By John Wallace
Banner Imaging Senior Director of Operations Kara Mayeaux, CRA, is not one to shy away from a challenge. Her desire to serve in the diagnostic imaging field is just one example of how she takes on difficult situations and transforms them into positives. The bonus, and it is a big one in her eyes, is that her chosen profession empowers her to assist others.
“The medical imaging field piqued my interest because I wanted to do something that was diverse and challenging and would provide me opportunity while allowing me to help people,” Mayeaux, a former flight attendant and Army officer, explains. “I had always wanted to serve people and as I began to research options, I found the medical imaging field which just met all of the things I was looking for and finished school in 2000. It was challenging and diverse (X-ray, interventional work, radiation therapy), provided opportunity (management, leadership) and allowed me to help people.”
Along the way, Mayeaux obtained the Certified Radiology Administrator (CRA) designation in 2019.
Earning the CRA was a big achievement, but Mayeaux points to two other things as those she is most proud of.
“What I am most proud of is my son, Conor. He was, and remains, a blessing and I’m extremely proud of the young man he’s become. My next greatest accomplishment is my military service, both active duty and in the National Guard,” she says.
As a member of the Arizona Army National Guard, Mayeaux was selected to command an Engineer company of approximately 200 traditional Arizona National Guardsmen. The mission of these “citizen-soldiers” was to conduct convoy security missions throughout Iraq.
“As a traditional member of the National Guard, I took a two-year break (2005-06) from my medical career to build, train and lead a team of soldiers brought together from across Arizona,” Mayeaux says. “It was a great honor of which I remain extremely proud, humbled and blessed to have had. The team accomplished an extremely difficult and dangerous mission and sacrificed a lot for their country, state and communities. To the point of sacrifice, I’d note that such is not unique to only the deployed soldier. In my case, Conor was only nine years old when I deployed. Over the course of the 18-plus months that I was gone he demonstrated extraordinary strength and courage. He’s a hero who, like so many other family members, sacrificed a lot for his country. I absolutely could not have done it without him.”
Mayeaux says that her current job and goals bring a great level of satisfaction.
“I love leading people and seeing what great teams can accomplish. In my case, it is particularly rewarding as the amazing things that our teams accomplish contribute directly to outstanding patient care,” she says. “I also love the challenges my job presents. In April of 2019, we closed the doors on three separate organizations on a Friday afternoon. That Monday, we stood them back up as one organization. While it was certainly amazing to witness the transition, I think even more amazing and gratifying was to have been a part of the transition. The leaders from over 20 locations, along with their 500-plus team members were exceptional and we were taking care of patients on Monday. Looking back, there is not a day that I am not genuinely impressed by the actions and subsequent accomplishments of the team.”
As a proven leader, Mayeaux has her own signature approach.
“I think I’d best describe my approach to leadership as one of maintaining a positive attitude, leading by example, leading people and managing issues to create a positive, professional environment of mutual trust and shared understanding,” she explains.
The Army talks abut influencing as an element of leadership and it being more than just giving orders but inspiring purpose and providing direction through words and personal example, Mayeaux explains.
“I try to set achievable standards, provide necessary resources and empower our teams in action to build teams and achieve high-quality results at both the individual team member and organizational level,” she says. “I’m deliberate in developing and investing in those members of the team whom I think are future leaders in the organization. And while there are a variety of ways and techniques and ideas on how to do this, for me it is really just about leading by requiring more from the individual than they think they’re capable of. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had, and continue to have, leaders who’ve done this for me. I know I’d not be where I am today but for having more required of me than I thought myself capable of.”
Her leadership style is also a reflection of those who have helped her along the way.
“I’ve been blessed to have had great mentors over the years, all of whom pushed me and challenged me, but most importantly trusted and believed in me,” Mayeaux says. “Dr. Threasa Frouge has provided me my earliest leadership opportunities in medical imaging. She has kept me laser focused on the importance of exceptional patient care. Jessica Montgomery, always provided guidance on the importance of taking care of your team and never forgetting that you were in their shoes, at one point too. They taught me the importance of hard work and the value in investing in and empowering people. They required more of me than I thought myself capable of, provided me opportunity, allowed me to fail and never gave up on me. Mayeaux’s current leader, Jason Theadore, CEO of Banner Imaging, provides encouragement, and a great example of developing and investing in people. Jason envisions success with every goal he sets for his team. There is no other option for him, and it’s taught me to think the same way: to stay positive and focus on success.”
Today, Mayeaux stands on the shoulders of those who helped shape her leadership. Ever mindful of, and focused on, the team. She relishes the opportunity to lead, inspiring and empowering her teams to achieve great things, improve the organization and provide the best patient care possible.