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The Top Women Leaders Healthcare — 2022

By | February 21 st,  2022 | women executives, Modern Healthcare, women leaders, Blog, diversity, women, MHWomen, Top Women Leaders, Top Women Leaders in Healthcare, WLIH | Add A Comment


Top Women leaders nom page 1-01


Furst Group and NuBrick Partners are proud to sponsor and support the Top Women Leaders in Healthcare, the awards program created by Modern Healthcare. This is our 14th year of sponsoring the program, which culminates in an awards gala that will be hosted at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago, IL on July 14, 2022.


Please click here to read our recent article, “The spaces in between: Moving DE&I beyond the status quo,” and check out our Diversity Resource Library.


2022 Top Women Leaders in Healthcare 



Odette Bolano,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Saint Alphonsus Health System



Roz Brewer,

Chief Executive Officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance



Maxine Carrington,

Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Northwell Health



Suja Chandrasekaran,

Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Digital Officer, CommonSpirit Health

Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips


Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips,

President of Clinical Care Operations, Providence




Carladenise Edwards,

Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Henry Ford Health System





Dr. Laura Forese,

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, NewYork-Presbyterian



Tina Freese Decker,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Spectrum Health




Audrey Gregory,

President and Chief Executive Officer, AdventHealth, Central Florida Division-North Region




Diane Hansen,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Palomar Health




Catherine Jacobson,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Froedtert Health



Laura Kaiser,

President and Chief Executive Officer, SSM Health



Kim Keck,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association



Cheryl Lulias,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Medical Home Network





Dr. Tammy Lundstrom,

Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Trinity Health



Rosanna Morris,

Chief Operating Officer, MD Anderson Cancer Center




Sammie Mosier,

Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, HCA Healthcare



Dr. Janice Nevin,

President and Chief Executive Officer, ChristianaCare Health System
| View the Diversity Resource Library  



Dr. Cheryl Pegus,

Executive Vice President of Health & Wellness, Walmart



Mary Pittman,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Public Health Institute



Deborah Rice-Johnson,

Chief Executive Officer of Diversified Businesses and Chief Growth Officer, Highmark Health




Melinda Richter,

Global Head, JLABS, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Johnson & Johnson




Kara Trott,

Founder and former Chief Executive Officer, Quantum Health



Deborah Visconi,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center



Phoebe Yang,

General Manager of Healthcare, Amazon Web Services

| View the Diversity Resource Library  



2021 Luminaries 




Cynthia Hundorfean,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Allegheny Health Network



Janet Liang,

Executive Vice President, Group President and Chief Operating Officer, Care Delivery, Kaiser Permanente



Candice Saunders,

President and Chief Executive Officer, WellStar Health System



Dr. Susan Turney,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Marshfield Clinic Health System



Ruth Williams-Brinkley,

President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States



2021 Women Leaders to Watch 

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




Lymaris Albors,

Chief Executive Officer, Acacia Network



Nancy Batista-Rodriguez,

Chief Executive Officer of Baptist Outpatient Services, Baptist Health South Florida



Stacia Cohen,

Executive Vice President of Health Services, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield



Karen Fisher,

Chief Public Policy Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges

| View the Diversity Resource Library  


Deborah Gordon,

Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Legal Officer, Memorial Hermann Health System



Kelly Nierstedt,

Senior Vice President, Orlando Health

President, Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies



Wylecia Wiggs Harris,

Chief Executive Officer, American Health Information Management Association



Sylvia Young,

President and Chief Executive Officer, HealthONE, HCA Healthcare's Continental Division



Dr. YiDing Yu,

Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Olive



Caitlin Zulla,

Chief Executive Officer, Surgical Care Affiliates

| View the Diversity Resource Library  


For more information, click here.

The Top Diversity Leaders Healthcare — 2021

By | September 20 th,  2021 | Modern Healthcare, Blog, diversity, Top Diversity Leaders, Top Diversity Leaders in Healthcare | Add A Comment




Furst Group and NuBrick Partners are proud to sponsor and support the Top Diversity Leaders in Healthcare, the awards program created by Modern Healthcare. This is our 13th year of sponsoring the program, which culminates in an awards gala that will be hosted at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago, IL on December 9, 2021.


