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What healthcare leaders need to know now

Sticking your neck out: Servant leadership in practice

By | October 13 th,  2020 | women leaders | Add A Comment


With a style that is both flexible and nourishing without compromising her values, Nancy Howell Agee, President and CEO of Carilion Clinic, embodies the characteristics of servant leadership. Combining strength and humility, her leadership mantra takes a cue from nature, “A turtle doesn’t get anywhere without sticking her neck out.” Agee keeps a turtle figurine on her desk as a daily reminder.


Of course, becoming a great leader requires more than just sticking your neck out and taking risks. In an industry where problems are increasingly complex, no one person will ever have all the answers.


Placing similar importance on humility, Agee says, “If you’ve ever seen a turtle on a fence post, you know she didn’t get there by herself – none of us rise up in an organization or in our careers without the help of others.” As leaders, we often end up somewhere we didn’t expect, so leaning into the talent and expertise of others to work through challenges is imperative for problem solving.


Furthering Gender Diversity


Embracing and building up others is something Agee has always made a priority, especially when it comes to women leaders. Half of her leadership team is female, and she has been a dedicated mentor of women leaders both inside Carilion Clinic and beyond.


Yet Agee finds herself surprised by “[still] needing to be intentional about women leaders. It seems like something we went through in the 60s.” But continuing efforts to improve opportunities for women leaders is of extreme importance.


According to a 2019 Lean-In survey, “Over 60 percent of employees entering the healthcare industry are women, while across sectors in the United States, women represent an average of just under 50 percent of entry-level employees.” But when it comes to executive leadership positions, both women of color and women in general are underrepresented. Trends show that the higher up you look in an organization the less diversity you will see.


A recent Modern Healthcare article highlights that “the percentage of women leading Fortune 500 companies fell to just 4.8 percent.” Their stats show healthcare exceeds that with the percentage of female CEOs landing somewhere between 13-20 percent and women holding about 30 percent of the c-level roles. Some data suggests that there has been an overall dip in the progress over the last several years without any clear indication as to why.


Not only are we making slow progress, in some ways we are stalling—meaning fewer women executives and that’s just disappointing. Agee is surprised women don’t “say yes” or put themselves forward. “That’s why we need to be more intentional about encouraging and mentoring women along this path,” she says. “The fact of the matter is, none of us gets here alone.”


Agee thinks back to her grandmother who encouraged her and says, “It’s incumbent upon those of us who are leaders to give that back.” She advocates mentoring other women and identifying potential leaders to bring them forward. “Raise your hand and tell your story! Sometimes you’re going to fail and sometimes you’re not going to get where you want, but that’s okay.”


Leading through servanthood


Agee credits a colleague for giving her a book about servant leadership, with the note, “This is how I think of you as a leader,” that inspired her continued development. Since then she’s become disciplined and tries to apply those principles to all that she does. For instance, when asked who her most important constituency was, she said, “Of course we all say our patients. I think my role is to help others take care of patients. They are giving direct care and what I do every day is make sure they can do their job. That is the magic moment between a clinician and a patient. I serve those who lead so that they can do the work they do. And that’s perhaps the most distinctive piece. It’s helping others develop and get out in front rather than putting yourself in front.”


“Servant leadership,” is a term coined years ago by Robert Greenleaf, an accomplished AT&T executive and founder of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership (the first and only one of its kind in the U.S.). He defines Servant Leaders as managers that ultimately thrive by supporting others and directing them toward their passions. The word “servant” doesn’t appear to be as powerful as “boss.” But what it lacks in perceived power, it delivers in influence.


When a leader removes herself from the equation to focus on the organization and its success, the most important battle has been won—establishing trust. Being a servant leader doesn’t mean you don’t correct behavior or tell people what to do.


Servant leadership means:

  • Asking more questions
  • Actively listening and valuing others’ opinions
  • Helping others develop and get out in front

Really, these are qualities that all leaders should strive to employ regardless of their style.


Greenleaf wrote, “The servant leader is servant first … it begins with that natural feeling that one wants to serve. The best test, which is difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”


Humility creates space for others in problem-solving. A Catalyst study backs this up, listing humility as one of four critical leadership factors for creating an environment where employees from different demographics feel included. This held true for women and men in six countries.


