The changing face of leadership: perspectives from 88 healthcare executives

Becker's asked C-suite executives from hospitals and health systems across the U.S. to share their organization's areas of growth for the next few years. 

The 88 executives featured in this article are all speaking at the Becker's Healthcare 14th Annual Meeting on April 8-11, 2024, at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

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As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who will speak at our conference. The following are answers from our speakers at the event.

Question: Which types of leaders are quickly becoming the most essential to your organization?

Rob Allen. President and CEO of Intermountain Health (Salt Lake City): Mission driven leaders who can lead others through today's challenges while keeping mission at the core are essential to assure we solve problems in ways that are true to our purpose of serving our communities well. Also, leaders who can conceive new approaches and models of care create environments where caregivers can succeed in their roles in a world where there will be fewer hands to do the work due to workforce shortages. Leaders who are both visionary and inspiring enable caregivers to look to the future with both hope and purpose, remembering the passion that led them to healthcare as a career and seeing opportunity to pursue and fulfill that passion in our organization.

Sister Mary Haddad. President and CEO of Catholic Health Association (St. Louis): Given the pace of change in our environment today, leaders essential to our organization are those who can live with ambiguity, be bold in their thinking and acting, and are passionate about elevating human dignity and advancing the common good. 

Kevin B. Mahoney. CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (Philadelphia): 'We live in a rapidly changing world, where we need to spend as much time rethinking as we do thinking.' This is a quote from my colleague Dr. Adam Grant, organizational psychologist at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn Medicine, we are looking for leaders who are 'rethinking' the healthcare delivery system. Leaders focused on driving results — or outcomes over process — are playing crucial roles in advancing and shaping organizations. Lastly, leaders who excel at seeing around corners benefit their organizations by anticipating and leveraging the upcoming inflection points. In medicine, this can mean capitalizing on disruptive technology, building institutional resilience, and so much more.

J.P. Gallagher. President and CEO of Endeavor Health (Evanston, Ill.): The most essential leaders have a few things in common, in particular, the qualities that embody what we aim to deliver as an organization – empathy and expertise in action. Empathetic leaders are strong team players who build connections and take the time to listen. They are able to navigate – and help their teams navigate – the incredibly rewarding, very complex and constantly changing dynamics of healthcare. These leaders are also action-oriented. Through their energy and commitment to our mission, they put their unique expertise to work in collaboration with others to make things happen.

Cliff A. Megerian, MD, FACS. CEO and Jane and Henry Meyer CEO Distinguished Chair at University Hospitals (Cleveland): In today's dynamic landscape, leaders who seamlessly blend collaboration and authenticity are indispensable for organizational success. The most essential leaders embody humility, fostering a culture of openness and inclusivity. Their tenacity serves as a driving force, enabling them to navigate both short-term challenges and long-term obstacles with resilience. These leaders prioritize teamwork, recognizing diverse perspectives as catalysts for innovation. Authenticity becomes their guiding principle, instilling trust and transparency within the organization. In essence, the collaborative and authentic leader emerges as a linchpin, adept at forging connections, inspiring teams, and adeptly steering the organization towards sustained growth and adaptability in an ever-evolving business environment.

Gaye Woods. System Vice President of Equity and Inclusion at CommonSpirit Health (Chicago): I believe the leaders that can be most influential in the current landscape of healthcare are those who can balance the tension between the increased need to respond to the external drivers of poor health outcomes while dismantling and improving internal systems of care that thwart overall change. The leadership qualities that are essential include empathy, a heightened understanding of the total value of health equity, and attentiveness to the needs of our teams who deliver care. Listing all of these presents a significant lift for those in leadership positions, but I'm encouraged by the progress happening each day and the power of collective impact. We must seize the urgency of this moment, and we can.

Brian A. Erling, MD. President and CEO of Renown Health (Reno, Nev.): At Renown Health, our most essential leaders are those who approach their work with a People First mindset. Leaders who get to know their team members on a personal level while demonstrating extreme ownership of engagement and retention at the unit/department level. This includes providing individual growth and advancement opportunities to align personal purpose with the mission of the organization.

