I was running late in wrapping up a meeting before my next one. I was meeting with a young IT staff member whose manager had encouraged him to get time on my calendar for career advice. We had a great half hour chat about his future goals. I introduced him to the next person patiently waiting to meet with me – the manager for telehealth – a young man who was relatively new to his position. I figured they should know each other.
The telehealth manager walked into my office after the intro and said “So you’re shaping young minds”. “Absolutely!” I replied.
I have adult children and so I realize how valuable this type of access and advice can be. I saw some of the challenges my daughters faced when they graduated from college and started to navigate and grow their careers. I asked myself, “why not be available to their generation?” After all, each of us can probably remember someone who helped us early in our careers. So I concluded it was time for me to give back; I made a commitment to help develop the next generation of leaders.
Even though I have had a full schedule as a CIO, I have been willing to take short calls and meetings with anyone who wants to talk about their career and get advice from me. They may be staff members in my IT department or in other departments. They may be students who work in my organization and need to interview the CIO for a class assignment. Or they may be someone to whom a colleague has suggested that I’d be a good person to meet. Many such referrals are for young women who want to learn from me as a female executive in IT. There aren’t that many of us yet in health IT but the numbers are definitely going in the right direction. Continue reading
A year ago, I suggested to my husband that I would consider doing a series of interim CIO engagements. He is a retired minister and does a lot of volunteer projects for the denomination and ministers association – all from his home office. So he was supportive. His view was we’ll just have an adventure in a new city. We’d bring the dogs with, stay in an apartment and go home to check on our house once a month. That was a great working assumption.
The first interim opportunity was at University Hospitals in Cleveland, which was a great location to start this plan! It’s just a short 3-hour drive from our home in Ann Arbor. But then we relocated from Michigan to Rhode Island in order to be near family so things didn’t work out quite as we planned. There was way too much work in Michigan to sell and move out of our house; on the other end way too much work to find a house and move into it. So I’ve spent many weeks in Cleveland on my own without my soulmate to have those new city adventures with.
But in the past 8 months, we got to know Cleveland as best we could and it’s truly been a fun adventure! Some of the highlights to pass on to our new CIO who has relocated to Cleveland from Iowa and anyone planning to visit: Continue reading
“Hi short timer”, “So you’re winding down”, “What’s next?” These are just some of the comments and questions I am getting from people I run into at work these days. Some add congratulations and that it will be nice for me to see my grandkids more.
If you’ve kept up on my recent posts, you know that I’m in the final weeks of my interim CIO engagement at University Hospitals in Cleveland. The transition to the new permanent CIO started this week.
I only once left a job and organization without knowing what was next. I followed my newly ordained minister husband to a church in central Massachusetts 17 years ago. We moved from Dallas and I went into the job search and was hired as the CIO at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Now, I don’t have a firm “what’s next” beyond a much needed break, a couple of coaching engagements, and a number of leads for more interim work. And that’s OK. The idea of this next chapter I started in January was to have more flexibility and work less than full time over the course of the year. As I’ve encouraged others in the past, I am “open to the possibilities”.
In my last two CIO positions, the turnover and transition were to internal interims. I needed to provide key information they needed while recognizing that they already knew the organizations and its history. Here in Cleveland, I’m leaving an interim position after 8 months and onboarding a CIO from outside the organization. Continue reading
I was fortunate to work with an excellent executive coach several years ago. He helped me gain new insight into who I am and how I lead. I am a much better leader as a result of our year-long work together. And I periodically reconnect with him now to bounce around ideas when going through major transitions.
Deciding to work with a coach can be unsettling.
I told myself, “sure there are things on my performance evaluation I could work on but mostly I’m fine and don’t need any help; after all no one is perfect”.
And I also told myself, “ok, I admit I could use some help but how much do I really have to expose and what will people think if they know I’m using a coach”.
So yes, I had those kinds of thoughts when I started and expect you might as well.
But my coach put me at ease. He got to know me and started helping me look critically at my leadership style and areas I needed to improve. He was not there to judge me or make me feel inadequate. He took me where I was at.
A good coach doesn’t have all the answers but knows how to ask the right questions. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
“You need to go beyond puppies and rainbows”. That’s the advice this week from a search firm expert. I’m part of the search committee for the new president of a non-profit organization where I am a board member. The search expert was telling us to go deeper in our questioning. Get past the fluff and canned responses. He said it’s ok to make candidates uncomfortable.
I’ve done a lot of hiring in my management career for direct reports. And I’ve been on search committees for executive positions. I’ve also been on the other side of the search process being interviewed for CIO positions.