3 Cs of women leadership


Although servant leadership style is commendable, as well as viable, it’s important to balance. Women have historically been hailed for their humility, but Agee points out that in addition to that inherent humility, women must apply the 3 Cs:

  1. Curiosity - ask the tough questions
  2. Courage - take risks and challenge ideas
  3. Confidence -stick your neck out and raise your hand

Curiosity plays a critical role in leadership, because it creates the opportunity to gather different points of view. Agee believes that diversity on teams leads to more well-rounded curiosity. She highlights a time when curiosity within her leadership team worked like peeling back the layers of an onion. “What if we did this? What if we did that? How would this play out? It’s taking advantage of a wide variety of perspectives, and the natural collaborativeness that women bring to the team. For me, curiosity is a way of really showing interest and respect for another person, while trying to inspire diversity of thought and varied opinions.”


Courage can be daunting, especially as the only female in a boardroom or group of business leaders. Many times, Agee has found that women are not taken seriously or that their role is minimized from the start. She doesn’t let that stop her. She notes, “You have to, in a very careful way, assert yourself, and I find that surprising.” This courage, or lack thereof, can mean the difference between making a place for yourself as a valued voice or being drowned out.


Confidence and courage seem very similar, but confidence is more about believing in yourself and your ideas, so that you can have the courage to speak up. Balancing this confidence with courage and taking the initiative to be curious make for great leadership. Agee summed it up best when she said, “Curiosity implies the act of listening and that’s much more than waiting your turn. It involves distilling what you’re hearing and actively being inquisitive to understand others’ points of view and then bringing that together. It’s not just what they’re saying, but what’s behind the words—what they are feeling. That’s what makes women natural leaders.”


All in all, Agee’s strong female leadership, combined with her passion for leading with gratitude and humility, has had a profound impact on her organization and the industry as a whole. Like the turtle, she is at ease in her own shell, sticks her neck out when she needs to and when the time and environment are right … she’s swift, nimble and takes action. Her courageous leadership has helped break down barriers and encourage growth that will have a lasting impact for years to come.

Download the Women Leaders Playbook

Why You Need Physician Leaders on Your Executive Team

By | September 29 th,  2020 | Add A Comment

As the healthcare industry wrestles with rapid changes sparked by the COVID pandemic, organizations need to adapt quickly and reassess nearly every aspect of their operations. During 2020, executives in healthcare leadership have had to be nimble with their decisions that could determine the survival of their organization for both the near- and the long-term.


Few skill sets are better suited to leadership in times of crisis than that of physicians, who, fortunately, healthcare organizations have in abundant supply. Physicians possess qualities that are highly sought-after in candidates for leadership. They are intelligent, voracious, lifelong learners, a result of their heightened curiosity and scientific thinking.

| Unlock the Article: Harnessing the Hidden Strengths   of Physician Leaders to Thrive Post-PandemicThis aspect of their personality correlates with two other innate tendencies physician leaders often possess – ingenuity and innovation. Together, these qualities can greatly benefit an organization looking for new ideas, out-of-the-box thinking, and problem-solving skills. A physician leader’s inherent ability to pioneer solutions, balanced with their expertise and passion for delivering high quality, patient-centered care offers a distinct advantage for healthcare organizations.


The challenge many organizations face is finding constructive ways to recruit and cultivate this tremendous talent for executive leadership. Rather than simply pulling a doctor off the floor to sit at the boardroom table, organizations should invest in the process of searching for the right leader from a pool of both internal and external candidates. This can be accomplished by working with your talent acquisition team and bolstered by partnership with an executive recruiting and leadership assessment firm.


While physicians complete years of schooling, residency, and ongoing professional education, the leadership skills required for an executive role are typically not taught in medical school. As a result, when placed in an executive role, physicians are frequently left on their own to learn how to become effective leaders. Therefore, organizations must be able to recognize the potential for leadership while recruiting a physician leader, then provide the necessary nurturing and development opportunities during onboarding and beyond.


Organizations can help encourage the full potential of their physician leaders’ by prioritizing the sometimes hidden dimensions of their personalities, and simply resetting expectations both external to that leader and within. Those physicians will bring a tenacious commitment for issues such as patient satisfaction and delivery of care into more strategic discussions about how and where care will be delivered. As their non-physician peers on the executive team adjust their perception of physicians in leadership roles, the effects will be limitless.