Please click here to read our recent article, “The spaces in between: Moving DE&I beyond the status quo,” and check out our Diversity Resource Library.


2021 Top Diversity Leaders in Healthcare 



Brenda Battle,

Senior Vice President, Community Health Transformation, Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer, UChicago Medicine

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Rosalyn Carpenter,

SVP and Chief Diversity Officer, CommonSpirit Health



Maxine Carrington,

Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Northwell Health



Dr. Bechara Choucair,

Vaccinations Coordinator, Biden administration



Dr. Ronald Copeland, MD,

SVP, Chief Equity, Inclusion, & Diversity Officer, Kaiser Permanente



Pete Delgado,

President/Chief Executive Officer, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System





Dr. Amar Desai,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Optum Pacific West



Delvecchio S. Finley,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Atrium Health Navicent



Eric C. Hunter,

Chief Executive Officer and President, CareOregon



Dr. Edward S. Kim, MD,

Physician-in-Chief, City of Hope Orange County, Vice Physician-in-Chief, City of Hope National Medical Center/City of Hope Orange County

Dr. Margaret-Larkins-Pettigrew_WEB


Dr. Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew,

Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health



Dr. Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH,

Chief Health Equity Officer and Senior Vice President, AMA



Dr. Rhonda Medows, MD, FAAFP,

President of Population Health Management for Providence and Chief Executive Officer of Ayin, Providence / Ayin

Dr. Yavar-Moghimi_WEB


Dr. Yavar Moghimi,

Chief Psychiatric Medical Officer, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia, AmeriHealth Caritas



Dr. Kazuma-Nakagawa_WEB


Dr. Kazuma Nakagawa, MD, FAAN, FAHA,

Medical Director, Neuroscience Institute, The Queen's Health Systems



Dr. Pam Oliver, MD,

Executive Vice President, Novant Health and President, Novant Health Physician Network



Marvin O'Quinn,

President/COO, CommonSpirit Health



Ann-Gel Palermo, DrPH, MPH,

Senior Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Chief of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Education and Research, Mount Sinai Health System
| View the Diversity Resource Library  
Dr. Richard-Park_WEB


Dr. Richard Park,

Founder, CityMD, and Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rendr Care



Jason Purnell,

Vice President, Community Health Improvement, BJC HealthCare



Dr. Jaewon Ryu,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Geisinger Health




Nicholas Tejeda,

Group Chief Executive Officer, The Hospitals of Providence




Manika Turnbull, PhD,

Divisional Senior Vice President, Compensation, DEI, and Workforce Experience, Health Care Service Corporation



Dr. Melissa Welch,

Chief Medical Officer, InnovAge

Dr. Fran-Witt-MH-Photo_WEB


Dr. Fran Witt,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Effingham Health System

| View the Diversity Resource Library  



2021 Luminaries 




Greg Adams,

Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals



Dr. Georges Benjamin,

Executive Director, American Public Health Association



Dr. Tejal Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS,

Chief Safety and Transformation Officer, Press Ganey Associates




Dr. Bruce Siegel,

President and Chief Executive Officer, America's Essential Hospitals



2021 Women Leaders to Watch 

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




George Aloth,

President and Chief Executive Officer, CareFirst BCBS Community Health Plan District of Columbia



Cindy Bo,

Senior Vice President, Delaware Strategy, & Business Development, Nemours Children's Health



Dr. Olaoluwa Fayanju,

Regional Medical Director, Oak Street Health



Jackie Hunter, DC, MHA,

Senior Director, Diversity, Inclusion, and Talent Pipeline, Banner Health

| View the Diversity Resource Library  


Dr. Olugbenga Ogedegbe,

Director, Institute for Excellence in Health Equity, NYU Langone Health



Trina Parks, MHA, FACHE,

Executive Vice President, Chief Corporate Diversity and Inclusion Officer, RWJBarnabas Health



Avonia Richardson-Miller, EdD,

Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Hackensack Meridian Health



Dr. Tracey Veal,

Fellow, Covid19 Collaboration, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health



Dr. Charles Vega,

Associate Dean, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, University of California, Irvine Medical School



Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE,

Chief Executive Officer, AHIMA

| View the Diversity Resource Library  


For more information, click here.

