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OHVMA Member Focus

Lois Koehler

Volunteer Services Manager

Elyria Medical Center

Elyria, Ohio

Member: Joined in March 2002

Lois works at a facility that has 387 beds.  Her Volunteer Group consists of 256 volunteers and one direct report.

Q:  What does being a member of OHVMA mean to you professionally?

A:  It provides a wonderful resource of support, knowledge and expertise.

Q:  What is your most successful program and why? 

A:  Our courtesy services.  Every guest is greeted and walked to their destination.  We let them know the moment they enter that they are important.

Q:  As a Manager, what drew you to volunteer management?  How did you get started?

A:  My situation was a bit different.  During a significant corporate cost cutting downsizing, my department (Marketing and Public Relations) was totally eliminated leaving my team and me unemployed.  I was offered an open management position in Volunteer Services which I accepted.  One day I was writing press releases and marketing new physicians, and the next day I was smiling at people I did not know or have a clue what I was supposed to do with them.  They mentored me into my role.  Many mistakes and lots of laughs later, our volunteers are wonderful friends.

Q:  Three words that describe you----A:  integrity, kind, hard worker

  Q:  What is most challenging about your position:  Keeping all the plates spinning with limited time and resources.

Q:  How do you define success---A:  encouraging someone to see their potential and then pursuing it.

Q:  What has been your proudest moment----A:  When my granddaughter learned to say “Nana”.

Q:  If you were stuck on an island – what three things would you bring ----A:  I thought a toothbrush, water and a change of underwear would be good but my husband told me that if I had no food, or a flare, my clean underwear wouldn’t be important.  I tend to disagree.

Q:  What advice would you give to a recent Volunteer Director Newbee?

A:  1.  Build relationships; 2.  Learn the volunteers’ names; 3.  Laugh with your volunteers; 4.  Daily remind them of their value to the organization, the people they help, and how much they are appreciated.

Q:  What are your hopes for our profession?

A:  That the breadth of responsibility, knowledge of human resource management, and skills in training and development, would be recognized in academia and the professional career sector.

Q:  What did you want to be when you grew up?

A:  Still trying to figure that out (and grow up) - a back-up singer with either Diana Ross and the Supremes or the Carpenters.  I think it is time to accept reality and move on to a new dream.

Q:  What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

A:  Live each day expecting a blessing from the Lord.  He never disappoints.

Q:  You’d like to be famous for---

A:  The best Nana ever!


Thank you, again!  Lois!  Please reach out to Lois (in the Northeast District) – what a story!


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