American vocalist, Marian Anderson said, “Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” This style of leadership requires an attitude of Service and a Respect for others – two core values at Hugh Chatham. This week’s Hugh Chatham Way Highlight focuses on a team member who demonstrates servant leadership every day. I’m delighted to recognize Tonya Gentry, Patient Services Manager — a team member who truly enjoys serving others, whether it’s an employee, a patient, or a visitor.

Warren Bates, Director of Food and Environmental Services and Safety Officer, said  “Tonya is very deserving of this recognition and is truly an inspiration to all of us that work in Food Services and with Sodexo. While many people talk about being able to multitask, she can truly do it. I am constantly amazed at her ability to get a significant amount of work done whether it is through her own efforts or through her leadership of others. She anticipates the needs of others and of the department, and often gets things done before others realize they need to be done. She fills in when needed, is a true servant leader and is a delight to work with. We are very fortunate to have her working in Food Services and here at HCMH.”

Joni Gutierrez, Operations Manager of Food and Nutrition Services, continues by saying “She is the right-hand woman and go-to person of the hospital and dietary department. Many, including myself, have had to rely on her knowledge, and she has helped me tremendously in my (semi) new role at the hospital. I would be lost without her. Professionally and personally, she is one of the most selfless people I’ve known. If Hugh Chatham needed a “mayor” she would be that mayor.”

Tonya, thank you for embracing our values and for consistently supporting your team. Your giving heart is an example to us all. We are blessed to have you as part of our Hugh Chatham family.


Q & A with Tonya

How did you come to Hugh Chatham?
I came to Hugh Chatham because my sister-in-law talked about how great it was to work here and how friendly everyone is. I started looking at the job openings and saw there was an opening in the kitchen. That felt like the perfect job for me since I love to cook and be around food.

How did you get started in the food industry?
My family opened a small country cafe back in 2003, but I’ve had a love for cooking since I was six years old. My grandmother would pull us up to the stove and teach us and let us cook different recipes.

How do you and your team exhibit STARS?
My team does an amazing job when it comes to teamwork. When there’s a task that needs to be done, they all work together to get the job done. When we were short staffed, we had several employees who worked extra hours and worked several consecutive days to help out their team, even when it wasn’t expected.

What do you like to do for fun?
I like to spend time with my family. I enjoy cooking breakfast for my husband, daughter, and father.


Tonya Gentry was nominated by Paul Hammes.