Airica Steed, EdD, RN. President and CEO of MetroHealth (Cleveland): Our society is multicultural, multidimensional, and extraordinarily diverse. We therefore need to ensure we are recruiting and retaining a leadership team who look like our patients and our communities, have similar perspectives, share similar histories, and have a personal understanding of the challenges they face. Today's healthcare leader also must understand and acknowledge implicit bias, have strong cultural competency, and be able to innovate and adapt based on the unique needs of the populations they serve. This is the only way we can ensure the healthcare we deliver is equitable and of the highest possible quality for every patient and community we serve. 

Joseph Webb, DSc. CEO of Nashville (Tenn.) General Hospital: I view two key attributes as being critical in leaders that can best contribute to the success of Nashville General Hospital.  The first is an individual who possesses an inherent transformational thought process as opposed to a transactional thought process.  This is important because leadership activities should be germane to the execution of initiatives that drive improvements in performance and outcomes for the organization rather than personal recognition and benefit. An individual cannot maximize effectiveness as a leader if his/her priorities are driven solely by personal accomplishments.

Synergy can best be achieved when leaders possess transformational motivation directed towards pursuing the organization's vision. The vision can emanate from within the individual but should connect with the overall goals and objectives of the organization or the organizational leader's vision. In summary, two elements in leaders are most essential, and they are transformational tendencies and susceptibility to following a common organizational vision.

Michael A. Young. President and CEO of Temple University Health System (Philadelphia): Leading is not just talking and giving orders; it requires being present, having empathy, listening and creating the perfect environment to deliver quality care and improve patient outcomes. Effective leaders ask, 'What other opportunities are out there to do things better?' from all perspectives — quality, safety, regulatory, patient satisfaction, throughput, and others. They have the courage to challenge the status quo and promote innovation with their teams — not just following trends, but rather creating change. While approaches can vary, successful leaders mobilize people by focusing on selected key priorities, coordinating actions to generate tangible results, and helping people in a team to achieve together what they would have been unable to achieve alone.

Chris M. Coburn. Chief Innovation Officer of Mass General Brigham (Somerville, Mass.): Leaders who work collaboratively, empower their employees to innovate and execute around priority goals are essential. The environment they shape should engage colleagues to identify unmet needs and to develop the skills to envision and act on solutions.  Their leadership should drive a performance culture that makes innovation everyone's business. Increasingly, these leaders draw on diverse life experiences to yield insights and innovations that are applied on the ground in the real world of care delivery.

Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD. Chief Quality and Clinical Transformation Officer and Veale Distinguished Chair in Leadership and Clinical Transformation at University Hospitals (Cleveland): Transformational leaders are the most essential and needed. At University Hospitals, we are tackling some of the most difficult issues in healthcare through the leadership of talented individuals who demonstrate every day that they can tap into the awesome power of love that connects us all and embrace the significant and pressing challenge of healthcare transformation. 

They create a culture where caregivers believe in their responsibility to deliver high-value care, while building accountability systems and making sure everyone belongs to the larger effort and feels free to contribute innovative ideas for the greater good. A big part of this is being able to collaborate to solve complex problems. This much-needed ability is crucial to creating solutions at scale. 

Our diabetes center director, for example, is leading her colleagues in chart reviews of patients whose A1c is over 8.5, then sharing recommendations with patients' primary care providers, who do the lion's share of work managing these patients. The collaboration also includes referrals to a range of disease management programs addressing social and clinical determinants of health. Results show it's working, with every intervention tried leading to statistically significant reductions in A1c. She and other leaders show us daily what we can accomplish for our patients through shared learning and decision-making and recognizing that transformation is not only beneficial, but necessary.

Rick Evans. Senior Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Experience Officer at New York-Presbyterian: A foundational requirement for essential leaders at my organization is a deep commitment to our values, which include critical qualities like empathy and integrity, among others. Great leaders need to be able to truly understand and effectively respond to the needs of the people we serve and the people we work alongside everyday. This is especially true now, as we have the largest influx of new employees in our organization in years. Essential leaders also have to be nimble and creative. With healthcare firmly in the digital age, we are in a time where synthesizing new technology and transforming our workflows are a daily part of the job.  The ability to drive and navigate transformation is now a core competency. 