For example, we can now see the very real possibility that the hospital bed of the future is in the patient’s living room, and the house call is via video chat. How will your organization keep up and make agile decisions in this fast-changing environment? Isn’t that a discussion best had with input from physicians in the room? The key is to avoid typecasting physician leaders by relying on them only for clinical or diagnostic input. They have much more to offer.


Healthcare organizations possess the tremendous advantage of a talent pipeline rich in physicians who can bring their valuable perspective to the executive leadership team. For its own survival, it is imperative for the leadership team to support the unique abilities of the physician leader to incubate and accelerate ideas to invent and deploy solutions that proactively thrust the organization into a future of its choosing.

| Unlock the Article: Harnessing the Hidden Strengths   of Physician Leaders to Thrive Post-Pandemic

Search Insights Report: UC Davis Health – Chief Strategy Officer

By | May 28 th,  2020 | Healthcare Executive Search, Search Insights | Add A Comment

UC Davis Health partnered with Furst Group to find a Chief Strategy Officer to continue moving the organization forward by advancing its focus on building stronger community partnerships and affiliations. As a leading national academic health system, UC Davis Health is ranked among the Top 10 medical schools in the United States, the Top 30 for medical centers, and the Top 50 for schools of nursing.

| View Search Insights Report

Mapping the Role


Defining success is an integral part of identifying the ideal candidate profile. Beyond the description of the position itself, it is important to develop a deep understanding of the culture and the needs of the organization, while also considering the specific factors and support needed for the executive leader to achieve the desired outcomes.


For UC Davis Health, success was crucially dependent on finding a strategic executive who had the competencies and operational experience to design and execute a new clinical strategy within the distinctive pace and cadence of an academic health system and subsequently drive the evolution of the organization’s culture over time.


Navigating the market


Strategy executives are in high demand. These leaders, however, are acutely decisive when considering their next opportunity. Employing an intentional, informed approach to the market allowed potential candidates to match their style to that of the organization in several key categories, including risk tolerance, agility, and propensity to innovate.


Slate Dynamics


The strong partnership between Furst Group and UC Davis Health provided a solid, targeted approach to the competitive Chief Strategy Officer talent market and produced a highly dynamic candidate slate that included leaders with for-profit experience in complex markets and varied experience in all facets of academic institutions, as well as high-potential candidates ready to step-up in their careers. Click the link below to view the report for statistics and insights: 

| View Search Insights Report

Installation and Onboarding


Within many of our C-level searches, we embed our sister company, NuBrick Partners, from the start to assist with the selection and installation of the new leader. NuBrick’s expertise in leadership development and executive team performance minimizes the potential disruptive impact of transitioning a new leader into an organization. It also accelerates the leader’s immersion and cohesion into the culture and the team, translating into higher success rates and reduced time to results. Review the Search Insights Report for more information.



Servant Leadership: Valuing Relationships over Process

By | May 21 st,  2020 | Leadership Development, executive leadership, authentic leadership, Servant Leadership, Healthcare Leaders | Add A Comment

As we find ourselves working and leading our teams through the COVID-19 crisis, a meaningful quote by leadership expert John Maxwell resonates with us:


“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”


To us, this quote speaks about “servant leadership.” Servant leadership is the belief that the most effective leaders strive to serve others, including colleagues, direct reports, and employees, rather than accrue power, knowledge, money, or control. Servant leadership disregards title, authority, and hierarchy and, instead, embraces that which serves others so they may become their most effective, valued, and engaged.


The increased stress that everyone experiences in varying degrees stirs up natural and powerful self-protective instincts. In a way, the toilet paper panic buying frenzy of a few weeks ago is a remnant of that primal urge. It makes sense.


But while it is natural to be self-protective, it is just as evident that we are all sharing the experience of this global pandemic. Especially now, servant leaders must set aside their self-serving efforts and serve others.


Knowing the importance of servant leadership and adopting a leadership approach that seeks to help others over ourselves is vital for this time. Allow us to offer three ways that you can demonstrate this style of leadership to engage and serve others.

