It’s been seven months since I started my next life chapter. In January, I Ieft my position as CIO of the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers to begin a more independent and flexible path. I wanted to be able to live near my family and work less than full-time over the course of a year. The first page of this chapter has been to serve as interim CIO at University Hospitals in Cleveland. I had just one weekend between finishing up in Michigan and starting in Cleveland. CIO positions are more than full-time but I knew that when we hired a permanent CIO, there would be time for me to get a break.
This week, the new permanent CIO at University Hospitals was named. Joy Grosser will be joining UH on September 12th. I am confident she is a great match for us. She is very accomplished, and has significant experience in other large health care organizations. She most recently served as Vice President and Chief Information Officer at UnityPoint Health in West Des Moines, Iowa, a 17 hospital health system. I have agreed to stay for several weeks past Joy’s arrival to orient her and to ensure a smooth transition.
For me, this engagement has been a terrific opportunity to work in a very strong organization with an excellent team. Much can be accomplished in a short time and our IT team proves that. They have been wonderful to work with and I will miss them.
For this final stage of my interim engagement, I will focus on two things. One is to keep everything moving including a host of projects and the day to day issue escalation. The second is to prepare a transition plan and do the turnover. I will be stepping back and letting Joy take the front seat come September 12th. I’ll be there to support her.
A new position means drinking from a firehose. I’ll work with my team to pull together the key documents she’ll need to review in the early weeks. They will include the obvious – organization charts, budget information, major projects, and current issues. Plus providing all the insight I can after 7+ months in the position myself.
You can’t come into an organization of this size and complexity at a senior leadership level and learn everything in a few weeks. It takes time to get up to speed, to get to know your team and to build the key relationships. I will try to make that initial entry as smooth as possible.
And in my spare time, I’ll have my own focus – networking to line up my “page 2” of this new chapter. This next page could include another interim CIO engagement, or a combination of leadership coaching and mentoring, advising new CIOs, consulting with provider organizations, or advising tech start-ups in the health care space.
As I have advised many over the years, you need to own your own career and be open to the possibilities. I’m excited for what may be next!
Once I turn the page and say goodbye to my UH team and colleagues, I’ll be taking some time off for vacation and to get settled in our new house. We have sold our house in Ann Arbor, Michigan and moved to the Providence, Rhode Island area. We now live near some beautiful New England beaches and less than an hour from all 4 of our grandchildren – all part of the master plan.