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The Power of Mentorship: Khyla Tatak's Northwestern Medicine Story

Mentorship is a crucial part of what helped Khyla Tatak, practice manager, Primary Care and Medical Specialties for Northwestern Medical Group in Lake Forest and Grayslake, grow her career at Northwestern Medicine.

Tricia Ligon, practice manager, Primary Care, Northwestern Medical Group Deerfield and Glenview, knew Tatak was special from her first interview for a medical assistant role in Deerfield.

“I was more excited about the relationship than filling the medical assistant need because I could tell she was really something,” Ligon says. She hired Tatak for the role and began mentoring her.

Exploring Education

At the time, Tatak was pursuing her bachelor’s degree and wanted to explore her future career options. Ligon connected her with colleagues in other locations and roles so that Tatak could learn about their careers and shadow them.

“I wanted to grow, but I just didn’t know where, and Tricia’s advice was invaluable,” she says. When Tatak left Northwestern Medicine to finish her bachelor’s degree, she stayed in touch with Ligon. After her degree was complete, both of them were eager to get Tatak back at our organization.

“When I had something available, I wanted to bring her back because she was going to make my team stronger,” Ligon says.

Highlighting Strengths

Ligon pushed to bring Tatak in as an operations coordinator at Glenview. “Khyla had this yearning and hunger for management so I knew she would knock it out of the park,” she says. “Within 30 days, everyone thought that was the best idea we ever had. It speaks to her strengths, her abilities, the way that she leads and what she brings to a team.”

As a new leader, Tatak relied on the continued advice from Ligon through regular check-ins and courageous conversations.

“I learned to work with different types of personalities and people within Glenview, and it helped mold me into the leader that I am still growing to be to this day,” Tatak says.

During a check-in in 2022, Tatak shared some struggles she was having and her desire to move forward.

“We have that relationship where we can speak frankly with each other,” Tatak says. “Not even a week later, Tricia tells me about a position opening up soon.”

Pursuing Opportunity

The opening was a practice manager role at Northwestern Medical Group in Lake Forest and Grayslake. that’s where Tatak was noticed by Andrea Saenim, director of Operations, Surgical Specialties, Medical Specialties and Primary Care for Northwestern Medical Group in Lake Forest and Grayslake.

“It speaks to the power of reputation,” Saenim says. “Two people, before I even met this person, are batting for her. It speaks to the power of her work ethic and what she’s known for.”

Tatak applied for the role with Ligon’s encouragement and joined Saenim’s team this past fall.

She is grateful to Ligon, Saenim and her other mentors for pushing her to grow and continuing to invest in her. Now, Tatak says she is putting that same energy into relationships with her team members.

“When you have those conversations with your team, you are helping them grow,” Tatak says. “You never know how that’s going to reward not only the organization, but yourself and your community.”