  • Awareness: Now is an opportune time to be aware of what others are experiencing both professionally and personally. Respect the situations, feelings, strengths, and challenges of those around you. At the same time you must also be aware of the same things about yourself in order to sustain and remain an effective leader.
  • Listening: We all are struggling and need to be heard and understood. Servant leaders listen to understand by allowing more space in the conversation for others, which turns into a wonderful gift. Not only must you hear what is being said, you must notice what’s not being said, including non-verbal cues that play a role in how someone’s message is being conveyed.
  • Empathy: It is important now more than ever to be patient and empathetic toward colleagues who may be experiencing their own considerable stress and fear in their own unique way. Empathy means making room for your colleagues to be themselves. Demonstrating a level of patience for stretched, distracted, and irritated colleagues is vital. Empathize more, judge less.

Take a look around and you’ll recognize how everyone, independent of status or title, is stepping in to serve others, humbly checking that they are all right emotionally and psychologically to engage in the work at hand. Knowing that we are all in this together, imagine what might happen in our personal and professional relationships if we paid less regard to status for a short time and become a servant leader.


We will defeat this virus together. Remember, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”


Search Insights Series: Chief People Officer for BJC HealthCare

By | April 23 rd,  2020 | Search Insights | Add A Comment

Furst Group recently had the privilege of partnering with BJC HealthCare in their search for an executive leader to serve as their new Chief People Officer. As one of the largest nonprofit, integrated delivery healthcare organizations in the country with a goal of being the national model in patient advocacy, clinical quality, medical research, financial stability, and employee satisfaction, BJC HealthCare was looking for an experienced, transformational HR leader to serve as a strategic partner on its executive team.


Led by Furst Group Vice President, Jessica Homann, this search would not only replace the retiring CHRO, but also redefine the role to support the evolving needs of the organization. By leveraging the unique market insights of our team, along with the role design intelligence of our sister company, NuBrick Partners, we were able to define a solid talent success profile to identify, attract, and assess ideal candidates.


| View Insights Infographic


The position required a forward-thinking, innovative and strategic HR leader. We explored various approaches to contrast the roles and objectives between a Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) versus Chief People Officer (CPO). This allowed our client, BJC HealthCare, to make informed decisions about the type of contemporary leader they needed and how that executive would integrate into their current organizational structure to bring critical value to their immediate and long-term initiatives.


Sharing the insights we captured during our interactions with the market is part of our commitment to providing an exceptional client and candidate experience. View the infographic below to find out more about the market trends and role design insights that came out of this search including:

  • Key differentiators between CHRO and CPO roles and objectives
  • Titles and educational backgrounds of candidates
  • Unique experience that 73% of candidates had acquired
  • The strong diverse candidate representation we were proud to bring forward

New call-to-actionAs the search concluded, BJC HealthCare was able to make informed decisions about the type of contemporary leader they needed, and how that executive would integrate into their current organizational structure to bring critical value to their immediate and long-term initiatives. They chose Jackie Tischler as their new Chief People Officer.


“The opportunity to partner with BJC and their outstanding executive leadership on the design and recruitment of this role was phenomenal. Jackie’s strong background in transformation and innovation will enhance the team and the overall success of their organization,” said Furst Group Vice President, Jessica Homann.



Best Practices for Virtual Panel Interviews

By | April 15 th,  2020 | executive search, Video Interviewing, Virtual Meetings | 1 Comments

Video conferencing software makes virtual panel interviews possible in this age of social distancing. But the experience of interviewing remotely presents some unique challenges for both hosts and participants, not present with a live panel.


As a virtual meeting host, your goal should be to create an experience that is the next best thing to meeting in person. Your virtual meeting should give candidates a true sense of your organization’s culture and help your leaders shine, all within the confines of a small video window. Participants want to engage with the group despite the social separation and technical limitations.


Here are some valuable lessons and best practices we’ve learned for hosting and participating in virtual panel interviews. The infographic below offers our helpful tips on setup and logistics, facilitating the meeting, and creating engaging interactions between your team and the interviewee.  


For additional resources on hosting and participating in video interviews, check out these helpful tools.


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Best Practices for Hosting and Participating in Video Interviews

By | March 26 th,  2020 | executive search, Video Interviewing, Virtual Meetings | Add A Comment

Interviewing is challenging in any environment, but when it happens in a virtual environment, new and different obstacles arise. More than 20 years ago, our organization invested in an infrastructure and culture that supports a mix worked environment with remote work capabilities, so engaging people and teams via video conferencing is very familiar to our team.


