Extra headerDecember 2020

MBA graduate moves up ladder to become hospital CEO

When Cassie Mogg first joined the staff of Covenant Hospital in Plainview 12 years ago, she was simply looking for a job. A fast typist, she felt the role of data processing clerk seemed to fit her skills though she really wasn't sure what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

Fast forward to 2020, and Cassie is poised to assume the top spot as CEO at the hospital on January 1, 2021, moving into the role from a six-month apprenticeship of sorts as Chief Cassie Mogg, Covenant HospitalOperations Officer since June. It's something she admits she never really expected.

"I could never have imagined being CEO. I feel like God's always had a calling on my life for some kind of greatness, whatever that looked like. And I've always been committed to following his path, whatever that may be. I knew God would always give me a peace about where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing," she says. "It's surreal to look back at where I was 12 years ago and imagine that this is where I would be sitting."

For love of the game

Cassie, who started her bachelor's degree at Wayland then earned an MBA here in 2016, is undoubtedly one of the few females to hold such a position. But her advancement has been a testament to her skills, hard work and ambition as well as her passion for the role of leadership in health care.

"I love seeing the process from the beginning to the end. I love seeing how our staff interacts with one another. We have a great physicians group, and I love the camaraderie between our medical staff and that our caregivers have with one another… we're like a big family and we're all trying to do our part," she says. "It doesn't matter if you sit in an office all day or are on the frontlines or are in one of our clinics, the goal is to take care of the patient, whole body."

Cassie came to Wayland first in 2005 from her hometown of Shallowater. After meeting her future husband, Nick, she left school, married and the couple moved to Canyon for a year. Moving back to Plainview in 2008, she found the hospital job a great fit and a place she could possibly advance. That she did.

Circling the bases

In short time she was named accounts payable clerk, then worked in payroll, then other areas of the finance department at Covenant. When several employees left in 2010, Cassie had the knowledge and experience to keep the office going and was named Manager of Financial Services. The job required her to complete a degree, so she enrolled at West Texas A&M and earned her bachelor's degree in 2012.

With that milestone behind her, Cassie and Nick decided to grow their family, and they welcomed son Marek in 2013. But another surprise awaited when she returned from maternity leave: Covenant named her Chief Financial Officer. As she was adjusting to new motherhood and a new job role, she also reenrolled at Wayland, this time for an MBA degree required to continue advancing with the company.

"I walked the stage in 2016 nine months pregnant with my second child," she laughs. The company added CFO duties over Covenant's Levelland hospital to her plate in 2018, a role she held for two years until the COO advancement in June 2020.

In the coach's seat

She's spent the last five months learning at the side of Alan King, who came out of retirement to lead the hospital for a second time and is retiring again in January. The transitional role allowed Cassie to learn all the operational side of the job - physician relations, oversight of the varied clinics within the Covenant system locally and coordination of the 24 managers and 320 employees within the hospital. She will provide strategic oversight and manage the partnerships that Covenant maintains with the smaller cities surrounding Plainview.

Cassie Mogg"Strategy is a big part of this job too… What are we looking forward to? What is our five-year plan? What growth opportunities are out there that we can start engaging in?" she noted. "We do a lot with surrounding communities - Tulia, Floydada, Dimmitt, Hereford and Lockney - through our outreach clinics, so we need to make sure we're on the same page as far as our approach. It's a real regional strategy to keep things local and to serve people as close to home as possible."

Like many healthcare facilities nationwide, Covenant Plainview has faced its share of challenges related to COVID-19, and Cassie has seen it all from the top office with King. While they have weathered full beds, short staffs, converting the entire second floor to a COVID unit and other challenges, the pandemic has driven home to Cassie how vital the team really is.

"From this chair, one of the biggest challenges is leading your team and keeping them engaged and motivated, bearing their burdens a little bit. And that's not just your frontline caregivers but your physicians too," she says. "We have an awesome team and it's a community here. And I think a lot of it has to do with our attitude and the way we are portraying our stress. If (leadership) can stay positive, it helps everyone. We have learned a lot from this and have been able to grow."

