Employee of the Month – Ines Campero

February 2017, Stanford Prevention Research Center

Ines Campero works in the Healthy Aging Research and Technology Solutions (HARTS) Lab within the Stanford Prevention Research Center, which Ines says, “conducts clinical trials to test the effectiveness of innovative programs that promote healthy behaviors and environments among diverse midlife and older adults.” Ines is the lab’s social science research professional, which she says, quite modestly, means, “I lead, help and guide the team. I make sure our studies run smoothly, on schedule and meet objectives.”

Lab Director Abby King says Ines does much more than that. Everyone who nominated her for Employee of the Month agrees.


In December of 2015, Ines stepped into a new role when a key member of the lab’s staff left unexpectedly for a position in the private sector. King says, “Panic ran through our team. While it would have been understandable if Ines had decided not to [take on] this forbidding and uncharted role, miraculously (to me), she did. She immediately met with me, and together we formulated a strategy for ‘stabilizing the ship.’ We redistributed staff duties and tasks so that everything was covered and nothing fell through the cracks.”

As a result, Monica Done says, “Ines’ workload immediately doubled, but she stepped into the role with natural ease and continues to do a fantastic job.” Other colleagues also note how Ines eased the transition. Dulce Maria Garcia says, “When our group lost its project manager of 16+ years, Ines assumed the role of team leader quickly and seamlessly. Just when I thought we were all going to panic and hide, Ines remained calm and confident in the team’s ability to continue to conduct quality work. Our team has actually grown during her transition to group leader. Our study enrollments are thriving, and retention rates are above 90 percent!”

When assuming these new responsibilities, Ines had to learn new skills, including the more scientific aspects of the administrative role. She did so easily, but what really stands out to her team is her natural leadership ability. King notes her “conscientiousness, cool head and unflagging concern for all team members” and says these capabilities continue to save the day: “Our HARTS team members regained their confidence, and group morale has soared under Ines’ leadership.”

Michelle Hauser, who calls Ines “a bright spot in my day,” says she has “a gentle, but effective, leadership style, and always makes everyone on the team feel welcomed, valued and supported.” And Ana Cortes says, “Ines has been my role model since my first day at work. Her positive attitude and motivation have been extraordinary and inspiring to all. She has become the mothering figure at work and always goes above and beyond to make sure the team feels supported and stress free.”

Caring and kindness

Ines’ colleagues say that one of the most important qualities of her leadership style is how much she cares about the lab and the team. “She is incredibly nurturing and supportive,” says King citing Ines’ “gratitude jar” as an example. During the month, team members contribute notes of appreciation for tasks and activities undertaken by their fellow team members. Ines compiles them and shares them with the team. “All of us (me included),” says King, “find it inspiring at the end of the month to read about the different ways that each staff member is appreciated by others in the team.”

The gratitude jar is extremely popular. Dulce Maria Garcia lists it among the fun and inspiring activities Ines uses to unify the team. Garcia’s list also includes “a special wall of thanks for the month of November, staff appreciation day with outdoor team building games and lunch for the entire team, a day at Shoreline Park, quick luncheons at local parks and New Year’s Wish Day, which is our first meeting of the year. It begins with everyone writing an anonymous wish which is placed into a bag. Each team member draws a wish and a special sweet treat provided by Ines.”

These activities mean a lot to Cain Murguia, as well, and he says Ines demonstrates her level of caring through more than sweets and notes: “Ines makes coming into work a very pleasant experience. Somehow she always finds a way to make us feel appreciated. If it isn’t gratitude letters, it’s some kind of tasty snack or even just a bit of her time to sit and talk.” German Blanco also emphasizes Ines’ open door policy and says she’s a great listener: “On top of managing and handling research projects, she always has the time to sit with a staff member to discuss job barriers, difficulties or concerns. She always provides great feedback on ways to deal with potential issues. The knowledge about research that she instills in her staff is invaluable.”

Done agrees and says, “Ines is a fearless leader who cares about everyone and makes sure that everyone is happy in their jobs. She constantly seeks and execute ways to help employees gain deep personal satisfaction from their responsibilities so they are inspired and excited to come to work and perform well every day.” Done says she was particularly inspired on an occasion when her husband had a medical emergency in Chicago: “Ines told me to take care of myself and husband first and not worry about work. It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I could fully concentrate on my husband’s recovery.” Without that, Done says, “The stress of everything would have been insurmountable. I am so grateful for her support.”


Ines has this same level of care and concern for study participants and the research itself. When asked about the Employee of the Month award, she says it adds to her passion for the work, which she describes as a way to reduce health disparities and include ethnic minorities in health research. “It is hard to find the words to describe what a special feeling it is that my team, the people I respect and work with every day, think I deserve this nomination and that they valued so much the work I do,” she says. “I also feel very motivated to continue to do my work. I am passionate about health promotion and reducing health disparities.”

From the moment Ines first joined the Department of Medicine in 2005 as a part-time interventionist, she’s loved the research. “So here I am 12 years later,” she says. “Over these 12 years I have gradually increased my responsibilities.  [Now] I lead and manage the day-to-day operations of the whole lab.”

Ines tries to help her colleagues grow in their roles, as well. According to Done, Ines “integrates individual learning and development into every job description so that personal growth is required and rewarded. She has been supportive in me pursuing my Master’s degree and has made sure if I needed time to spend on my education, I could take that time to do well. Ines is the type of person you want in your life not only as supportive supervisor but to have as a role model for what kind, caring and honest person is. She inspires me to do well in all that I do.”

Garcia thinks so, too. She says, “Ines is a wise leader and openly willing to share her experiences for others to grow from. Ines has worked in education for most of her life, so she is always willing to assist us in learning new skills to help further our careers and personal life.  Personally, I consider Ines to be an amazing mentor! From providing sisterly woman advice to marriage and family advice, she always listens and gives her honest opinions. I hope one day I am able to take on her Supermom powers, as well!”