Leading with Faith honoree — Dr. Michael Richie

| July 26, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr. Michael Richie

Dr. Michael Richie, owner and medical director of Richie Eye Clinic in Faribault, with a patient. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

Ophthalmologist, founder and medical director, Richie Eye Clinic

Age: 60
Parish: Divine Mercy, Faribault
Spouse: Mary
Children: Katie, George, Nora
Education: University of Minnesota Medical School, 1984; internship, residency, 1988; St John’s University, 1980
Number of years with company: 19 years

For Dr. Michael Richie, “leading with faith” means setting the right priorities and putting people first. The ophthalmologist and medical director of Richie Eye Clinic in Faribault is known for treating his employees and patients as family and serving those in need, such as purchasing glasses for a terminally ill woman who lost hers and couldn’t afford new ones, and restoring sight to an impoverished man suffering from cataracts. Richie also has been on medical mission trips to Haiti and served on community-improvement efforts.

Q Describe your business.

A Richie Eye Clinic is a full-service eye clinic located in Faribault with myself and five optometrists that provides a full range of services from routine exams to surgery. We strive to serve the whole person, providing an ear to listen and a hand to hold.

Q Describe your position and role.

A As the founder and medical director, my main role, in addition to providing the medical and surgical part of our practice, is to set the tone for how we work, set the course for the future, and provide the “why.” Our “why” is simple: We exist to serve. This includes our patients, our community, our staff, each other and our families.

Q What does “leading with faith” mean to you?

A It’s all about priorities, understanding what moves you, what motivates you and what is really important. You must then consistently behave in such a way that those around you can see your faith, they will start to trust it, then emulate it. In business, as in life, putting people first will always lead to a better end result.

Q How do you concretely apply your faith and Catholic values at work?

A I think Mathew Kelly says it best … to paraphrase: do what’s right, every time. And when you fail, do the next right thing. I tell our team, I have taught my kids, and I try to live this every day: Whenever you are confronted with a situation or a problem, treat others as if they are your grandmother, or as if your grandmother is watching.

Q Please tell a story about a time when living out your faith at work really made a difference.

A We recently encountered an immigrant patient in his 50s who came to our attention through the local free clinic, HealthFinders. He had lost vision over an eight-week period. An exam showed dense white cataracts, leaving the gentleman essentially blind and unable to work or care for himself. He clearly needed care, so we expedited his cataract surgery even though we had long ago reached our HealthFinders committments. Doing what is right for the patient gave this man back his sight, and his life.

Q Who or what has inspired you to bring your faith to the marketplace?

A My mother has been the most influential person in my life. Widowed at 36 with seven small children age 2-12, she was always there for us, doing whatever needed to be done, taking on the role of mother and father. A very faith-filled person to begin with, she grew in her faith throughout my life and instilled in us that faith and family are the most important things in life.

Q What achievement at work are you most proud of?

A I am most proud of the team we have built at work. Our team understands our core values of “Respect the Patient, Respect Each Other and Respect Ourselves” and lives those values every day. As our Team Playbook describes, they understand that we exist to serve and that we behave in a positive fashion that allows us to laugh and have fun helping patients and each other. We lead with morals, doing the right thing, always serving as our patients’ advocate and treating everyone as if they are family.

Q In what specific ways have you experienced God’s presence in your workplace?

A I feel God’s presence in our workplace with every warm smile and kind touch, be it from staff or patients.

Q. What advice do you have for others who want to “lead with faith?”

A To me, leading with faith is easy … be true to yourself, be kind to others, and do what is right. Sometimes you will go against conventional wisdom, putting people ahead of profits, but those times are rare and pretty easy to identify. Once again, if you take care of the people, the bottom line will take care of itself.

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Category: Leading With Faith