Anne Heiligsetzer | A familiar face

By the time most people arrive at work for the day, Anne Heiligsetzer has already helped patients get to their appointment, greeted students on their way to class, and welcomed colleagues as they rush off to start on their to do lists.

Author

Melanie Tibbetts, Cumming School of Medicine

By the time most people arrive at work for the day, Anne Heiligsetzer has already helped patients get to their appointment, greeted students on their way to class, and welcomed colleagues as they rush off to start on their to do lists. 

For most people who visit, work or study at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), Anne has become a very familiar face. For the past nine and a half years, she has been stationed at the Health Sciences Centre (HSC) information desk to answer questions and provide directions to anyone who walks through the doors. Even though she has been seconded to two other jobs within the university, Anne has always made her way back to the desk. 

“I’ve met some of the nicest people – faculty, staff, students and patients – you could ever meet,” says Anne with a smile. “Everyone comes through the doors for a different reason – some happy, and some not. For the patients and their families who are having a difficult time, I like knowing that I can make things a little bit easier for them. Simply offering a smile can have a powerful effect.” 

Anne was brightening people’s day at the Foothills campus even prior to joining the CSM team as an administrative coordinator at the information desk. 

“Back in the day, I managed a little coffee shop called Brew & Blendz, also known as the Tiki Hut, that was located in the HSC lobby,” Anne says with a laugh. “Delores, who used to work at the information desk, came over one day and asked if I was interested in working for the university. The Teaching, Research and Wellness building was opening up, and she was switching roles. I got an interview and, four days later, I had a job. I’m very thankful to Delores – I owe her.” 

In addition to her role at the information desk, Anne also plays a large part in running the CSM’s annual United Way campaign. She sits on the CSM’s planning committee, and helps organize key fundraising events such as BBQs, Wine Survivor and the annual United Way Market Day. The CSM runs one of the most successful faculty campaigns, and it’s because of people like Anne.  

“This will be my fifth year helping with the campaign,” says Anne. “It’s such a great way for me to get involved and help others. One of the best parts is meeting new people from the CSM. I think I know a lot of people, but the number of new people I meet each year always surprises me.” 

When Anne isn’t at work, she spends most of her time with family and enjoys being outdoors. She has three children and two grandsons who keep her busy. A typical weekend for Anne includes trips to the park, hiking and family picnics. 

“My grandchildren are the loves of my life,” gushes Anne. “Miller is three, and Knox is one and a half. My favourite thing in the world is babysitting those two boys. It’s so much fun – even more fun than raising my own children. The way they make me laugh…that’s what life is all about.”

Tidbits from Anne: 

Pronunciation of last name: Hi-leg-sets-er 

Originally from: “England, but I moved to Canada when I was three years old. Most of my family is still there, and we try to visit when we can.” 

Favourites:

  • Colour: Blue.
  • Food: “If I could, I’d eat lasagna. But I’m supposed to stay away from that.”
  • Part of the job: “Helping people, especially the students. When new students start, I kind of become their mom. I love it! Even after becoming residents, they still come by to chat. Watching them through the years is definitely the best part about my job.”
  • Place at the Cumming School: Health Research Innovation Centre courtyard.

Personal goal: “Sparked by health issues, I’ve formed a team of six women who all work here at the CSM. Our goal over the next year is to get in shape. We plan to enter at least one Spartan Race and Mud Run in 2018. I anticipate that we’ll spend more time on the ground laughing than actually racing, but it’s a great goal and will be lots of fun.” 

Something people may not know: “I’m a sports fanatic. I love to watch and participate in all sports. The part that some may know is that I’m also a tad bit competitive.” 

On the Cumming School’s 50th anniversary celebration: “In the nine years I’ve been here, I’ve seen so much growth. I saw the construction of the Health Research Innovation Centre and Teaching, Research and Wellness buildings. I’ve also seen the volume of people drastically increase. When I first started at the information desk, there wasn’t a lot to do. I used to read magazines. Now, I sometimes don’t even have time to look at my computer.” 

What the Cumming School of Medicine should do in the next 50 years: “Keep doing what we’re doing, because we’re doing a good job. Especially with the people. Just look at our students; they’re going to make the best doctors.”