Considering the dynamic times we are all currently navigating, our team gathered up all of our tips and advice on conducting stellar video interviews and created these helpful infographics as a resource for organizations and teams hosting video interviews, as well as a resource for candidates participating in them.


Stay tuned for an additional infographic on conducting panel or group interviews


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9-Steps for Improving Executive Team Performance

By | March 6 th,  2020 | Leadership Development, Executive Team Performance, Executive Leadership Team | Add A Comment

Behind every great CEO is an effective executive team. Investing in your leadership team is crucial to the success of an organization, especially in an industry as multifarious and network-reliant as healthcare.


As CEO, your executive leadership team (ELT) acts as the nucleus of a complex and integrated system, through which you can govern and guide accordingly. Each member of the team is your liaison for driving results throughout every department. When melded properly, an empowered and synergetic leadership team is the key to running a successful operation.


Mobilizing your team is the start to a strong and prosperous system. Most CEOs inherit their ELT -- and often it is brimming with sharp, experienced professionals. But the best teams are greater than the sum of their parts. Executive harmony is the new competitive edge.


Building an all-star leadership team is a learning process. Real results aren’t measured in a day. Substantial growth happens with transparency and time.


Here is what that process looks like:


Step 1: Listen and Observe


Take time to listen, observe and understand. Talk to stakeholders of all levels -- even those outside of the organization. Pay attention to common narratives that define present climate and culture. What are the current expectations, challenges, and opportunities?


Step 2: Invest in exploratory discussions


To find common ground, promote discourse both one-on-one and in groups. Teams that can connect to a unified identity, security, and purpose more easily meet goals and exceed expectations than those that lack consensus.


Step 3: Set goals


Introduce personal assessments to gauge motivators, inhibitors, and other indicators of job performance. Make sure your team understands that these are not for evaluation, but to empower strengths and align goals.


Step 4: Get to know your team


Identify personality types, leadership styles, and communication techniques. Distinguishing these characteristics and organizing them promotes comfort through transparency and will help you build the foundation for a successful leadership team.


Step 5: Build trust


Encourage vulnerability and honesty to promote trust and strengthen relationships across your team. Instill confidence and passion by drawing clear connections between your strategy, the organization’s mission, and the team’s unified sense of identity. Your team needs to believe in themselves, as well as in your vision, as much as you do. In any effective organization, thoughtful strategy is dependent on passionate execution.


Step 6: Clarify your goals


Use the knowledge gained from your assessments to clarify goals, configure (or reconfigure) roles, and set reasonable, measurable expectations. Pivot individual skills as needed to enhance group performance.


Step 7: Embolden your leaders


Encourage your team to work outside of their silos. Cross-communication and collaboration are powerful assets within your leadership toolbox. Energize your team to engage above, below, and across the organization to achieve the best possible outcomes in every situation.


Step 8: Think to the future


Discuss what your team could look like a year from now. Address uncertainty, ask questions, engage in dialogue, and push boundaries. Visualizing the best-case-scenario early on will keep you and your team goal-oriented and respect the big picture when dealing with day-to-day decision-making.


Step 9: Build your plan


Use the information gathered through the previous steps to start building your game plan. Consider the core purpose, rules of engagement, and benchmarks for measurement. The executive leadership team is your touchpoint to the entire organization. Acknowledge and harness individual strengths, calibrate effective leadership strategies, and cultivate a sense of identity, purpose, and connection to the team and the organization as a whole.


This process and the path you set out on looks different to every organization, every team, and every member. A truly impactful ELT believes in a unified vision that elevates each leader to harness and integrate individual strengths to the betterment of the group’s mutual success. With collective synergy, a solid foundation, and dynamic guidance, your executive leadership team will grow together and maintain a sharp edge over the competition.


For a more in-depth look at this process -- including a three-phase expansive journey on assessing, building, and fine-tuning your executive leadership team -- read the CEO Primer: Accelerating Executive Team Performance.


The Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare — 2020

By | February 17 th,  2020 | Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, Modern Healthcare, Blog, diversity | Add A Comment


top25_minority leaders_RGB


Furst Group and NuBrick Partners are proud to sponsor the Top 25 Minority Leaders, the awards program created by Modern Healthcare. This is our 12th year of sponsoring the program, which culminates in an awards gala on August 13 in Chicago.