Ahsan Mahmood, MD. President of Parkview Behavioral Health (Fort Wayne, Ind.): Empathic physician leaders who are incorporating understanding of clinical, behavioral and financial aspects of organization and personal examples of servant leadership.

Tammie Rubel, MSN-ED, RN. Director of Patient Care Services at McLaren Flint (Mich.) Hospital: Boots on the ground. Leaders need to be on the frontline, talking to staff and addressing issues in real-time. As everyone is coming out the other side of the pandemic, we must build trust and show our support for our workforce. Staff need to know they are being heard by leadership, and visibly see their feedback put into action.

Ebrahim Barkoudah, MD. System Chief and Regional Chief Medical Officer at Baystate Health (Springfield, Mass.): In today's rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, the types of leaders that are quickly becoming the most essential to organizations are those who possess a strong blend of strategic vision, adaptability, and a deep understanding of technological advancements. Healthcare leaders who can navigate the complexities of value-based care, leverage data analytics for informed decision-making, and foster a culture of innovation are increasingly vital. Additionally, leaders with a keen focus on patient-centered care, empathetic communication, and the ability to drive interdisciplinary collaboration are indispensable in driving positive outcomes and improving the healthcare system as a whole. These leaders play a crucial role in steering organizations through industry shifts, regulatory changes, and the growing emphasis on delivering high-quality, cost-effective care. 

Lisa E. Griffin. Chief Consumer Officer of Consumer Experience and Patient Access at University Hospitals (Cleveland): Essential leaders in healthcare are digitally innovative, patient-centered care leaders, health equity champions, financial stewards, collaborative leaders, and change management experts. This multifaceted leader reflects the challenges and opportunities within the healthcare sector. Successful healthcare organizations will likely need a mix of these leaders to navigate the intricacies of modern healthcare delivery and to innovate and adapt in an ever-changing environment.

Kim Meeker. Chief Nursing Officer of Henry Ford Wyandotte (Mich.) Hospital: The leaders quickly becoming most essential to our organization have the curious combination of skill sets that allow them to easily vacillate between being highly empathetic and compassionate yet motivational and results oriented. The ability to build a strong rapport with those we lead that then translates to long lasting relationships and outcomes is absolutely invaluable 

Dani Hackner, MD. Chief Clinical Officer of Southcoast Health System (New Bedford, Mass.): At Southcoast Health, as our community system evolves deeper services such as trauma and structural heart programs and broader relationships such as teaching with UMass and Brown, leaders that embrace high reliability organization principles are becoming essential to our growth. Leaders with HRO 'reluctance to simplify' embrace the challenge of deep, complex, and compassionate care. Leaders with HRO 'deference to expertise' respect clinical dyadic management and welcome staff with 'lived experience.' Leaders employing HRO principles are increasingly essential to organizational growth and resilience.

Linda Stevenson. Chief Information Officer of Fisher-Titus Health (Norwalk, Ohio): With the ever-increasing complexity of healthcare, our key leaders are those that have the ability to see the big picture and pull people together to address challenges. Any health system's success depends on its leader's ability to understand the interworking of all areas from clinical to administrative and be able to properly diagnose the problem and prescribe solutions. Our successful leaders are also mission driven and mentor others so the next generation can ensure our community has great healthcare.

David Rahija. President of Endeavor Medical Group Operations (Evanston, Ill.): Leaders with high emotional intelligence who can manage ambiguity and change.  Leaders need to have core competencies and knowledge of the business as table stakes.  However, leaders that can see past the day to day clutter and are able to engage and lead varied stakeholders toward a common vision and purpose will excel. 

Harlan Levine, MD. President of Health Innovation and Policy at City of Hope (Duarte, Calif.): Leaders who possess the ability to inspire others, build teams, identify priorities, and balance immediate needs with future goals are indispensable to organizations. They not only motivate their teams with a compelling vision but also foster collaboration and trust to achieve common objectives. With the headwinds in healthcare today, the skill to discern priorities ensures that resources are allocated effectively, maximizing productivity and driving progress. Moreover, leaders of tomorrow need to be both visionary and pragmatic, with the capacity to strike a balance between short-term demands and long-term objectives to build resilience in the face of evolving challenges.

