System Vice President Learning & Organizational Development; Chief Learning Officer at Norton Healthcare
Education: B.A. from the University of Maryland; M.A. from Lacrosse University
Hobbies: Traveling, hiking, biking, running and attending and watching sports.
What was your first job in healthcare? What did you take away from that job that you use today? My current role with Norton Healthcare was my first venture into healthcare. I quickly learned that healthcare is an incredibly complex business. What I try to do, to the extent possible, is make this field seem less complex to those we educate.
Leadership is about leading people; employee development is about providing as many different learning experiences to help employees either improve their performance or prepare for greater responsibility in the organization. Everything that we do is focused on ensuring that everyone who comes in contact with the patient is delivering the best possible care. We try to echo the words of our CEO, Steve Williams, that every Norton employee is either providing direct patient care or supporting someone who does.
What is your very best skill — the thing that sets you apart from others? I think my best skill is my ability to get along with anyone. It is particularly handy in the work that I do. I have to be able to very quickly connect with employees, patients, guests and vendors/suppliers and meet them where they are.
Where do you do your best thinking? I do my best thinking during quiet times. While they are few and far between, I use every opportunity I get no matter where I am to think. It is not uncommon for me to wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts and ideas. I get up and write them down.
What was the most significant event/development at Norton Healthcare in 2015? The continued growth of patients due to the Affordable Care Act’s implementation. The results have been that we are now facing staffing issues.
If you could eliminate one of the healthcare industry’s problems overnight, which would it be? Nursing shortages – we are starting to see challenges as a result of the increase in patients.
How do you approach management and leadership at Norton Healthcare? My personal philosophy in leading my team is that I am here to provide the very best leadership possible. That means providing a clear vision of where the organization and our department is going and how we fit in to the total organization – in other words what we must do every day to meet the needs of a growing and changing organization. I am here to guide and coach them, provide the resources they need to do their best work, create a win-win team environment so that they can grow and develop as individuals and professionals.
As a leader, we all face many challenges. What challenges do you face in your role that are unique because you work in healthcare? The healthcare landscape is changing so quickly. My challenge is to stay abreast of the industry changes and how they impact a dynamic organization like Norton Healthcare with more than 13,000 employees. So I am a student and life-long learner. Quite simply, if you are not learning you are not progressing. And if you are not progressing and changing you can’t help your organization stay current with the world around you.
What opportunities do you see for Norton Healthcare in 2016? Challenges? For Norton Healthcare, the opportunities and challenges sometimes come from the same sources. The recently elected governor in Kentucky has repeatedly voiced his intention of dismantling the state’s health insurance exchange in 2016, created under the Affordable Care Act. That introduces a tremendous unknown to the healthcare landscape in this state.
Then there is the industry shift away from volume-based healthcare reimbursement and toward population health management. Although this challenge isn’t unique to Norton Healthcare, we have been busily building the needed infrastructure and processes to make that transition happen without creating chaos across the system. In both cases we may be dealing with an opportunity that initially presents as a challenge.
How do you revitalize yourself? I enjoy working out three to five times a week for about 90 minutes. In addition, I enjoy running and biking with my running/biking partner. By the end of this year, I will have completed four half marathons, numerous other races (5K and 10K’s). I have a group of friends who I have joined in hiking the Vermont long trail in segments. We have a couple of major segments left that we will complete in 2016 and 2017. And finally, for the past 20 years, I have been travelling to sporting events around the country with a group of long-time friends.