2 words keep Gillette Children's CEO Barbara Joers motivated

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Barbara Walczyk Joers, president and CEO of Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minn.   

At Becker's Hospital Review 7th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable, Ms. Joers will speak on a panel titled "How to Thrive in Times of Changing Reimbursement — Observations, Thoughts and Methods," at 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13. She will also give a presentation titled "Rare and Orphan Drugs: Stop Excessive Pricing and Impact on Children with Uncommon and Complex Conditions" at 2:55 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: What keeps you excited and motivated to come to work each day?

Barbara Joers: Two words sum it up: potential realized. I'm fortunate to work at a specialty hospital that focuses on the unique goals of each individual patient; and we have extended that meaning to include the goals of our deeply committed staff by way of training, education and development. We believe that our vision of "potential realized" applies to the entire community we serve.

Q: What major challenges, financial or otherwise, are affecting hospitals in the markets you serve? How is your hospital responding? 

BJ: The emphasis on "bigger is better," which our providers and families tell us is not their reality. We focus on a "plug and play" relationship with everyone who wants to improve care to the specific population we serve.

Q: What initially piqued your interest in healthcare?

BJ: As a child I spent a fair amount of time with my pediatrician and ENT specialists, including multiple surgical interventions. When I was five there was a particular situation that resulted in my ENT surgeon and I having a chat about "what goes on in a hospital."   It was in that conversation he suggested that I manage a hospital and do so with courage and conviction. From that point forward, I shared with family and schoolmates I would become a hospital administrator. 

Q: How can hospital executives and physicians ensure they're aligned around the same strategic goals?

BJ: Quite simply: One, base strategic goals on needs of those we serve, current and future. Two, don't be afraid to adapt; three, keep focused on your "true north" — for us, the care of children who have disabilities.

Q: What is one piece of professional advice you would give to your younger self?

BJ: Understand not just what you choose to do in your career, but why. Answering the why before the what makes integrating home and career commitments much easier throughout the years.

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