December 04, 2018
Melissa Gallo’s journey to healthcare began with a basketball.
Today, Melissa is a Process Improvement Specialist for Memorial Healthcare System. She began her career in the hospitality industry, but she’s never worked anywhere more hospitable than Memorial.
“That’s the irony for me,” says Melissa, who was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia. “Memorial, across the board, is consistently hospitable. It’s really powerful when you walk in and see it and feel it. It’s sincere. In hospitality, that’s supposed to be what you feel, but it doesn’t always happen that way. Memorial figured it out and they have it down.”
Since college, Melissa aspired to work in healthcare, but she took a few detours to get here. Her steps to Memorial began with, of all things, dribbling a basketball. She started playing at age 5, played competitively throughout high school, and eventually chose the game over piano — an instrument she’d mastered under her mother’s professional tutelage.
“Piano is my biggest hobby. It’s another one of my loves,” Melissa says.
She received a full ride to Boston University on a basketball scholarship and earned a degree in hospitality with a minor in management. Upon graduating, the medium guard immediately entered Hillstone Restaurant Group’s Management Training Program.
“When you want to get into restaurant management, that’s the group you want to enter to set the tone for your career. They are well-known specifically for their discipline, consistency, and guest-focused approach in the food service industry,” says Melissa.
She trained in New Jersey before being sent to South Florida.
“I fell in love with South Florida and wanted to stay,” she says.
To avoid relocation, as is common in restaurant management, Melissa transitioned to Starr Restaurants and helped the company open a restaurant in South Florida. Only six months in, she went back to school for her healthcare MBA. Keeping all of these balls in the air — a challenge for most — was actually no problem for this athlete..
“I was a very busy kid growing up. That’s why I continue to stay busy. It’s ingrained in me. Basketball trained me to learn time management all my life, especially in college. No matter what I study now, I’m able to manage it. You just make it work. You do what you have to do when you’re chasing your dreams,” Melissa says.
While still completing her higher degree, Melissa leaped from the restaurant industry to healthcare, which was where she wanted to be all along. She actively pursued a position with Memorial because of its reputation for putting people first.
In her current role, she serves as a Process Improvement Specialist dedicated to Memorial Hospital Miramar, a function similar to internal consulting. She is called upon when the frontline staff or upper management feels that a process could be facilitated more efficiently. The Process Improvement Department analyzes situations using a number of Lean Six Sigma tools and helps to provide solutions that minimize waste and better utilize resources. Most recently, she and the PI team facilitated a cost-reduction initiative regarding standardizing the discharge process system-wide. Melissa has also completed a project in the Memorial Hospital Miramar pediatric ED storage space for more efficient use and organization..
All this to say, people are her priority.
“Taking care of patients is customer service,” says Melissa, who has been with Memorial for a little under a year. “The Memorial culture is so incredibly unique. It’s true hospitality. People have said that about other companies I’ve worked for, but Memorial proved that it was true very early in my career here. I’m very thankful to belong to a healthcare organization where I get the healthcare interest that I love so much and to be in that hospitable environment.”