Please click here to read our interviews with previous honorees from the Top 25 awards programs.


2020 Top 25 Minority Leaders in Healthcare 

Jerome Adams

Dr. Jerome Adams,

U.S. Surgeon General, HHS

Debra Canales

Debra Canales,

Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Providence


Read past profiles:
Debra Canales strives to put people first in the mission of healthcare

Genevieve Caruncho-Simpson

Genevieve Caruncho-Simpson,

President and Chief Operating Officer, Texas Health Aetna

Augustine Choi

Dr. Augustine Choi,

Dean, Weill Cornell Medicine

Bechara Choucair

Dr. Bechara Choucair,

Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer, Kaiser Permanente

Imelda Dacones

Dr. Imelda Dacones,

President and CEO, Northwest Permanente

Garth Graham

Garth Graham,

President, Aetna Foundation and Vice President, Community Health and Impact, CVS Health

Danielle Gray

Danielle Gray,

Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Audrey Gregory

Audrey Gregory,

CEO, Detroit Medical Center


Patrice Harris

Dr. Patrice Harris,

President, American Medical Association


Sachin Jain

Dr. Sachin Jain,

President and CEO, CareMore Health


Read past profiles:

The healthcare system is broken. Sachin Jain and colleagues want to help transform it

Transitioning to CEO? Self-awareness is Vital

Vivian Lee

Dr. Vivian Lee,

President of Health Platforms, Verily Life Sciences

Ana Pujols McKee

Dr. Ana Pujols McKee,

Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Joint Commission


Read past profile:
Quality, safety fuel Pujols McKee's drive at The Joint Commission

Rhonda Medows

Dr. Rhonda Medows,

CEO, Ayin Health Solutions and President of Population Health, Providence

Philip Ozuah

Dr. Philip Ozuah,

President and CEO, Montefiore Medicine

Ketul Patel

Ketul Patel,

President, Pacific Northwest Division, CommonSpirit Health and CEO, CHI Franciscan

Dennis Pullin

Dennis Pullin,

President and CEO, Virtua Health

Javier Rodriguez

Javier Rodriguez,

CEO, DaVita

Jaewon Ryu

Dr. Jaewon Ryu,

President and CEO, Geisinger Health


Read past profile:

Experiences build a strong leadership foundation for Jaewon Ryu

Ninfa Saunders

Ninfa Saunders,

CEO, Navicent Health

Thomas Sequist

Dr. Thomas Sequist,

Chief Quality and Safety Officer, Partners HealthCare

Rajesh Shrestha

Rajesh Shrestha,

Chief Operating Officer, Community-Based Care, Intermountain Healthcare and CEO, Castell

Nicole Thomas

Nicole Thomas,

Hospital President, Baptist Medical Center South

 Michael Ugwueke

Michael Ugwueke,

President and CEO, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare


Read past profile:

Michael Ugwueke helps Methodist South turn around

Kimberlydawn Wisdom

Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom,

Senior Vice President of Community Health and Equity, and Chief Wellness and Diversity Officer, Henry Ford Health System



2020 Luminaries 


Lloyd Dean

Lloyd Dean,

CEO, CommonSpirit Health


Read past profile:
Dignity Health’s Lloyd Dean leads from experience and welcomes ‘healthcare for all’

Wright Lassiter III

Wright Lassiter III,

President and CEO, Henry Ford Health System


Read past profile:

In healthcare's new order, no time to bask in past success

Kevin Lofton

Kevin Lofton,

CEO, CommonSpirit Health

Beverly Malone 

Beverly Malone,

CEO, National League of Nursing


Read past profiles:

Healthcare’s volatility gives way to innovative leadership

Once a reluctant leader, Beverly Malone inspires countless nurses with skills that earned her a seat alongside royalty

 Eugene Woods

Eugene Woods,

President and CEO, Atrium Health


Read past profiles:

A template for change: Continual transformation is a must for leaders

Gene Woods' influential leadership poised to enhance Carolinas HealthCare System


Diverse leadership is key to solving health disparities



2020 Minority Leaders to Watch 

In addition, here are the 10 executives chosen as Minority Leaders to Watch:


