Living the IU School of Medicine core values every day
Crissy Quenichet once thought she’d be a chef. To family and friends, she’s known for her amazing eggplant parmesan recipe. To colleagues at Indiana University School of Medicine, Quenichet is known for a different kind of recipe—the “secret sauce” of executive recruiting.
As an executive recruiting specialist, Quenichet is one of the first people candidates interact with and one of the last people they see when visiting the medical school for interviews.
“My recruitment experience, both remote and in-person, was completely smooth because of Crissy’s reliability, organizational skills and adaptability, which were exemplary,” said David Adams, MD, who came to IU School of Medicine from New York City’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in January 2021 to lead the Department of Anesthesia.
Before Adams’ on-campus visit, Quenichet served as his guide through the virtual interview process.
“Crissy somehow managed to make what could have been distant and impersonal feel exceptionally warm, welcoming and personal,” he said.
That warm welcome continues when candidates come to campus for in-person interviews. Quenichet meticulously prepares every detail of the schedule and ensures everything runs smoothly from the moment she picks visiting executives up from their hotel. She also arranges meetings with local realtors and helps candidates discover area amenities tailored to their interests.
“Crissy brings a niche skill in candidate experience management. She recognizes our candidates’ priorities, respects their preferences and manages differing scheduling priorities in such a masterful way that arouses respect among peers and leaders,” said Senem Guler, MSHRM, assistant director of faculty recruiting at IU School of Medicine.
Kelvin Lee, MD, who joined IU School of Medicine in February 2021 as associate dean for cancer research and director of the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, flew in from Buffalo, New York, for his onsite interviews and brought his daughter, Kristen, along so she could visit a local college campus. When Quenichet discovered Kristen’s love of Jimmy John’s, a restaurant that isn’t in Buffalo, Quenichet offered to take her there for lunch while her dad was interviewing—a personal touch Lee greatly appreciated.
“I would honestly say that Crissy, as an ambassador for IU School of Medicine, was a very important reason why I decided to come to IU,” Lee said.
Recruiting great leaders is critical to advancing the school’s vision of transforming health care through quality, innovation and education, said Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA. It is important candidates’ initial experiences with IU School of Medicine staff represent the school’s core values of excellence, respect, integrity, diversity and cooperation.
“I’m proud of how we’ve recruited great leaders from some of the top institutions in the country,” Hess said. “Crissy has played a huge part in our success—making the interview process run smoothly and living out our core values in all of her interactions with candidates. She is truly an unsung hero working behind the scenes at IU School of Medicine.”
Finding her home and career in Indianapolis
Quenichet was born in Philadelphia but grew up in a variety of places. Due to her father’s career in logistics management, her family moved several times, including a move right before her senior year of high school.
In fifth grade, Quenichet’s family moved from Pennsylvania to Indianapolis and stayed through her junior year when her family relocated to Kentucky. After graduating with a degree in public relations from Western Kentucky University, she returned to Indianapolis, which feels as much like “home” as anywhere.
Unsure of her desired career path after college, Quenichet went to culinary school at Ivy Tech while working as a host and bartender at a local restaurant. She found the restaurant business hectic but still dreams of owning her own niche café someday.
She decided to look for public relations positions and landed an internship with the Salvation Army working in event planning. She also served as a volunteer coordinator and enjoyed interacting with a diverse group of people.
In 2016, Quenichet joined IU School of Medicine as an administrative assistant in Faculty Affairs, Professional Development and Diversity (FAPDD). Her role included recruitment support—an area in which she excelled and now works exclusively.
“When you’re the face of recruitment, you collaborate with so many different people,” she said. “I get to meet people from everywhere, and I enjoy learning about their specialties and collaborating with my team members, colleagues in other departments and senior leaders at IU School of Medicine.”
Because of her own experiences with family relocations, Quenichet understands the impact career moves can have on spouses and children. She remembers her dad moving months ahead of the rest of the family while her mom stayed behind to get the house in order and let the kids finish out a school year. Her parents always made it work and have now been married 52 years.
“Crissy is so talented in creating rapport and a positive relation with the candidates,” said Guler, the recruiting team leader. “She immediately gains their trust, and she is an excellent communicator.”
During the recruiting process, Quenichet works closely with Guler, who oversees the dual career program assisting spouses who may need to make their own career moves. Quenichet’s event planning experience comes in handy when ironing out all the details of campus visits and onsite interviews. When scheduling with executives—both external candidates and IU School of Medicine leaders—being flexible and respectful of time is imperative.
