Thanks for learning more about me! — Wes
Our CCI team members bring so much exuberance, creativity, and meaning to what we do. So we wanted to share more about them with you!
Today, we get to know Weslei Gabrillo.
What are you listening to these days?
Flavor In Your Ear: A fairly random and evolving assortment of music/tracks that I find myself listening to on a fairly steady rotation.
What’s your mantra?
I think it has evolved. Right now, it’s: “Wherever you go, or wherever you are—there you are.” It helps me remind myself to remain present. Especially in this virtual working world, I get caught up in things that either just happened or were even further back in the past that didn’t go as planned. The mantra has a grounding effect, allowing me to pause, connect with a colleague, and find a sense of solace and joy in the moment.
What do you do at CCI?
I lead coordination and communications for three CCI learning communities: California’s Technology Hub, Colorado Health Innovation Community, and Virtual Care Innovation Network. I also advise our digital experience team, support operational initiatives, and am the new host of CCI’s podcast Health Pilots.
What should we know about you?
I love to laugh. I really, really love to laugh. It’s the joy part that laughing brings. I’ll be muted in a meeting, and when something funny happens, you can see how much I’m cracking up hysterically on camera. So, in these virtual settings, I’ll find moments to deliberately unmute myself so folks can actually hear my laughter – because it’s more tangible that way, and honestly, you couldn’t ignore it in person!
Tell us a little about your background.
My first professional role was at a culturally-based nonprofit organization called Search to Involve Pilipino Americans (SIPA). At SIPA I worked with immigrant youth and families in the Los Angeles area. It was my first experience working closely with the community through programs I supported. After a couple of years, I moved to the Bay Area to work at Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre (KPET), serving communities across the Northern California region—including the Bay Area and the Central Valley.
What is touring life like?
The “touring life” as a performing health educator at KPET was, in a nutshell, a lot of fun, and certainly required a ton of energy. We worked with young folks at a different site or school (K-8) almost every day! The shows address various health topics ranging from healthy eating and active living, to navigating challenges in adolescence.
One particular show I worked on, Peace Signs, tackles anti-bullying, community violence, and conflict resolution. Since Peace Signs is a multiple intervention program, we’d remain at a school for a whole week. The day after the performance, we’d be in the classrooms to engage students and debrief what they learned from the show, surfacing connections to their school life and even what they’re experiencing at home.
While it was pretty cool to be met with a lot of enthusiasm from students and teachers — sometimes hearing, “You’re like rock stars coming to our school!” – the humbling part of it was really connecting with the students, getting to be our authentic selves, as both teaching artists and co-learners with them in their classroom.
How does your experience in the performing arts show up in your work?
It easily shows up in facilitation, collaboration, and brainstorming. I’m deeply invigorated by the collaborative process. There’s a lot I’m learning now about human-centered design mindsets through CCI’s Catalyst program that intersect with what I’ve learned as a teaching artist — the idea of leading with curiosity. I notice too, a lot of analogous examples brought to the table in innovation and health care. It’s so important to be open to anything – whether it comes from theatre arts, education, a hobby, etc. – bring that forth and see how it sparks imaginations: “What and how should we test this, try it out, iterate?”
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