Terrie Edwards. Corporate Vice President of Sentara Healthcare (Norfolk, Va.): The leaders who are becoming  most essential to the organization are those who:

  • have a vision for the future.
  • build a healthy culture.
  • inspire others.
  • achieve excellence through others.
  • intentionally develop other leaders

I especially like the quote from John C. Maxwell: 'The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.'

Aytekin Oto, MD. Dean of Clinical Affairs and Chief Physician at University of Chicago Medicine: Similar to other industries, health systems look for leaders who are adept in digital transformation and innovation. We also look for leaders with strong skills in change management and adaptability as they can navigate the complexities of the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. Finally, leaders who excel in strategic collaboration, capable of forging partnerships across disciplines and sectors, are vital for driving growth and enhancing the organization's impact on health outcomes.

Jason M. Raidbard. Executive Administrator of Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UChicago Medicine and Biological Sciences: Good leaders in healthcare possess essential soft skills that contribute to their effectiveness. It is always important to have strong communication skills which enables them to articulate a clear vision and foster collaboration with their team. Empathy and compassion are crucial for understanding patients' needs, supporting staff through challenges, and creating a positive work environment. Adaptability and resilience helps leaders navigate the many complex aspects of healthcare, embrace change, and overcome obstacles while maintaining focus on organizational goals.

Effective healthcare leaders must demonstrate strong decision-making abilities. They can weigh complex information, assess risks, and make timely decisions that prioritize patient safety and quality of care. Integrity and ethical behavior are essential, as leaders must uphold high standards of professionalism, honesty, and trustworthiness in all their interactions. Excelling in this area allows for a quality culture to develop and a trust among team members as well as departments that may interact with this team. Finally, effective delegation skills enable leaders to empower their teams, leverage individual strengths, and optimize resource allocation, leading to improved efficiency and outcomes within the organization.

A good leader can inspire, motivate, and drive positive outcomes if they possess all these skills, which benefits not only the team they serve, but the patients they serve.

James Burroughs. Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations and Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer at Children's Minnesota (Minneapolis): Diverse, equitable and inclusive leaders are essential to the future of Children's Minnesota. These leaders create a culture where employees, vendors, community partners, patients and families feel heard, valued and supported. In return, this belief helps our pediatric health care system identify opportunities to provide high quality, co-created and equitable care solutions for our patients and families.

Will Carroll, PharmD. Vice President of Network Pharmacy at Hackensack Meridian Health (Edison, N.J.): I do believe the most essential leaders needed in today's age are innovative, collaborative, and flexible. They value people and ensure they create an environment where  team members feel welcomed and able to be their best selves. 

With the ever shifting landscape and multitude of competing priorities, it is imperative that time-management, agility, and balance remain top of mind in order to be successful leaders.

Tony Reed, MD, PhD. Senior Vice President and Chief Quality, Safety and Experience Officer at Inspira Health (Vineland, N.J.): Doers. Those leaders who roll up their sleeves and dig in on the work side-by-side with their teams in a low power distance mentality. We look for visionaries who understand the mission, agree with the highly reliable culture of a safe environment, and actively engage with their teams in a symbiotic relationship to deliver the best care possible to our community.

Scottie B. Day, MD. Chair of UK Department of Pediatrics and Physician in Chief at Kentucky Children's Hospital (Lexington): Our organization is focused on being nimble, innovative, and relational. Some of our greatest leadership recruits are those who practice servant leadership at every level. As a large academic organization, we are recruiting and training leaders who can value the mission of education and research in a busy clinical setting.

Michael Prokopis. Vice President of Supply Chain at MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston): At MD Anderson, our supply chain leaders are being continually challenged with routine, system issues (e.g., back-orders) while also having to develop new strategies that are much more data dependent. With the plethora of new data sources and technologies available, successful leaders are those that can quickly assess current workflows and pivot dynamically as needed. Therefore, we are focused on developing our future leaders through exposure to various functional disciplines, such as value and data analysis, procurement, sourcing, etc., that all must be part of a coherent supply chain strategy.

