Dec 02

Life in the blink of an eye

I was driving to campus this weekend and was witness to a horrific accident. A car about 30 ft ahead of me was t-boned by a speeding truck at an intersection, pushed over two lanes. That split second is burned in my memory, along with the haunting knowledge that it could just as easily have been me. Just like that, life can change, for any of us. It can be a house fire, sudden illness, a bad choice, change in employment status—or a split-second difference on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon—that sends our lives into turmoil. I recognize that life has been good to me. I am blessed in many ways, a great and healthy family the most important of these gifts. But honestly, we’re delusional if we think life is entirely in our control. Stuff happens. When it does, and when people need help, I’m glad the groups that I support through the SECC are there to help.   

I send my thoughts and prayers to those in the accident and their families. First responders were immediately on the scene.

Nov 29

Marking another milestone

We passed the $400k mark earlier today. We are on the home stretch toward our half-million-dollar goal. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. If Black Friday is your thing, happy hunting. If you are one of the many working today, at UTMB or elsewhere, thank you for being there for the rest of us. We appreciate you.

Nov 28

Thanksgiving has arrived with special meaning for UTMB Lucky 2013

Dean Pam Watson

Dean Watson

Well dear friends, it is early Thanksgiving morning and I am about to leave for Philadelphia to visit my son. With so much to be thankful for, I am also taking with me the memory of the two homeless men I saw yesterday at the 61st Street intersection.

These were not young men and they bore the well-known look of being outside for a long time with constant exposure to the sun and the elements. To be homeless at any time is a terrible situation and it is especially moving at the holidays. But we have charitable agencies supported by SECC that will provide some food, clothes comfort and solace to these men and many others.

Our campaign is open now until December 7. So, please if you have not yet made your pledge do so now or when you get back to work. If you have already made your pledge I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The generosity of UTMB employees will stay with me always. More importantly this generosity remains in the hearts of the people who know we care about them and will always try to help.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

With warmest regards,
Pam Watson
SECC Chair 2013

Nov 25

A dark day has dawned…or has it?

We are out of tumblers. Or, at least we are out of tumblers that have not been spoken for. The state campaign sent us a supply of insulated drinking tumblers; we were making them available to anyone who made a pledge of $20 or more, while our supply held out. The magic number was 1320; we have run out of tumblers as of Nov. 25, 2013. If you made a pledge earlier, yours may still be awaiting labeling and shipping.

On the bright side, any pledges made now through the end of the campaign are still eligible for the drawing for the Field House Family Membership giveaway.

EDIT: Hold on, we are digging deep in the SECC bag of tricks, and are hopeful we might find a few more thank you trinkets. We’ll let you know what treasures we unearth.

Nov 24

Message from the SECC 2013 Chair

Dean Pam Watson

Dean Watson

Well fellow UTMB employes: Here it is Sunday again. Truly it seems like I just sent a message but that was seven days ago.. I, like many of you, ask.. “Where did that week go?”

For me I spent two days of last week participating in the UTMB Leadership Challenge Workshop, learning to be a better leader. And I of course was reminded that effective leaders have a vision, care about relationships, highly value the people with whom they work and never forget to say thank you.

With all that in mind, let me vision for SECC Lucky 2013 is that we all will take joy in sustaining the UTMB legacy of generosity toward those who need our help. And that in doing so we will show how much we value all UTMB employees and so much appreciate everyone’s generosity. Since we are all so busy some of you may not have had a chance to contribute..Today you have the chance to turn this cloudy day into a bright and sunny day by contributing to SECC..Do join me and give…To those of you who have already given…Thank you Thank you!

Warmest regards
Pam Watson

Nov 23

If a picture is worth a thousand words…


Send your own SECC pic to and we’ll create a gallery.

Nov 22

Three cheers for our 100% areas

I’ve always been impressed by 100%. Our department has a relatively small  (about 20) group of pretty positive, engaged and socially conscious people, and I can’t remember any time in recent history we’ve risen very much above 70%. Even with the best intentions, people are out, schedules get crossed, competing needs or priorities take precedent. Glitches happen. So when I hear  about areas that have hit 100%, even when there are only a few people, I am impressed. Thank you!

The list keeps changing, so below I’m sharing a page with participation rates by entity.  It is updated dynamically so it stays current:

SEE OUR 100% AREAS (and how your team is doing)

Nov 22

When things don’t go according to plan

Who has time for anything, right? I write this as I’m scarfing down a ziplock bag of leftover cereal, which will likely serve as my lunch today. Our days are all busy. So I know many of us like to do certain things, like review the SECC, on our own terms and time, when we can casually peruse our options, maybe discuss with a spouse. Unfortunately, we’ve had a “glitch in the matrix” this year, and for those of you who have come up against it, we apologize.

The SECC effort is managed across three environments (four if you count the state site). There is the main web site, this blog, and what we call the “back-end”—the transactional side of the  effort that enables online giving and payroll deduction. For security and privacy, all the hardware and data in this third environment has always been behind a UTMB firewall, but in the past we enabled access to SECC from outside the UTMB network through a special path. That pathway was closed, and although we are working to safely restore it (see below), it’s complex and may be next week before it happens. So if you are snuggled up at home this weekend, trying to make your pledge on your iPhone or iPad and get an obnoxious error message, please don’t give up.

The easiest thing to do right now is pledge from a computer or device connected to the UTMB network. Outside our network, use a VPN connection and you’ll get access. By next week, we should  have the giving section more easily  available again from anywhere.

EDIT/UPDATE: That pinhole in the firewall we were talking about, to allow easy access to the SECC giving site from outside our network? It’s not going to happen in time to help us for this year’s campaign. It’s a lot more complicated than we anticipated, and it requires testing. No one wants to rush this through production and then discover we created a vulnerability for your information, or for patient data.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience, and hope you’ll still support the effort. The easiest thing to do is to pledge from a computer or device connected to the UTMB network. Outside our network, you can connect to the UTMB network with MyVPN or Citrix. You can also print a pledge form.

Information Services has provided some instructions on using MyVPN and also on Citrix.

EDIT/UPDATE 2: Go ahead, have that second bowl of sweet potatoes. You’ll have a few days next week to make your gift from a computer on our network.

Getting this message from outside our network?

Getting this message from outside our network? Sorry, we’ll have to live with it until next year. Please click the image to contact us for help or advice, or use a VPN or Citrix connection.

Nov 19

UTMB: Congrats on breaking the $300K barrier!

Today at lunchtime we hit another significant SECC milestone: we pushed beyond the $300,000 mark. As I write this, we are at $303,627 from 1,523 great employees (and at least one retiree). Thank you to those that have already supported us. If you missed it, Dean Watson sent a message to campus about the campaign earlier today.  Where are we now?

Nov 18

Help for Typhoon Haiyan recovery

Dean Watson has had a number of people ask her if the SECC could be used as a way to support recovery in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan, which affected 9.5 million people and displaced more than 600,000. The answer is “You bet.” Remember that recovery from a disaster like this is a marathon as much as a sprint. Support will be needed for months and even years. How to best accomplish delivering that support via SECC? NBC News created a great list of charities involved with recovery. Many of the ones on the NBC list are SECC Charities.

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