Cleveland Clinic embraces 'friendtors'

Cleveland Clinic is celebrating mentorships that extend beyond work — "friendtors," as the system calls them. 

A recent blog post from Cleveland Clinic's caregiver office details one such friendtorship, telling the story of Kyle Underwood and Adam Haas. Mr. Underwood moved from San Diego to Cleveland to begin an administrative fellowship, and benefited from his mentors as he navigated the unfamiliar environment. 

"Mentoring is so much more than [providing] business tips and tricks," Mr. Underwood said. "I owe my career success to my mentors, who have taught me how to navigate life, be a good human and even scrape ice off my car."

His positive experiences as a mentee encouraged him to test out mentorship, according to the blog post. Mr. Underwood began his career as a program manager at the system's Head and Neck Institute on the same day as Mr. Haas. The former invited the latter to lunch via email, and their friendship blossomed from there. 

"Lunch started with Kyle asking me, 'Why do you work in healthcare, and why do you find a value in it?'" Mr. Haas said. "Daily meetings turned into joint projects, and that eventually turned into hanging out together on the weekends."

In addition to holding weekly "lunch-and-learn" sessions to discuss work-related items, the two connect throughout the day and outside of the office. They consider each other friends, and have benefited from the sense of purpose and belonging the alliance provides. It has also helped Mr. Underwood, who has the rare genetic disorder Hunter syndrome, to feel accepted by his co-workers. 

The two recently relocated to Las Vegas to begin administrative roles at Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, and are confident in their ability to form relationships in a new environment. 

"Cleveland Clinic has created a culture in which these conversations and relationships can develop naturally," Mr. Underwood said. 

Read more in the full blog post here.

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