Handling change-ups

Cassie is excited to step into this next chapter but is fully aware of the ongoing challenges facing healthcare systems, including the ever-present and always changing issue of reimbursement. Keeping up with legislation and changes in access to healthcare and insurance will be a challenge, along with maintaining good partnerships with smaller cities.

Luckily, she feels blessed to be able to do that in a faith-based environment that allows her light to shine with others.

"One of the things I love about Covenant is that we are a ministry. I am able to serve God in this capacity without fear, and we can be those disciples to one another and to our community," she says. "We all play a huge part in our ultimate outcome, to take care of our community. To see all of us come together in our unique way and use our own unique giftings to care for our community is what keeps me going and inspires me."

Cassie and Nick, who is an insurance agent with Farm Bureau, have two sons: Marek, 7, and Beckham, 4. The family attends Harvest Christian Fellowship in Plainview.


Police chief takes first responder wellness model public

Chief Neil Gang lost fellow police officer and friend Asher Rosinsky to suicide back in 1997. But the incident has never been far from his mind as he mourned and advanced in his own career over the years. Something he committed to back in the days following the death came back to him in 2019 during a conversation with a psychiatrist and app developer who encouraged him to share with a wider audience.

"I remember walking to my car (the day after Asher's death) and sitting back and thinking, Chief Neil Gang'Wow, this can't be happening. If I'm struggling right now, and I feel like I'm a pretty strong person, I can't imagine what other people are feeling.' I said to myself if I'm ever in a position to influence change, I'm going to do that," said Neil, a 2015 graduate of the Phoenix campus who now serves as chief of police in Pinole, Calif.

As he shared the story with the doctor, Neil recalled that promise but brushed off the man's suggestion to write his story. God had other ideas.

"About 3 a.m. one morning, the Lord woke me up and put it on my heart to write this on a pad of paper that I keep on my nightstand. I wrote the entire model and article in 15-20 minutes with such clarity that I've never had before," said Neil, noting that he calls his wellness approach The Asher Model in memory of his friend. "Now it's a national model and is recognized all over the country. I know it wouldn't have happened without the Lord's influence but also having that negative experience that is now turning tragedy into hope."

Making an impact

Just a little over a year after his early morning writing session, Neil has been speaking all over the country and sharing his model, with a true passion for seeing first responders stay healthy and productive. Others are taking notice.

Neil received a Congressional honor for 2020 Public Safety Hero of the Year Award from Congressman Mike Thompson last year, and The California Police Chiefs Association named Neil as the chair of a new officer wellness committee. Most recently, Wayland's Phoenix Campus selected Neil as their Distinguished Alumni Award winner for 2020, something of which he is quite proud.

"It was Debbie (Funk, advisor at Wayland) who encouraged me just to do one class to start. I fought it and fought it, but she pushed me through one class at a time," said Neil, who noted he started his degree as a single father of two with a full-time police job in Surprise, Ariz. "Without her compassion, I don't know if I would have made it through and finally become a chief."

Meeting a need

While the Asher Model aims to change lives of those who serve America's communities by creating a culture of wellness, Neil says the need for it is even greater than when his friend died in 1997.

"Now (officer suicide) is a national epidemic. Last year, we lost 228 officers to suicide. Almost double the amount of officers died from their own hand than died from line of duty deaths combined," he said. "We have to do something to change outcomes, so that's why I put this together."

Neil attributes this epidemic to a host of reasons, including the tradition of toughness within Gang receiving congressional awardlaw enforcement that means many officers won't admit what they see as weakness if they are struggling mentally. In addition, cumulative trauma and incidents of vicarious trauma, and of course easy access to firearms are all at play.

"There's also what I call the 'human behind the badge;' we are susceptible like all other human beings: finances, chemical dependency, relationships," he said. "This is not who we are; it is just a uniform and what we do. People sometimes think they wind us up and we become like robots and go to work. Just like everyone else struggles, so do we."