Managing Stress: Four Key Strategies for Leaders

By | July 7 th,  2021 | executive leadership, leadership traits | Add A Comment



Our lives are undoubtedly busier and more stressful, the result of tremendous uncertainty in our world today. Leaders generate a high degree of emotional and physical stress that leaves them exhausted. However, for leaders to be most effective, they must not only be able to recognize and manage their own stress but be compassionate to the stress of their team as well.

The importance of managing one’s own stress reactions is often overlooked in our fast-paced world, but it must be a priority if you want to excel as an effective leader. Here are five key strategies for leaders that can help manage this stress:


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Looking for more?
Our article from
Wharton Healthcare Quarterly explores how empathy is perhaps the most powerful tool a leader has during these dynamic times. Download a copy here.


Identify Stressor Reactions


Stress is often triggered by emotional responses. The limbic brain, which interprets crisis from an angry insult, for example, responds similarly to how ancient people reacted to fear of being chased by a predator.


This response often reveals hidden personality traits that can negatively impact interpersonal communication. Identifying the source of stress and recognizing when these triggers are present is key to managing one's own response.


When faced with stress, the brain's most basic survival needs can get triggered. First we assess the threat and then, if necessary, react with appropriate physical response: Flight, Fight, or Freeze. While these reactions were necessary for survival in more primitive times, they are not conducive to creating a modern work environment that aims to promote teamwork and foster camaraderie.


Being adept at recognizing these reactions and how they present in our modern day-to-day interactions allows leaders to increase their emotional intelligence and effectiveness as a leader.

  • Flight response is characterized by the need to avoid confrontation and often leaves an individual feeling drained, depleted, disinterested in work or other activities. A person displaying this type of reaction will withdraw from their interactions with others as a means of self-protection. This withdrawal can lead to isolation which may be manifested through substance abuse, lack of energy for work tasks, or reduced productivity levels.

  • Fight response is demonstrated through aggression and anger that typically leads to aggressive communication styles such as sarcasm, passive aggressiveness or overt hostility directed at superiors or team members.

  • Freeze response is characterized by a lack of response to stimuli and may be seen in cases where an individual feels overwhelmed. The freeze response is often accompanied by feelings of fear or helplessness.

Left unchecked, the flight, fight, and freeze responses can have significant negative consequences on the individual’s wellbeing and have a negative impact on team culture. It is imperative for leaders to check in with team members to connect and communicate on a regular basis, but during challenging or chaotic times on a more frequent cadence.


Create time and space to recharge


During check-in meetings, leaders should start by acknowledging their own stress levels and then open the discussion to others. They should also provide opportunities for team members to interact with each other on non-work-related topics, which creates deeper interpersonal connections and lowers job anxiety. Additionally, leaders should encourage themselves and their teams to take the time and space to recharge and avoid fatigue.


Building community among team members will lead to resilience. When people are honest and transparent with one another, it creates a vulnerability which builds relationships that offer closeness throughout the recovery process.


Cultivate Psychological Safety


It is important that leaders create an environment that values candor, vulnerability and authenticity in relationships. As you meet with others or work with your team, approachability should be something to consider. It is equally important for leaders to evaluate their own behaviors and moods while inviting trusted advisors into the process as well.


Leaders must be willing to take on tough conversations with a level of empathy, recognizing that it is not easy for others. Creating an environment where people feel safe will help them remain engaged in conflict-promoting discussions that lead to more creative problem solving and accelerates team performance.


Leaders should also create time and space for themselves to recharge and find ways to deal with their own stress the best they can. Pursue active stress relieving activities such as exercise, yoga or meditation and create on-the-job strategies to decrease work pressures.


Demonstrate Empathy


A leader needs to have the courage to acknowledge emotions rather than avoid them. One of the most powerful tools a leader can deploy is to simply listen and validate the experiences of others. “Name it to tame it,” is a phrase coined by author and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel that best describes why empathy is so impactful.


You can't manage your team unless you are managing yourself first. The key to success is understanding and recognizing the emotional toll that stress takes on us as well as being aware of our own physiological responses in stressful situations. Be attentive to the needs of your team by creating an environment that values candor where employees feel safe enough to share their thoughts openly without fear of repercussions or judgment. In a culture where people feel like they have voice and worth, it's easier for them to be resilient when faced with challenges because they know their opinions matter. Stress reactions will still happen but these steps can help minimize them so you can maintain composure while leading others through tough change.

The Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare — 2021

By | February 15 th,  2021 | Modern Healthcare, Blog, diversity, Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare | Add A Comment




Furst Group and NuBrick Partners are proud to sponsor the Top 25 Women Leaders, the awards program created by Modern Healthcare. This is our 13th year of sponsoring the program, which culminates in an awards gala that will be hosted virtually on July 23, 2021 in conjunction with the Women Leaders in Healthcare Conference (July 22-23, 2021).


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


2021 Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare 



Dr. Marjorie Bessel,

Chief Clinical Officer, Banner Health



Tanya Blackmon,

Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer, Novant Health



Odette Bolano,

President and CEO, Saint Alphonsus Health System



Mary Boosalis,

President and CEO, Premier Health

Bonnie Castillo


Bonnie Castillo,

Executive Director,  National Nurses United

Dr. Priscilla Chan


Dr. Priscilla Chan,

Co-founder, Co-CEO, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

| View the Diversity Resource Library  
Marcy Doderer


Marcy Doderer,

President and CEO, Arkansas Children’s

Dr. Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee


Dr. Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee,

Senior Vice President and Chief Community Impact Officer, Ascension

Dr. Laura Forese


Dr. Laura Forese,

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, New York-Presbyterian


Tina Freese Decker


Tina Freese Decker,

President and CEO, Spectrum Health


Angela Hwang


Angela Hwang,

Group President, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group

Catherine Jacobson


Catherine Jacobson,

President and CEO, Froedtert Health

Laura Kaiser


Laura Kaiser,

President and CEO, SSM Health Care


Read past profiles:

Laura Kaiser of SSM Health brings courage, conviction to questions around healthcare's future

Karen Lynch


Karen Lynch,

President and CEO, CVS Health


Read past profiles:

Diversity fuels Karen Lynch’s leadership at Aetna

Anne McCune


Anne McMune,

CEO,Carol Emmott Foundation

Dr. Rhonda Medows-1


Rhonda Medows,

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

Mikelle Moore


Mikelle Moore,

Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer,  Intermountain Healthcare

| View the Diversity Resource Library  
Amy Perry


Amy Perry,

CEO, Hospital Division, Atlantic Health System

Mary Pittman


Mary Pittman,

President and CEO,Public Health Institute

Dr. Joanne Smith


Dr. Joanne Smith,

President and CEO, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Dr. Susan Turney


Dr. Susan Turney,

CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System

Deborah Visconi


Deborah Visconi,

President and CEO, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center

Heather Wall


Heather Wall,

Chief Commercial Officer, Civica Rx

 Kate Walsh


Kate Walsh,

CEO,Boston Medical Center

Pat Wang


Pat Wang,

President and CEO, Healthfirst



2021 Luminaries 


Gail Boudreaux


Gail Boudreaux,

President and CEO, Anthem

Screen Shot 2021-02-15 at 10.43.28 AM


Dr. Laurie Glimcher,

President and CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Nancy Howell Agee


Nancy Howell Agee,

President and CEO, Carilion Clinic


Read past profiles:

Sticking your neck out: Servant leadership in practice

Nancy Howell Agee and her team help rejuvenate a region with Carilion’s success

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

 Dr. Penny Wheeler


Dr. Penny Wheeler,

CEO, Allina Health


Read past profiles:

Even in value-based care, leaders of varying backgrounds can thrive




2021 Women Leaders to Watch 

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


Dr. Mary Jo Cagle


Dr. Mary Jo Cagle,

Chief Operating Officer, Cone Health

Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips


Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips,

Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Providence

Kizzmekia Corbett


Kizzmekia Corbett,

Research Fellow, National Institutes of Health

Patricia McClimon


Patricia McClimon,

Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Nationwide Children's Hospital

| View the Diversity Resource Library  
Kristin Myers


Kristin Myers,

Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Mount Sinai Health System

Dr. Claire Raab


Dr. Claire Rabb,

Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Temple University Health System

Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez


Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez,

Senior Vice President, Community and Population Health, Northwell Health

Roberta Schwartz


Roberta Schwartz,

Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, CEO/Houston Methodist Hospital

Dr. Lacy Smith


Dr. Lacy Smith,

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Medical Officer, Cahaba Medical Care

Devon Valencia


Devon Valencia,

Chief Information Officer, CareSource

| View the Diversity Resource Library  


For more information, click here.

