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Why I Went Into Medicine: Leo Pepito, Phlebotomy

Monday, May 24, 2021 12:17 PM

Leo Pepito was ten years old when his family moved to the United States from their home in the Philippines. “My parents wanted me to experience other people and different cultures,” recalled Pepito. “I have carried that with me through my entire life.”

Leo Pepito

Pepito’s appreciation and understanding of the multi-cultural world has served him well in his current role as Phlebotomy Supervisor, where he manages a team of 40 at Evanston and Skokie Hospitals. “We are a diverse group; we have every continent except Antarctica represented on our team,” said Pepito. “I feel really lucky that we are such a diverse team and can learn from each other. We’re a very tight-knit group like a family.” 

While Pepito said he always had a desire to work in healthcare, it took a career change and a start as an entry-level phlebotomist at Evanston Hospital 10 years ago to make it a reality. “I started at square one and was lucky this opportunity was here for me,” he said.

Reluctant to talk about himself or his success as a leader, Pepito instead points to his team. “When your team succeeds, that speaks for itself,” he said. “I have an open-door policy and I really try and connect with everyone, celebrating birthdays and milestones, listening and knowing what they are going through, what their families are going through.”

Pepito cites his previous manager, now retired Masani Matthews, as having a big influence and impact on him.

“She is a strong African American woman and when she spoke, everyone listened. When she spoke you knew it was coming from her heart,” said Pepito. “I learned from her; I speak from the heart and I feel like NorthShore has embraced that. I truly believe our power is in the people and it’s important that leadership feels the pulse of its people, and I feel like NorthShore does this.”