4 questions with Steve Weiner, president of Steve Weiner Search Group

Steve Weiner is a trusted advisor to many of today's healthcare leaders and offers a unique perspective on the ever-changing healthcare industry.

Mr. Weiner spent 20 years serving in healthcare leadership positions before creating his executive search firm in 1996. Specifically, Mr. Weiner held roles as executive vice 

steve weinerpresident/COO at St. Mary's Hospital in Jefferson City, Mo., part of SSM Health, associate vice president at Seton Medical Center in San Francisco, formerly an affiliate of Daughters of Charity, and assistant administrator of both Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Sacramento and Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif., part of Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA.

He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Healthcare Administration from Ithaca (N.Y.) College and graduated from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., with a Master of Arts in Health Services Administration. Previously, he served as the vice chairman of the board of directors of GW's Master Degree Program in Health Services Management and Leadership. Additionally, Mr. Weiner taught at the University of San Francisco in its Master of Public Administration/Health Services Program.

Here, Mr. Weiner took the time to answer Becker's four questions.

Question: As President of a successful healthcare executive search firm, how have your previous experiences made you more effective in seeking out top talent?

Steve Weiner: Early in my career, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work in various types of hospital and healthcare organizations. Having had exposure to acute care, nonprofit, for-profit, academic teaching, faith-based, integrated delivery systems, HMO and post-acute care, I am able to effectively recruit and evaluate candidates and their fit within these sectors. These diverse healthcare systems valued employee and physician engagement, ways to build a collaborative culture, drive quality, grow business and achieve strong results. My experiences helped carve my firm's niche of matching prospective candidates and their skill sets to the needs of an organization. 

Q: With all of the changes in healthcare today, how does your company continue to stay ahead of the game?

SW: This is certainly a challenge. We work hard every day to network with industry thought leaders to stay current and anticipate future innovations. In the 21 years using our software system, we have developed an extensive database of top performing candidates and companies. This database is constantly being updated by our research team to keep our candidate pipeline full and ensure we stay abreast of healthcare market trends.

Q: Given your diversified background and experiences, what advice would you give to up-and-coming healthcare leaders and those with longevity in the industry?

SW: One of my early mentors felt strongly in diversifying one's experiences and skill set by seeking out different opportunities along the healthcare continuum. Today, there are so many facets to the healthcare industry that were not present years ago. With the shift from volume to value and a growing emphasis on population health, leaders will need to focus on the well-being of patients and improving the health of their communities. While I advocate for having a broad skill set, due to the complexity of our healthcare system, becoming an expert in a particular area can bring even more value to an organization.

Those leaders with longevity still have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to offer. We often receive calls from individuals wanting to "throw in the towel." With all of today's demands, it is smart for organizations to tap into that wealth of experience and knowledge. There are also significant opportunities to serve on healthcare boards, teach, and assume interim C-suite positions.

Q: What motivates you day after day?

SW: I continue to get great satisfaction when we marry an outstanding candidate who fits perfectly with the organization's needs. When I hit that sweet spot, it often involves a good match not only for the candidate, but also for their families and the community. It is so rewarding when all of those factors align and everyone is absolutely thrilled. I take tremendous pride in that outcome. Also, after placing candidates, it is remarkably satisfying to have them turn back to us for assistance in recruiting for executive level positions within their new company.

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