Healthy Culture leader Sue Dicks to retire12/13/22 04:00:pm
After more than a decade of remarkable, culture changing years at Rogers Behavioral Health and in the community, Sue McKenzie Dicks is retiring as vice president of Healthy Culture this month.
Sue, together with her former colleague, Suzette Urbashich, created Rogers InHealth, now known as Community Learning and Engagement, and Wise Initiative for Stigma Elimination (WISE) from the ground up. Sue and Suzette joined Rogers in 2011, charged with the not so simple task of “reducing the stigma around mental health.”
They had many internal voices giving ideas on what direction to go in and how to go about it. They listened thoughtfully and also made certain to thoroughly engage and seek the input of the mental health grassroots community. They researched evidenced models of stigma reduction and learned to adapt strategies and models into something new and improved. This collaborative process took extra time, patience, and lots of effort, but the accomplishments and the establishment of WISE and the Community Learning and Engagement department are nothing short of remarkable.
The approaches to stigma reduction are used within Departments of Public Instruction, youth organizations, providers across Wisconsin and in many other states. As just one example, the Compassion Resilience Toolkits that Sue developed in partnership with many others have been downloaded 4,391 times including by users from China, India, Africa, numerous European countries, Australia, Central America, and Canada. Sue leaves a truly lasting legacy. Learn more about the work of WISE and Community Learning Engagement at a newly redesigned website here: eliminatestigma.org.
Over the past six years, Sue turned a major part of her focus to applying those learnings internally to create and sustain a healthy culture of compassion, excellence, and accountability at Rogers. That’s happened through internal Compassion Resilience training as well as leading the development and oversight of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion work throughout the organization.
Sue has more than 35 years of experience leading the development of teams, educational programs, and collaborative projects. Over her career, Sue has taught youth and adults, directed the development and delivery of health education programs, developed state and national curriculum, and led training for teachers and community leaders to effectively address mental health challenges. She provided national training under grants from CDC and the Federal Department of Education and worked through local and national partnerships to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.
Rogers and communities worldwide have benefited from her tenacious passion, innovative program design, and collaborative leadership skills. See what some of her colleagues have to say about Sue and her impact:
“Sue brings such grace, diligence, truth, and realism into each conversation. She reflects our true north as an organization and strives to see the best in all of us.” ~ John Boyd, PsyD, president and CEO
“Thank you for carrying and caring for our hearts. The work you led has positively changed this organization and its people. You have helped us show up, care for and work together with compassion and care for each other. Thank you for being our Chief Heart Officer!” ~ Barbara Brockmeier, senior vice president of operations, Inpatient and Residential Services
“I was involved from the very beginning and admired Sue’s steadfastness and her ever-polite and gentle force with the powers-to-be and with employees. When Pat Hammer asked me early on to have Sue report to me, I was not thrilled. She had worked independently, running her own shop, and now she would have to report to a superior. But she made even that task very easy. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Sue so closely for so many years. One of my all-time favorite colleagues. I will miss you dearly, Sue. Danke fuer die gute Zeit!” ~ Matthias Schueth, executive vice president, Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation
“Words that come to mind describing Sue the first time I met her and were reinforced through our many conversations are Compassionate, Caring, Thoughtful, Highly empathetic, and Willing to learn and try new things. These words may sound overused or trite, however, when you are working with Sue you see these words in action and the positive impact they have on all around her. I learned more from Sue when I was her leader than she learned from me, I’m sure. She has made a positive impact on Rogers and will have a lasting legacy.” ~ Brian Kramer, vice president, Human Resources
“‘Goodbye…? Oh, no please. Can’t we go back to page one and do it all over again?’ - Winnie The Pooh I can’t say it better than Winnie the Pooh, but I know that Sue is irreplaceable and the best thought partner one could ask for when considering helping fulfill our mission to help all people reach their full potential. I’ll say Auf Wiedersehen – till we see each other again – instead of goodbye!’” ~ Stephanie Eken, MD, Chief Medical Officer
“Sue’s presence alone is something to be admired. The way she can hold space for another human is something I work toward daily. She has shown us what can be uncovered and worked through by just the act of listening and being curious. Thank you for bringing your genuine self to Rogers so we can aim to do the same.” ~ Signa Meyers, vice president, strategic initiatives
“Sue has taught me more than any leader I have ever worked alongside. She has modeled what I consider key components of a strong leader: curiosity, vulnerability, grace, and honoring the humanity in all. Her work will live on through so many, myself included.” ~ Emily Jonesberg, program manager, Rogers Community Learning and Engagement & WISE
“I have known Sue for seven years and what I have learned most from her is to solicit others’ opinions and input. Collaboration might be harder than doing it yourself, yet the outcome will never be as good as when working with others. She has been a mentor and a friend.” ~ Alison Wolf, operation and development manager, Rogers Community Learning and Engagement & WISE
“Impact on me: Sue has been the first boss I have considered a true mentor. She has shown that the most impactful leaders are compassionate, dedicated to the well-being of their team, servant leaders, and willing to be humble and vulnerable. Impact on Rogers: Sue was deeply dedicated to pushing and pulling Rogers into the Equity journey. Her commitment to being an active ally and willingness to humbly and publicly dive deeper into her own equity journey has paved the way for true organizational transformation at Rogers.” ~ Jessica Langill, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion coordinator
“Sue is a true mentor and friend to me. I love her energy, ‘can do’ attitude, and ‘get it done’ approach that I thrive in working alongside. She is one of the best listeners I know, and when she opens her mouth, it’s sure to be a thoughtful, respectful nugget of wisdom. On a rare bad day for me, Sue is a colleague I want to reach out to, because I know she’ll offer both compassion and a fresh perspective. She inspires me to be my best self. While I will miss working closely with Sue, I certainly hope we will continue to be friends.” ~Anne Ballentine, vice president, Marketing and Communications
“Gracefully, naturally, and humbly, Sue sets the Rogers standard for compassion, kindness, and character, leaving all who she interacts with feeling understood, encouraged, and empowered.” ~ Marty Vogel, vice president, major gifts, Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation
“I love this quote, and it makes me think of Sue. ❤” ~ Brock Maxwell, vice president of operations, Central Service Area, Outpatient Services
“Sue worked tirelessly to set a standard for what it means to act with compassion, respect, and dignity. The impact she made on every employee who crossed her path is undeniable and, thus, the impact she’s left on patients is something that can’t be ignored. Because of her work at Rogers Behavioral Health, we are left better than when she came.” ~ Hanna Maechtle, Community Learning and Engagement training specialist