The model has seven simple facets, mirroring the seven points of the badge Neil and his Pinole officers wear. The points are as follows:

  • Raising awareness: The department must bring the issue into the light and create an environment where it's OK not to be OK.
  • Solution-focused approach: Programs only work with solutions. In Pinole, Neil introduced a mobile app where officers and families can reach out for assistance and resources 24/7 and maintain confidentiality.
  • Building peer support: A team that is proactive and willing to reach out to others is vital.
  • Educating about resiliency: This can vary by people, but some practice to build resiliency is important. This can involve things like yoga, mindfulness, meditation and the like.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining some exercise and cardiac health practices and screenings, along with eating healthy, can contribute to emotional health.
  • Spirituality: While often difficult in the law enforcement world, embracing faith in some fashion can also keep people mentally centered. In Pinole, Neil started a weekly "Pray with the Police" time for community members of any faith to pray together with officers, building unique bonds.
  • Family: Involving family members and empowering them to reach out if their loved one exhibits red flags is crucial. As Neil points out, often officers let their guard down at home and may show signs of mental distress.

"It's a seven-point approach because what works for you might not work for me. But you're going to hit somebody with one of these approaches," he says.

Joy in the journey

Neil moved to Pinole in 2013, taking the role of Commander. He was promoted to chief in 2014 and has built a strategy of community engagement and officer wellness with a simple leadership philosophy: relationships.

He began his police journey in 1988 in his home state of New Jersey after an injury sidelined his college football career. A man of strong Christian faith, he then moved to Pembroke Pines, Fla., where he married and had his first child, staying in the police force for 10 years. He next moved to Arizona, joining the police force in Surprise near Phoenix, where he realized his lack of a bachelor's degree would keep him from reaching the chief's chair. That's when he visited Wayland and found himself on the way to a diploma, even if it would take him several years to complete.

After 12 years in Arizona, Neil went on a recruiting trip to Pinole and had an encounter that solidified his call to the Bay Area.

"I was walking across the street to get something to eat in between taking assessments, and there was a Christian bookstore, and something was pulling me inside," he recalls. "I looked around and bought a few books. Then I looked up to see a scripture on the wall and it hit me; I knew this was where God needs me to be and why He led me into the store."

That leap of faith move has paid off as he has become a vital part of the Pinole community, both in his work and as a volunteer with Special Olympics as well as operating an animal rescue ranch that will soon be offering equine therapy for first responders with PTSD.

"I am really blessed to have an opportunity to sit in this chair," he says. "Chiefs and leaders have such a short season to influence people, and I am really blessed to impact the community and the people I work for."


Devotional: Not feeling it? Glory in Jesus alone

As Christmas approaches, we may not be feeling it... "it" as in decorating the house, singing Christmas songs, or lighting Advent candles. The Advent candles can mean hope, peace, joy, and love, but perhaps we aren't feeling any of these either. Still, one thing can help us with our feelings: the Glory of Jesus.

Over the years I have received many wonderful Christmas cards, but two have touched my Girl holding word JOYlife so much that I have acquired paintings, ornaments, and figurines of them. One is the Christmas tree that when it sheds its needles eventually becomes the cross. The other is the Lion lying down with the Lamb. From these I am reminded of the full picture of Jesus and His love for us.

From the creation to the cradle to the cross to the crown, He has given us reasons to glory at this time this year. The Lord our Creator became the Bundled Baby in Bethlehem's Barnyard in order to be the Scourged Sacrifice and then the Reigning Redeemer. Rev. 1:13-16 gives us the image of the Glorified Lord who reigns in victory even now.

13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance (NLT).

The tinsel on the tree may seem shallow and the lights may appear dim. But, we worship the King of kings and Lord of lords. We celebrate His birth knowing that His first advent has offered us the hope of a better life here and eternal life with Him.

Let's turn our hearts to three songs of celebration that Luke shared with us:

  • Mary's "Magnificat" in Luke1:46-55;
  • Zacharias's Benedictus" in Luke 1:67-79; and
  • Simeon's "Nunc Dimittis" in Luke 2:28-32.