Creating a Roadmap to accelerated team performance

By | January 5 th,  2021 | Lean leadership | 2 Comments



Team alignment and performance can make or break your success as a leader. Linked to everything you aim to achieve, team performance proves to be one of the most elusive challenges to decode.


Since team effectiveness isn’t episodic or based on a particular event it can be overwhelming to approach. It’s similar to getting in shape. You don’t go to the gym and expect to be in shape within a day or even a week – this would just leave you overworked and sore. The same is true of becoming a high performing team – it’s a process that takes courageous effort.


Map out the journey to accelerated team performance by asking three simple questions ...


1 Where are you now?


Understanding the current state of your team and its culture can be challenging. If you have been on the team for some time, you probably have existing views and knowledge of your specific team dynamic and skill sets, as well as a good idea of the broader company talent and its culture. If you’re new to the team or the organization, you may have a high-level understanding of these things, but, in either situation, you probably don’t have the full picture.


Step back and take the time to listen, observe, and understand the big picture before making long-term, strategic plans. Your plans must consider:

  • Organizational objectives and goals
  • Culture from both macro (organization as a whole) and micro
    (your team’s unique culture and how it fits into the broader one)
  • Team effectiveness, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
  • Individual team member gaps and expertise

Cutting through bias and organizational baggage can make it difficult to get to the truth. It’s best to start with performance data first. Then, schedule time to talk with key stakeholders from various departments that interact with your team often. Listen for the stories that can help you get to the heart of your team’s challenges and help make clear the reality of expectations others throughout the company have for your team’s performance.


Once you feel you have a good grasp on this, schedule a time to meet with each of your team members individually to know them a bit better. What motivates them? How do they define their strengths? What do they identify as their areas for development?


Then, bring them together as a team. Provide opportunities for them to bond and deepen their understanding of one another.


Research has shown that teams with a sense of identity and purpose have a stronger sense of psychological safety, which allows them to outperform teams that lack empathy and safety. Consider adding a layer of science to your process by introducing assessments like the Hogan Assessment, Myer’s Briggs, or DiSC to provide additional insights on how individuals behave under stress, how they prefer to communicate, and how you can empower the team to work more effectively together.


2 Where do you need to be?


Armed with your new knowledge, you can develop a roadmap for executing on the goals you have put in place. It’s imperative to link your vision for supporting organizational goals with your strategy for execution so that your team members can easily connect it to their daily objectives. This allows them the latitude and knowledge to make sound decisions and take calculated risks.


But before they can take action, you’ll need to outline the challenges, gaps, and strengths your team will encounter during execution of the plan. Consider the following possible approaches to aligning your team around your vision:

  • Clarify or reconfigure roles to leverage strengths
  • Add a new role to fill gaps and/or free up time for existing team members to shift their focus
  • Design stretch assignments for those that need more exposure
  • Outline and set completion goals for any development that’s needed

Setting expectations and clarifying roles will enhance your team’s sense of purpose and ultimately affect their ability to increase their performance. Now, you can set your sights on the future.


3 How will we get there?


With goals and execution strategy set, as well as role clarity and development plans in place, the final step is to create a roadmap for how the team will work together. Start by having a team discussion about how you will work differently together a year from now. Ask questions like:

  • What will team meetings look like?
  • How will we leverage differently our strengths?
  • What will success look like?
  • What challenges to achieving our goals do we foresee?
  • How will we overcome them?

Then, work together to define your rules of engagement and your core purpose. Also, decide how you will measure success. It’s best to create goals that have objective metrics attached, otherwise you may find it tough to determine what worked and what didn’t. Be sure to set a cadence for checking in on your goals. Creating milestones as part of your roadmap will give you ample time to adjust course and amp up in any areas that are lagging behind.


Your team’s performance will benefit from consistent updates to the roadmap and keep everyone on track. Many things create speed bumps, which will slow your process, but if you have the psychological safety to be vulnerable and work as a team you will easily maneuver through to success.

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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.

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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.”


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