Graduate Spotlight: Daymond from Penn Medicine

Daymond Garner has always known that his purpose in life is to help people. Early in his career, he nourished this innate ability through working in roles like Quality Assurance and Customer Care, and eventually was tapped to train teams to excel in that work like he did.


In 2021, the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative partnered with Penn Medicine to connect talent with Patient Services Associate (later to be renamed “Access Services Associate”) roles, a call center position essential to delivering the excellent patient care experience that has solidified Penn Medicine’s reputation. The partnership continues to this day, with the next cohort recruitment scheduled for early 2024.


Though Daymond wasn’t familiar with WPSI, he recognized the opportunity to apply his 20+ years of experience at a high quality employer. “After 2020 and seeing the frontline workers tirelessly work to help us all make it through the pandemic, I have a renewed desire to be employed in the medical field,” Daymond had shared on his application, and the WPSI Recruitment Team took notice.


“I didn’t know how impactful it [program participation] was going to be, but looking back in hindsight, I see that it was all a part of the plan,” Daymond shared. “The second day of the program, I thought, ‘Wait a minute, what is this? These are life lessons. This isn’t just, you know, run-of-the-mill come to our agency and we’ll get you a job, these were real life lessons that you could take and apply anywhere in your life.’ It blew me away.”


But it was when he met Kala Moses Baxter, a long-time WPSI facilitator and professional coach, that Daymond recognized he could also support people as a professional coach while working at Penn Medicine. Since starting at Penn Medicine in January of 2022, Daymond has been promoted there twice and most recently signed on as a professional coach at WPSI. When asked about his coaching philosophy, Daymond shared, “I have to reach people where they are. So if someone is an auditory learner, I’d have to teach towards that. I have to adapt. I have to be like a chameleon and adapt to the situation.”


Daymond will coach his first WPSI cohort in 2024.

Daymond Garner and Senior Manager of Strategy & Partnerships Joshua Park at the Alumni Backpack Giveaway in August 2023.