Jandel Allen-Davis

Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis,

President and CEO, Craig Hospital

Miguel Benet

Dr. Miguel Benet,

Division Chief Medical Officer, Medical City Healthcare, North Texas Division of HCA Healthcare

Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee

Dr. Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee,

Senior Vice President and Chief Community Impact Officer, Ascension

Ahmed Haque

Ahmed Haque,

Senior Vice President of Network Performance and Strategy, Aledade

Barbara Johnson

Barbara Johnson,

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Premier Health

Angelleen Peters-Lewis

Angelleen Peters-Lewis,

Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive, Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Stella Safo

Dr. Stella Safo,

Chief Clinical Transformation Officer and Vice President of Prospective Research, Premier

Airica Steed

Dr. Airica Steed,

System Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Sinai Health System

Cassandra Willis-Abner

Cassandra Willis-Abner,

Senior Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Experience Officer, Trinity Health

Nichole Wilson

Nichole Wilson,

Vice President of Retail Health Services, Community Health Network


For more information, click here.

CEO Transition: Hope and fail or fail to plan … how to avoid both

By | January 30 th,  2020 | CEO, Transition, New Leader Installation | Add A Comment

Any CEO transition, whether it’s an executive coming from outside the organization or an internal hire, will cause an impact on the performance of the organization. Hopefully, that impact will be positive, but nearly half of the time, that isn’t the case. A transition at this level affects the entire organization and hoping that it goes well is a plan that more often than not results in negative outcomes.


CEO-Transition-BlogImageAccording to research from the CEB1, successful transitions result in a 90 percent higher likelihood that teams will meet their three-year performance goals. As an executive search firm, we partner with top healthcare organizations to discover and attract executive talent, as well as create a solid installation and transition plan to ensure success from the start.


When seeking a new CEO, organizations must focus on defining success far beyond the resume. Establishing a detailed set of filters and criteria for measuring talent allows the organization to gain a deeper understanding of candidates’ competencies and experiences and how those will or will not translate into future success. Viewing talent through a lens programmed with the organization’s culture, existing talent and structure, and business objectives and challenges, allows the true definition of the optimal role design to be established and matched with the ideal candidate.


Yet finding the right leader is only a small fraction of the battle for success. Research shows that one-third to one-half of CEOs will fail within the first 18 months2. The right person was selected based on all the crucial factors, so why are so many proven, talented executives failing to achieve success?


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Experience shows that lack of transition planning is the likely culprit in most cases. It is not just one person transitioning, so why leave it up to chance? At a minimum, a transition at the CEO level is going to impact everyone on the board, the executive team, and the newly hired or internally promoted candidate stepping into the role. That’s a lot of transition, but it goes deeper than that. Everyone these leaders interact with, essentially the entire company, will experience the effects of this new transition.


Without a clear installation and transition plan, even successful CEOs take about six to eight months to gain any real traction and show strong results. Transition isn’t something that should be left to chance. It’s also not something that is learned while obtaining an MBA or on the job throughout one’s career.


During an interview with Brett Esrock, CEO – Hospital Division, Health First, while discussing the installation process, he said, “It’s been a springboard for our future success. A great springboard to a collaborative and cohesive team.”


Brett identified that he was a bit skeptical at the beginning of the process because he felt he was good at developing relationships and getting to know people. But after completing the installation process, he said, “It’s been inspiring for me to go through something like this. It’s taken my preconceived notions of what I can do on my own and shown me that I could use the help – having someone else come in and help identify where those potential pitfalls are and what we can do together to strengthen the bond.”


When transition is actively managed and planned success rates for CEOs and other executives increase dramatically, time to achieve results is reduced, culture immersion occurs sooner and more smoothly, and team effectiveness and cohesion are accelerated. In addition, conflict, which is a normal part of relationship development, is minimized and much less likely to impede team cohesiveness and overall company performance.


Throughout thousands of executive placements, we have seen the power of transition. This is why, at Furst Group, we’ve teamed up with our sister company, NuBrick Partners, to integrate installation and transition planning into the search process from the kickoff of the search through the first 90 days of the new CEO’s time with his/her new organization.


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1 CEB Blogs, “Corporate finance: The cost of poor leadership transitions." Kruti Bharucha and Nitika

  Dial, October 29, 2013, cebglobal.com

2 https://hbr.org/2016/12/after-the-handshake



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