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On the Job with ... Linda Van der Merwe

Linda Van der Merwe is the vice president of Oncology Service at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Linda Van der Merwe is the vice president of Oncology Service at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

“On the Job With ...” is a regular feature of Sunday Inc. Today’s Q&A session conducted by Danny Carter is with Linda Van der Merwe, vice president of Oncology Services at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Q. What was your first job?

A. At age 15 I worked in a Family Practice Physician office filing.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?

A. I bought a Villager purse.

Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. Set a good example.

Q. What led you to your current position?

A. A headhunter told me about a wonderful opportunity.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. Jim Peterson, a physicist in Chicago. He saw something in me and encouraged me to teach and to push myself to always work for the patient and never forget compassion.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. Make decisions wisely.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples email, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?

A. Automated phone systems.

always hit “0” because I want to speak to a live person.

Q. What is your favorite

work-related gadget?

A. My white board. When I am done writing, I press a button and it prints what was on the board.

Q. What is your favorite tradition?

A. Christmas. I love to decorate and plan the whole month around church, family and friends.

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. Last book: “Take care of your Life!” by Cheryl Richardson. Daily devotionals help me get through my day.

Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?

A. I get up at 6:45. My husband always makes me coffee and brings me a cup as I am getting ready for work.

Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and why?

A. Billy Graham. He is so humble. I would just love to sit and talk to him.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. I am very involved with my church locally and my denomination in the state.

Q. Best thing about your job?

A. I believe I am helping our community and our patients.

Q. Worst thing about your job?

A. Long hours.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. Speech. I used to be very uncomfortable speaking in front of people.

Q. Finish this thought; “on the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself…

A. Gardening. Always want to do it, but don’t find the time.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. The ability to listen.

Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?

A. Modern classical.

Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

A. Aruba. My husband and I enjoyed the beach and snorkeling. I love the ocean.

Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?

A. It is becoming harder and harder to care for our patients due to the continual adding on of paperwork governed by our government.