Beginning next week, for the first time in 17 years, the KHC will be without the leadership of Randa Deaton. She’s served the KHC in various ways throughout those years, but one thing is certain – she is responsible for where the organization is today.
The professional impact she has made on the KHC and the community has been well documented, but what those outside the organization don’t always see is the human impact she has made on KHC employees and colleagues within the KHC membership. For these last 17 years, Randa has led not only with her head, but with her heart as well.
Randa’s family has been kind to share her with us for all these years, so that she in turn became family to each of us. One of Randa’s greatest roles for many years was as caregiver to her mother, who passed away from ovarian cancer last year. Because of that experience, she brought to her professional role a humanity that sometimes is lost when we get bogged down in the day-to-day details of the healthcare world. Her husband, Kevin, has been good-natured through late working nights and vacations interrupted by calls. Her two sons, who were small when she joined the KHC, helped with envelope stuffing and “other duties as assigned,” and are now in their twenties.
I feel confident that I’m speaking for all of us at the KHC when I say that Randa is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know. She encourages and challenges us professionally, and I’m proud to call her my friend. She’s seen me cry on probably one too many occasions, she has rooted me on in every aspect of my life, and she’s shown me a copious amount of patience when I needed it (but didn’t necessarily deserve it). I hope that at least once in your life, you have a boss and mentor who talks IU basketball with your dad, engages in philosophic discussions with you, and even sets you up on a date with her friend’s son. Randa is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of boss, and she certainly has been that for me.
My only regret is that I – and the KHC – didn’t have more time to benefit from her leadership, but after 17 years, she has set us up for success and longevity. Her next organization probably doesn’t realize right now how lucky they are to have her, but they will soon.
I wish we could say goodbye to Randa in person and thank her for her service, because that’s truly what it was – a service. The virtual reception we held last week was nice, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing. Maybe we will have the chance to rectify that in the near future. But in the meantime, please join me in raising a virtual glass to our fearless leader. She will be beyond missed.