Corner Office: Why AdventHealth exec Daryl Tol reads articles he disagrees with

Daryl Tol became president and CEO of Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based AdventHealth's Central Florida division in 2015. Under his leadership, AdventHealth Orlando, the health system's flagship campus, was ranked the No. 1 hospital in Florida by U.S. News & World Report for 2019-20. AdventHealth also opened its Mission Control clinical command center at the health system's Orlando campus in August, as part of a partnership with GE Healthcare.

Mr. Tol brings about two decades of experience at AdventHealth to his role as CEO of the Central Florida division. Before taking the helm of the division, he was president and CEO of Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, now known as AdventHealth Daytona Beach. He also was president and CEO of Florida Hospital DeLand, now called AdventHealth DeLand, and COO of Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center. He earned a master's degree in health administration from Loma Linda (Calif.) University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Walla Walla University in College Place, Wash. 

Here, Mr. Tol answers Becker's Corner Office questions: 

Editor's note: Responses have been edited lightly for length and clarity.

Question: What piqued your interest in healthcare? 

Daryl Tol: I have great parents. My mom was a nurse, and my dad was a pastor. They emphasized working for a purpose, and I saw the life-changing (and saving) impact that could make. As a young adult, I shadowed and learned a lot from my now- father-in-law, who was a hospital administrator. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about Central Florida? 

DT: The people. Like myself, so many of our residents are from other states or countries, and together, we've built a beautiful community that celebrates diversity and encourages connection. Everyone is welcoming — from business leaders to neighbors. 

Most people associate Orlando with our theme parks and beaches (which are awesome), but there's so much more to Central Florida. We're building a diverse and innovative economy — from tourism to tech to healthcare. It's a fun place to live and work. And it's sunny!

Q: If you could eliminate one of the healthcare industry's problems overnight, which would it be?

DT: Fragmentation. We have built a system that is incredibly disconnected and the antithesis of consumer-friendly.

It took us many years to get to this point, and unfortunately there is not a quick fix. We're dedicating a tremendous amount of resources to redefining the consumer experience, but it's going to require everyone — from insurers to providers to health systems — to completely rethink the way we view and deliver healthcare.

Q: What is your greatest talent or skill outside of the C-suite?

DT: I enjoy writing and communicating with others, personally and professionally. Words — spoken or written — have the power to connect and inspire. But I've found they are activities that impact me the most.

Q: How do you revitalize yourself?

DT: Exercise, reading and traveling. I'm an over-the-top reader and think it's important to read a wide range of books and periodicals to stay informed. Books and articles that I don't personally agree with are some of my favorites, as they stretch the brain and force some empathy practice. I'll usually have four or five books going at a time. Favorite topics are spiritual, science, history or current events, and business or leadership.  

Q: What is one piece of advice that you remember most clearly?

DT: Put your heart and soul into the job you have. Don't continually scan the horizon for your next opportunity. Let the future develop naturally. 

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement at AdventHealth?

DT: I was recently asked to chair AdventHealth's "Engage the Consumer" imperative. It's been a significant team effort, and I'm so proud of the progress so far. It's exciting to help our organization focus on consumer promises that have the potential to be transformative.


More articles on leadership and management: 
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Kaiser Permanente sends coronavirus experts to Hawaii affiliate hospital battling cluster
Connecticut hospital CEO recovers from COVID-19, will donate plasma 

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