What led you to join Leadership Health Care?
The idea for Leadership Health Care originated with a group of young (at that time) health care managers in Nashville who started meeting for pizza at the offices of Arcon Healthcare in 1997. The group started meeting every month or so for a general discussion of industry developments, what their company was doing, and what their role was.
While we certainly could not have predicted how health care delivery has evolved in the last 20 years, we had a pretty good sense that things would be more difficult. We figured out that a significant part of the industry growth in the 1970s and 1980s had been enabled by HCFA’s cost-plus reimbursement model, and we knew that our generation would not benefit from that sort of reimbursement formulas.
We also had the general sense that there was an opportunity to work together to benefit Nashville-based businesses instead of letting business opportunities “escape” to Atlanta or Chicago or Dallas. As a result, we always spent a little time discussing ways we could send each other business.
Given our youth and lack of experience at that time, we pretty quickly ran out of things to discuss, so we started asking more senior executives to join and share their experiences with our group. After Arcon ceased operations, a couple of people left the industry, if briefly, and we stopped getting together on a regular basis, though we remained in touch.
At some point in that period, Debra Asay heard what we were doing and asked me to join her and Matt Gallivan for lunch. In sharing what the group was doing, we started discussing how the younger generation of managers/future executives needed guidance on how to grow an idea to a public company from a 360 degree perspective. Out of that meeting came the idea for the Nashville Health Care Council’s “Garage to Wall Street” series around the turn of the century.
I think that Caroline Young called me about helping launch Leadership Health Care in 2001, and I immediately agreed to help.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a member of Leadership Health Care?
To me, the most rewarding part has been to see how impactful and enduring LHC has proved to be. From the early meetings about LHC, I think that we knew there was a need, but I did not know how deeply that need was felt. It never occurred to me that the original group of 20-25 people would grow into 1,000 strong.
What is your favorite thing about Nashville?
The music business; especially the songwriters and the creative vibe that spills over into the rest of the city.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have read is from the prophet Micah: to act justly, love kindness, walk humbly. I know that I fail to meet that standard daily, but it is my goal.
The best advice I have received is from Hud Connery, who challenged me at a breakfast at the Pancake Pantry in February 2000 to make career choices based on being passionate about the idea, not the economics of the offer. I am pretty sure that I have followed his advice, and to my financial detriment, but my experiences would fill a book.
What famous business person do you most admire and why?
Truett Cathy, Sr., the founder of Chick-Fil-A. In my experience, almost every leader means well, and most of them have values that they espouse, but very few have ever lived their values as publicly and consistently as Mr. Cathy.
As you think about the future of the health care industry, what is most motivating to you?
Like almost everyone I know in the industry, I have some very personal stories that motivate me. More generally, what motivates me is a belief that, for future generations, a person’s health status will be the number one determinant of their wealth – people who have their health will have the chance to create wealth over their life, while people in poor health will likely be impoverished. That shouldn’t be the case, and I don’t believe that it has to be.