Health care has been my passion and focus throughout my career. I’ve held senior leadership roles since the age of 23 when I went from a staff nurse to the vice president for patient services at a rural hospital. From there, I’ve led several organizations with the goal of innovating and creating a conscious health care system.
My most recent CEO role was with RI Quality Institute, an integrated clinical information system organization that I founded to transform the health care exchange process. During my tenure, the organization took off and we were able to achieve tremendous success. I credit much of this success to Vistage, which has challenged, supported and pushed me to grow in ways I never imagined.
Prior to joining Vistage, my business had started to plateau. At this time, I didn’t feel like I had anyone to trust or turn to for the level of business challenges we were experiencing. When it came down to it, no one truly understood what I was going through or was willing/ able to provide the guidance that I really needed.
Around this time, I attended a business dinner to accept an award. There, I overhead a group of individuals raving about their company. I admittedly thought, "I bet my employees aren't saying the same things about my company." Over the course of the evening, I was introduced to one of the members raving about their business — a Vistage member named Mark Correia. We exchanged information and I contacted him the next day.
On the call, I asked Mark to spill his secrets. He simply replied, "I'm in this thing called Vistage.” He explained that Vistage is an exclusive CEO membership organization, and he thought I’d be a good candidate. Mark introduced me to his Vistage Chair, Scott Thurber. After sharing my current business situation, challenges, and professional needs with Scott, he explained how Vistage works. I immediately thought, “This is exactly what I need.”
During my first Vistage group meeting, I remember thinking that I had never been in a room with so many successful CEOs willing to be open, vulnerable and accountable. I quickly learned that Scott and the members of my group were there to support, challenge, point out blind-spots, and help me develop as a leader.
As a CEO, I’ve never experienced anything like Vistage. Each member of our group is willing to share insights and learnings to help everyone else become better. You get to know each other, you commit to each other, and you quickly realize that the bond with your fellow group members is invaluable.
Five years into my Vistage membership, I still look forward to my Vistage group meetings and my one-on-ones with Scott.
Scott is a master at helping me to dive deeper, to explore further and to consider things I hadn’t considered before. He has an uncanny ability to help me clearly see what I have been missing and provides motivation when I can’t seem to summon it within myself.
In addition to my professional growth, Vistage has also integral to my personal development. A few years ago when I was having a difficult time with my board, my group helped me see that I’m not solely defined by my organization, by my title or by my position and if it all went away tomorrow, it will not be the be-all, end-all of my life or career. This was truly an ‘a-ha’ for me — I don’t know what I would have done without the support of Scott and my group at this time.
I look at my career since joining Vistage and I can’t help but see a great track record of success. During my tenure as CEO at RI Quality Institute, we received numerous awards, including “Best Places to Work” and “Fast Growing and Innovative Company” and were awarded more than $15 million in grants. As CEO, I was also honored as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Health IT.”
I am grateful to have had my Vistage group and Scott supporting and encouraging me throughout this journey.