“Sometimes I can be a little much for people,” laughs Jamie Gilbert. “I know I am — it’s who I am.”
The five-time Admin Award-nominated executive secretary at Texas Health Resources is perfectly proud to wear that mantle. Her whole life, Gilbert’s worked to fill her moments with muchness: Much kindness. Much heart. Much passion and enthusiasm.
That no-holds-barred approach has not only propelled her to success as an administrative professional — she won THFW’s John A. Wiggins Service Award in March 2006 and also serves as executive secretary for the Texas Nurses Association District 3 and as the administrative liaison for THR’s administrative professionals group — but also in her roles as a mother and writer. Recently, she combined the latter two talents, self-publishing a book titled Life’s Boot Camp Ramp, which is a compilation of nearly daily letters and poems she sent to her son Sailor H. Gilbert after he entered Navy Boot Camp in November of last year.
“Since I was a little girl, I’ve written hundreds of songs and poems for myself and others to get us through the day,” says Gilbert, who has worked as secretary since 1996 and at THR since 2000. “There are so many different things we come across in our daily life where we need that little extra boost. All of the things I wrote to him were things I wanted him to know or learn from, or something I had gone through that I needed to reiterate to him.”
Gilbert’s goal was to serve as an example for her son. She wrote him poems with titles like “Commitment,” “100%” and “Man Up” that served as reminders to focus on the “why” of his time in boot camp. It’s the same approach she takes in her job as an EA: consistently demonstrating that determination is the key to success.
“I didn’t say, ‘Oh my gosh, I miss you so much,’ because that’s not what he needed to hear,” Gilbert says. “I would tell him, ‘You’ve got this — focus on the outcome, and you’re going to have a great career and life. He needed to hear that he’s doing this for a reason: even if your teammates are flailing, continue to be you, continue to be that example. Don’t hold back.”
Gilbert drew on her own experiences to help her son. One of her favorite poems in the book is, “Note to Self,” which reinforced her mantra that with hard work, any obstacle can be overcome.
“I just don’t have limitations,” says Gilbert, who notes she has three more books she’s currently working on while simultaneously working full-time at THR. “I don’t let myself have limitations. I’ve had a rough life — I could have given up, but I didn’t. All the challenges have made me who I am. I was determined to be OK, to help people, to make a difference in someone’s life. That’s been true in my professional and personal life.”
She pauses, then notes that for her, there’s no such thing as too much.
“I have a lot of plans for my future,” Gilbert says. “There’s more to come.”