterhood has on their lives today.
What is your role at Sharp HealthCare?
Tami: I work in Sharp Grossmont’s Emergency Department as a unit clerk on overnight shifts. In short, I answer phones, page doctors and keep the unit organized. I have been here now for about two and a half years and I love it! I like the variety; it keeps me thinking.
Sami: I am a development associate for Grossmont Hospital Foundation (GHF). My role is to facilitate the logistics, volunteers, auction item solicitation and day-of-event operations for GHF events. I have the pleasure of working with the fabulous people on our planning committees for our golf tournament, regatta and gala.
Morgan: I’m the administrative assistant for Sharp HealthCare Foundation. I also assist with the Planned Giving team’s data administrative needs.
How did you come to work for Sharp?
Tami: Sami! She's Sharp’s number one “recruiter.” My educational background doesn’t quite match up to what I do, but I wanted night shift and something dependable. I love my job in the ED! I love that every night is different, my co-workers and that my job allows me the flexibility to pursue my other interests.
Sami: I started working for Sharp in 2010 after finally listening to my mother’s advice. My mom worked for Sharp for more than 35 years and started her career at Grossmont Hospital before working for Sharp HealthCare’s information systems. I spent a good amount of my childhood walking around the Brier Patch campus where her office used to be.
Morgan: Sami had posted the job listing on our Alpha Sigma Pi San Diego Alumni Facebook page. One year later, I’m still loving it!
What do you value most about your experience in your sorority?
Tami: When I was in school, I had patronesses (mentors) who were amazing role models. They would take the time to sit, talk and listen to us to help us find a decision instead of telling us what to do. This philosophy has followed me into my life beyond undergrad in the way that I approach my work life and service. As a patroness, I formed my friendship with Sami and Morgan, along with many other of my sisters. I may be older than Sami and Morgan by over a decade, but when you are true sisters and have a true friendship, age doesn't matter.
Sami: Being in a sorority taught me teamwork, leadership and when to sit back and let others lead. It also helped me learn skills with project and time management. Most of all, I value the relationships that I have made. No matter what years we joined, we still have a common bond of being sisters.
Morgan: Joining Alpha Sigma Pi was hands down the best choice I made in college. Having such a sense of being “home” was priceless. My sisters are to this day some of my closest friends, even after more than 10 years. We can pick right back up where we left off. Being a member of the sorority taught me the importance of community involvement, friendship and sisterhood.
How has your experience, both in the sorority and being active alumni, affected your professional career?
Tami: As a Sigma, we are all individuals and we pride ourselves on everyone having a uniqueness that brings something special to our organization. Our motto "Not for ourselves alone" brings those unique qualities together to form a bond that celebrates us as individuals and as a group. Having additional outlets beyond work helps remind me to stop and enjoy all that is around me instead of completely immersing myself in one field.
Sami: Putting on events and fundraising as both active members and alumni helped me learn a lot for coming into working at the foundation, even when I didn’t know it at the time. Additionally, the networking within our circles has been a huge help in learning about other career interests from sisters. Being a government major, I didn’t think that I would end up working in health care philanthropy, but I am so happy that I did!
Morgan: I feel that my time spent as treasurer helped guide me into my current career of accounting and finance. I have always been good with numbers, so it seemed like a role in which I could thrive. As an alum, I was twice in charge of planning our annual alumni luncheon. Each role that I served in helped prepare me for working in the corporate world upon graduation — learning how to work cohesively as a team, stepping out of your comfort zone and accomplishing a common goal.
How have you maintained a connection with each other over the years?
Tami: Sami is like an actual little sister to me; she keeps me young. We like to try new places to eat, bake during the holidays and, most of all, we share a love of our adventures in our nerdy world of comics and cats. Morgan fits right in too. All my sisters make my life so much fuller. They have been with me through so many challenges and celebrations in my life. Choosing to become a Sigma is one of the best decisions I ever made while attending the University of Redlands.
Sami: I am fortunate enough that we all grew up in San Diego and made strong connections about our hometown. Each of us had unique experiences when active in the sorority that bonded our friendship. After graduation, we stayed connected by living close to each other. We share common interests, so we would go out to concerts, beer festivals, rodeos, dinner and more together. We have three other sisters who also live around San Diego that get together often (when not in quarantine).
Morgan: There is a large group of sisters here in the San Diego region, so we try to get together as often as we can, with weddings, baby showers, housewarmings, birthday celebrations, happy hours and more. Thank goodness for social media, which is keeping us updated, especially during this current COVID-19 pandemic.
Learn more about careers at Sharp HealthCare.