Golden Rule, giving back to community motivate IT manager

| August 15, 2012 | 0 Comments
Yvonne Houle-Gillard

Leading With Faith winner Yvonne Houle-Gillard. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

From the nominator“She operates with high personal integrity and ethical standards. . . . Yvonne indicated that she could not teach the youngsters in her Sunday School class at St. Peter’s unless she actively practiced the same Catholic values and teachings of Jesus Christ in her daily work.”
— Marjorie Mathison Hance

In her words

Your faith is a part of who you are and how you make decisions. So, you don’t check your faith hat at the door. It comes with you wherever you go. I’m not a different person when I teach Sunday school than I am at the office. My decisions have to be consistent with my beliefs.

It has a lot to do with the Golden Rule — treat others the way you would want to be treated. And, making sure that the things that you have to do on a daily basis don’t conflict with your beliefs and that you call others out where you think they’re doing something that isn’t right to do.

It’s definitely acceptable here to be speaking up where you think something isn’t right. We’re encouraged to bring things to people’s attention that aren’t right. So, it’s asking questions about: Is this what we should be doing? Is there another way to do this, and have we thought about an alternative approach to what we’re doing? It’s about keeping in mind always that you’re treating everybody in the company the way you would want to be treated.

We’re going through a transformation right now in my organization. We have a lot of different IT systems around the world and we’re in the process of transitioning to a new computer system. Over time, many of the systems we have today will go away and we’ll transition to this new system.

I worked with the IT operating committee to ask for greater visibility into some of those organization changes that are going to be impacting a number of those individuals. . . . For the people who have been basically keeping our company up and running with the systems we have today, we’ve asked for opportunities for them to be trained on the new system so that there is a career path for them going forward as we go through this giant transformation.

I was in my senior strategy class at St. Kate’s as an undergrad, and Jeanette Gudgel was talking to us one day about the cost of college. Several of us were going to college on scholarship and working when we weren’t studying in order to make ends meet. We were having trouble fathoming the concept that the money we paid wasn’t enough to keep a college running. She assured us that it wasn’t enough to keep a college running and that what was needed of us is to be good citizens in that we should be using our time, talent and treasure to give back to those people who have given us opportunities. And, I would say that made a big impression on me.

I’ve always been engaged in some capacity or another at St. Kate’s since then. Early on, more of the time and the talent rather than the treasure. But, the treasure comes over time [after] you pay off student loans.

One way I give back is by mentoring others. When I first graduated, I mentored students at St. Kate’s and supported the Business Department’s Professional Partnership Program. I have also been actively involved in mentoring others since I started at 3M in 1998.

That same thing applies to work. I’m fortunate to be able to work for a com­pany where being active in your com­­mun­­ity is encouraged. There are volunteer fairs where they make you aware of opportunities in your community. We are encouraged to take time away from work during the day to volunteer with our co-workers in the community. This year, we’re focusing on things that benefit children in our community. Last year, our focus was on homelessness. The year before, our focus was on hunger.

I was able to co-lead the campaign with a lot of talented people who run our campaign year after year. I did that for two years as co-chair. It was just a fabulous opportunity to understand how much the collective power of the people at work can do for the people in our community who aren’t as fortunate as we are. I’m most proud of figuring out how to get out of people’s way to let them do what they’re good at, and focus on the things that they need help with.


Age: 42

Company: 3M

Title: IT manager

Parish: St. Peter, Mendota

Spouse: Gary Gillard

Children: Alex, Josh

Activities: Parish council member, church choir member and cantor, religious education teacher, St. Catherine University Alumnae Council committee member, Art Adventure volunteer at Faithful Shepherd School

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Category: Leading With Faith