You review resumes, you listen to the search firm’s summary comments on each candidate, and then you finally meet the candidates in the first round of interviews. It’s a process. And you only have an hour or so to get to know each person.
What you see on paper are the qualifications. In the interview you get to know the person. I said in one of my first blog posts, hiring the right people is one of the most important decisions managers make. For executive positions, the process is more rigorous with more people involved. After all there is much more at stake when you are choosing one of the top executives.
You are all working off the same position description and the organization’s mission and strategy. Yet search committee members come to the process with different perspectives. Continue reading
No more hitting it, or even breaking it – let’s shatter it!
I’ve been vocal in urging more women to pursue technology careers and in supporting women as they face challenges moving up the ladder.
HIMSS16 attendees can focus on many topics this year. I will be pursuing my passion for developing the next generation of leaders, especially helping women deal with barriers they face as we try to level the playing field.
I’m happy to be a voice for women – but I’m not alone.
- On Tuesday at 10AM at the HIMSS Spot, the annual #healthITchicks meetup is happening. I’ll be one of the guest speakers along with Rebecca Freeman, Chief Nursing Officer at ONC and Dana Sellers, CEO at Encore. Jennifer Dennard, #healthITchicks founder, organizes monthly TweetChats on a range of topics as well as this annual meetup at HIMSS. Join us for some interesting Q&A and networking!
- On Wednesday at 2PM, I will be one of two female executives speaking at the Views from the Top Session – “Shattering the Glass Ceiling – Lessons Learned for Aspiring Female Executives”. I’ll be joined by Deanna Wise, Chief Information Officer at Dignity Health. Carla Smith, EVP at HIMSS will be the moderator. A similar session last year was a big hit with a large crowd so let’s make this year even bigger and better! Kate Gamble with HealthSystemCIO.com wrote an excellent preview of the session this week.
- And in a two hour closed session on Monday morning, I will be one of six executive women that Carla has pulled together for a Women in HIT roundtable session. More than 900 women responded to a recent HIMSS / Healthcare IT News survey on the women’s professional needs in the health IT field. According to Carla, those responding overwhelmingly wanted more recognition of female leaders, and more gender-focused resources that support networking, mentoring, and educational and career opportunities. She hopes that the roundtable will give HIMSS valuable input towards developing a year-round, comprehensive, and meaningful program to empower women, and to nurture the next generation of women leaders.
Chris Greene Hutchings is staff specialist in the Office of the CIO. We have worked together closely during my tenure at UMHS. With my pending departure, Chris asked to be guest blogger this week.
When the leader you report to announces she is leaving, a parade of emotions marches through your life.
The first is denial. “NO! She can’t leave, because we need to. . .”
Then it’s the blues. “What does this mean for me?”
And ultimately, acceptance. “We did some good work, didn’t we?”
It’s a bittersweet feeling because it’s the first time you stop to look back and see how far you have come together. And you realize you didn’t take enough time to celebrate the successes, or appreciate the good along the way.
Our CIO, Sue, is starting the next chapter in her professional life. As I look back, I see how much our organization has changed. Continue reading
You need to own your own career and be open to the possibilities – this is the advice I have often given others over the years. It applies whether you are early, mid or late career.
I announced my resignation as CIO at the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers this week. As you can tell from my profile, with 30 plus years in HIT management, I’m neither early nor mid-career.
I have considered for some time what I want my next chapter to be, in both my professional and personal life. I want to live close to my daughters and grandchildren in New England so I can spend more time with them. I want more flexibility in my work with the potential to work less than full-time over the course of a year, and I want to do work I really enjoy.
I’ve decided that this means a mix of consulting, coaching, and interim management work. The first opportunity to start a new chapter has presented itself so I’ve decided it’s time to make the change. Continue reading
I am committed to developing the next generation of leaders. I also give generously to non-profits that I care about. This week, those two passions converged.
I hosted a “lunch and learn” with five women from Cisco. Jay Roberts, director operations sales, has been a strong supporter of Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT), like many leaders in technology companies. At the annual MCWT gala fundraiser in October, I donated a “lunch and learn” session. I offered to meet with four women over lunch to have an open discussion on women’s leadership issues. Jay bid it up until he had no more competition. He then went back to Cisco and recommended a group of women to participate.
The women who lunched with me all currently work in the sales division for this technology company. They have different backgrounds in terms of college experience, technology education, and family history. They shared their stories and challenges with me. I asked each of them what they wanted to get out of our two hours together. After all, they all had plenty of work to do back at the office.
They wanted to talk about: work life balance and making time for self; how to lead with assertiveness and compassion yet not mother staff; common mistakes women leaders make; and where best to focus their volunteer energy.