Mary, Zacharias, and Simeon were filled by the Holy Spirit and each song was prompted by Him. Let's ask the Holy Spirit to fill us, and then read each hymn a day at a time. May the Lord so infuse our hearts with joy that we see the baby whom Mary rocked as the Majesty on High in His beauty and magnificence who has overcome and given us the victory not only to "feel," but to celebrate who He is.

Dr. Sharon Gresham is founder and director of Ashes to Crowns Ministries, based in Burleson, Texas, where she speaks, leads retreats and writes. She earned a bachelor's degree at Wayland in 1970 and her doctorate in biblical theology from B.H. Carroll Theological Institute, where she also serves as Resident Fellow. She and husband Benny, also a 1970 graduate, have ministered overseas and in the U.S.

From the History Files

This month's history excerpt is taken from the WBU History Book produced during the centennial celebration, rolling back the calendar to the 1950s and the life story of Wayland's seventh president, Dr. A. Hope Owen.

While Dr. Marshall's time as president was highly beneficial in moving Wayland College forward both socially and economically, his leadership style and administrative skills left the Board of Trustees looking for more stability and organization within the administrative Dr. A. Hope Owenoffices. The Board found what it was looking for, selecting one of its own to lead the next chapter in the life of the school.

Dr. Albert Hope Owen came to Wayland Baptist College with a genuine understanding of its history and its position within the community. He had spent the previous seven years (1946-53) as pastor of First Baptist Church in Plainview and as a member of Wayland's Board of Trustees.

One of 14 children, Owen was born in Wise County, Texas, outside of Decatur to Albert Hannibal and Harriet McAllister Owen. At the age of 16, he and his family moved to Deaf Smith County, joining First Baptist Church in Hereford whose pastor at the time was future Wayland president Dr. Robert E.L. Farmer. As a teenager, Owen worked as a cowboy on the XIT Ranch before heading back to Decatur to attend Decatur Baptist College in 1916 where he worked his way through school sweeping floors and shining shoes.

In August of 1918, Owen joined the Army, serving for only three months before heading to Chickasha, Okla., to work with one of his brothers. He helped his brother operate the Owen Furniture Company until 1921 when he accepted the pastorate at Verden Baptist Church in Verden, Okla. In August of 1922, Owen married Sue Kilman, a young school teacher in Chickasha.

As a couple, the Owens pursued further education, earning bachelor's degrees at Oklahoma Baptist University in 1924. One of his favorite sayings was "dream no little dreams." Upon completion of his bachelor's degree, he attended Southwestern Seminary while pastoring Vickery Baptist Church in the Dallas area until 1926.

He eventually left school and the Dallas area to spend four years as pastor of the Baptist Church in Clinton, Okla. He soon returned to education, however, attending Southern Dr. Owen and WBU gradSeminary where he earned a Master's of Theology degree in 1932 while serving as the pastor of Woodburn Baptist Church in Kentucky. After short stints as pastor at Salvisa Baptist Church in Kentucky, and Central Baptist Church in Muskogee, Okla., Owen moved to New Mexico to pastor First Baptist Church, Santa Fe, from 1933-36, a church founded by former Wayland president E.B. Atwood. While there, he served as president of the New Mexico Convention and chaplain of the New Mexico Senate.

From 1936-39, Owen served at First Baptist Church, Quanah, another church familiar with Atwood. He then went to First Baptist Church in Albuquerque (1939-41) and First Baptist in Shawnee, Okla., (1941-46). While in Shawnee, he served as a trustee for Oklahoma Baptist University and was given an honorary doctorate by the school in 1942.

In 1946, Dr. Owen returned to the High Plains of West Texas, finding a home in Plainview as pastor of First Baptist Church where he stayed until accepting the Wayland presidency in 1953. Dr. Owen was the first Wayland president to have a formal inauguration which was held on October 6, 1953.

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