“When recruiting busy people such as executives, in their mind, sometimes it is either ‘now or never’ to remember to ask or discuss certain things when they come to mind, and so the recruitment team should be available and efficient, as Crissy was. She was very respectful of me and my time, and dealt with me with integrity and humbleness all the way through,” said Huda Salman, MD, PhD, who became the first executive director of the Brown Center for Immunotherapy at IU School of Medicine in November 2021.
David Aronoff, MD, incoming chair for the Department of Medicine, said Quenichet’s demeanor was calming and assuring as he navigated the recruitment process.
“I knew I was in good hands,” he said. “Crissy was on time, organized, pleasant, professional and flexible—all great skills for performing at the top of executive recruiting.”
IU School of Medicine leaders give Quenichet equal praise for handling back-of-the-house recruiting operations.
“She puts both the candidate and hiring authorities at ease and enables the executive search processes to run smoothly and effectively for all parties involved,” said Himanshu Shah, MD, executive associate dean for clinical affairs at IU School of Medicine and president of IU Health Physicians. “Crissy represents the school in a very positive manner.”
Finding work-life balance
Simultaneously growing a career and a family has not always been easy for Quenichet, a married mother of two young children. Early in the COVID pandemic, her infant’s daycare shut down permanently. She and her spouse, Ben, decided she would put a pause on her career for a season.
When she told FAPDD leaders, they came up with a creative solution, giving Quenichet the flexibility she needed to take care of things at home and continue providing high-quality service to IU School of Medicine executive recruits.
“That speaks volumes of the leadership at FAPDD and IU School of Medicine,” Quenichet said. “I feel completely supported.”
At home, Quenichet enjoys cooking with Ben and trying new recipes. Even on weeknights, she likes to plate every meal to impress.
“I like to be a free spirit in the kitchen and get creative,” Quenichet said. “And I love to entertain.”
That creativity is also an asset in executive recruiting. Quenichet lives by the motto “hakuna matata” (no worries), which serves her well when things like bad weather, flight delays and other last-minute conflicts disrupt interview schedules.
“She thinks outside of the box and gets creative when things need to move around,” Guler said. “She understands that a good interview experience starts with good planning, which sets the foundation for a candidate’s impression of the institution and ultimately impacts the executive’s decision to take our offer. In the end, she always makes sure the candidate has a positive experience.”
Respect must be shown to all individuals who are affiliated with, or come in contact with, Indiana University School of Medicine: students, residents, fellows, faculty, staff, partners, communities, patients and families. IU School of Medicine commends Crissy Quenichet for demonstrating respect.
Cooking with Crissy
Try out these favorite winter recipes from Crissy Quenichet!
Beef Stew with Potatoes and Carrots
3 pounds boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
7 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks on a diagonal
1 pound small white boiling potatoes (baby yukons), cut in half
Fresh chopped parsley, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and set a rack in the lower middle position.
2. Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Brown the meat in 3 batches, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes per batch; add one tablespoon more oil for each batch. (To sear the meat properly, do not crowd the pan and let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.
3. Add the onions, garlic and balsamic vinegar; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more. Add the beef with its juices back to the pan and sprinkle with the flour. Stir with wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, beef broth, water, bay leaf, thyme and sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, transfer to the preheated oven, and braise for 2 hours.
4. Remove the pot from the oven and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and place back in oven for about an hour more, or until the vegetables are cooked, the broth is thickened, and the meat is tender. Fish out the bay leaf and discard, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve the stew warm--or let it come to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. This stew improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead. Reheat, covered, over medium heat or in a 350°F oven. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.
Note: If you don’t have a Dutch oven or covered pot that is appropriate for the oven, the stew can be cooked on the stove. The timing will be the same and it should be cooked over the lowest setting.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and the salt: Set aside.
In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla extract and the vinegar until smooth. Beat in the egg just until combined.
Mix the flour mixture into the wet mixture just until combined. Stir in the chips.
Using a large cookie scoop (about 2 rounded tablespoons) drop about 3 inches apart onto cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, they will look light brown around the edges and will look underdone in the center. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle each cookie with a little sea salt. Allow to sit on the sheet for 10 minutes before moving to a rack to cool.
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Laura is a senior writer with the Office of Strategic Communications. A native Hoosier, she has 25 years of experience in communications, having worked with newspapers and other media organizations in Indiana and Florida, along with small businesses, community groups and non-profit organizations. Before joining IU School of Medicine in January 2020, she was editor-in-chief of a lifestyle magazine serving the community of Estero, Florida.