Although Christopher Lu has been in a leadership position with Pittsburgh Mercy only since summer, he has quickly emerged as a leader—so much so that he garnered seven different nominations from his colleagues for the Mercy Leadership Award.
“Chris was recently promoted to the clinical lead position, and this was during a time of transition of his immediate supervisor,” says Heather Beachler, senior manager, Child & Adolescent Services Department, one of the colleagues who nominated Chris for the award.
“Not only did he take the reins and really run with the position in the most positive way, but every team member who works with him has commented on what an amazing and inspiring job he does. He exemplifies what it means to be a leader by jumping in anywhere needed, a willingness to take on tough situations for self-improvement and having to help our persons served as well as staff, and a huge desire to see others grow. He truly leads by example and others look to Chris for guidance.”
Chris joined Pittsburgh Mercy’s Admissions Center in 2017, transferring to the outpatient Serious Mental Illness team a few months later as an Adult Outpatient clinician. When he secured his licensure, he became an Adult Outpatient licensed and credentialed clinician before being promoted in July to clinical lead for the Medically Complex/Aging/Deaf Services/Mobile Therapy Team, better known as the Medically Complex Team.
“I’ve always been a big believer in therapy,” Chris says, who is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and has knowledge about a variety of evidence-based practices. “I have seen it change lives.”
Chris says it’s important to treat colleagues as professionals. He says he is grateful if he can make a colleague’s job easier and help them feel supported. “I think I’m able to recognize that I don’t have all the answers,” he says. “If it gets the job done and gets results, who am I to hold up my own ways as better? In order for us to do good work, we have to do it together.”
Chris is a regular volunteer at Prevention Point Pittsburgh. He won first place in the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Local Government Case Competition in 2015. Here is just a sampling of what those who nominated Chris had to say about him:
Stacy Mitchell, senior manager, Adult Outpatient, said he is independent, clinically focused in his duties, self-directed, and supportive, going “above and beyond” in working with persons served, colleagues, and external providers. “Chris is dynamic and presents with such passion for what he does. His personality absolutely shines in his interactions with others, even when using telehealth formats. Chris has stepped into his new role in a seamless fashion. He is an amazing asset to the team.”
Saige Subosits, Outpatient clinician: “Christopher Lu is a kind, positive, empathic, helpful, and caring person. We feel his warmth and support. He is a natural leader, and he works to create a respectful climate where the team members feel heard, seen, and appreciated. As a leader, he doesn’t place himself above us. He works with us, and accepts and embraces our gifts, ideas, and talents. His mindset and heart are oriented toward serving his colleagues and Pittsburgh Mercy’s clients.
Valerie Stacy, Adult Outpatient therapist at South 9th Street: “He is gentle and nonthreatening. During group supervision and meetings, he is aware of phrasing things in a way that allows other colleagues to feel good about themselves even while offering suggestions. Chris has been able to make colleagues feel engaged and hopeful.”
Margaret Griffith, Outpatient Therapist: “In the words of our mission statement, I feel Chris exemplifies a ‘healing presence’ as he willingly accepts all tasks assigned to him in the interest of our clients, his colleagues, and the community at large. Chris has taught me that the clients and community are the priority as we complete all required tasks. He never loses sight of the reason we do what we do, which is, to serve in the ‘spirit of the Gospel’ in a compassionate way.”
Martine Saul, Outpatient therapist on Medically Complex, Older Adult, and Grief team in Adult Outpatient: “He has provided information and understanding about different ways to approach therapy with particularly challenging clients, as well as given me new perspectives to have a fresh new take on the therapy I am providing my clients. My teammates and I have agreed that he has been a wonderful and refreshing addition to our team and leads with great empathy for us as colleagues, as well as for our clients.”
Val Morschl, Outpatient therapist: “Chris is well deserving of this award because in the short time he has been a clinical supervisor, the energy of our entire team has changed for the better. “Not only is Chris’s approach clinically sound, but he works to honor each employee’s strengths in a way that helps us achieve better outcomes for our persons served. Chris has helped to breathe life into a department that was severely burnt out.”