Brian Carlson. Vice President of Patient Experience at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville, Tenn.): The most essential leader in healthcare is middle management. These roles must translate the organization's focuses and directives while ensuring alignment, resource management, and cohesiveness in delivery within their unit. The leaders must understand and be ambassadors of the organization's culture while leading through flexibility, poise, and creativity.

Megan Gillespie, DNP, RN. CEO of Sutter Santa Rosa (Calif.) Hospital: The leaders who are quickly becoming the most essential to our organization are those who exhibit curiosity, actively listen, are courageous and inspire others to be their best selves. At Sutter Health, we value excellence, curiosity, teamwork, compassion, inclusion, and integrity, which are essential to elevating healthcare delivery and the health of our communities. Also essential, are leaders who hold a high bar for themselves, strengthen teamwork, promote belonging, and create a culture of operational excellence while adding value. They challenge the status quo and create inclusive teams equipped to solve complex healthcare challenges needed to drive positive change and strengthen health outcomes.

Donna Roach. Chief Information Officer of University of Utah Health (Salt Lake City): Aspiring leaders in the information technology (IT) realm play a pivotal role in shaping the future. Here's a leadership-focused perspective on the three essential attributes I feel are essential to our organization:

  1. Agility: Beyond mastering methodologies or frameworks, agile leaders embrace change as an opportunity. They're the compass during turbulence, steering teams toward innovation and adaptability. They can pivot easily while extending grace and confidence to others.
  2. Authenticity: An authentic leader wears the same face at work and in the community. They don't mask or hide vulnerabilities. Instead, they acknowledge strengths and weaknesses openly. Authenticity fosters trust — a cornerstone for collaboration and growth.
  3. Humility: Humble leaders don't hoard the spotlight; they illuminate others. Like a gardener nurturing a diverse ecosystem, they empower team members to flourish. Their respect for each person's journey cultivates a fertile ground for collective development.

When these attributes infuse an organization, they raise the value of IT and are fundamental to the organization's ongoing success.

Scott Jessie, MSN, RN. Chief Nursing Officer of SUNY Upstate University Hospital (Syracuse, N.Y.): From my perspective, authentic, innovative, and optimistic leaders are what are essential right now. We need leaders who can and want to connect with people, can analyze and use data, and can manage nearly constant change.  Perhaps most importantly, they need to understand their people and their needs while being agile, open, honest, and transparent. They need to be excited and hopeful for the future as we continue to create a new path forward. These skills don't come easily and it's on all of us to mentor and coach our teams and lead by example, especially during the hard times.

Alexa B. Kimball, MD. President and CEO of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston): It's undeniable that healthcare can be chaotic and unpredictable. In this environment, the leaders who stand out most to me are the ones with a blend of big-picture thinking and a willingness to dive into the trenches when needed. They understand that success often lies in the details and are not afraid to immerse themselves in the nitty-gritty – tackling complex challenges head-on alongside their teams. It's messy out there, so being nimble enough to balance vision and hands-on problem-solving skills is essential. We need people who are willing to roll up their sleeves to tackle day-to-day operational challenges while keeping their eye on the future to ensure organizational success. 

Jared T. Muenzer, MD. Chief Physician Executive of Phoenix Children's; Chief Operating Officer of Phoenix Children's Medical Group: At Phoenix Children's we are in a season of exponential growth as we expand this year from one hospital to three. Our future stars are those who understand complex operating systems involving diverse groups of people, and who comprehend the importance of data and technology in running the health system efficiently. They also have a high level of emotional intelligence, coupled with superb communications skills, to know how best to motivate their teams and push their colleagues to deliver the highest quality of care in every interaction. Healthcare leadership is an ongoing journey, but when you add a passion for our mission, and a strong work ethic, leadership is extremely rewarding and provides endless opportunities for professional and personal growth.  

Don Gray. Chief Data Officer of Highmark Health (Pittsburgh): Leaders who not only possess the requisite advanced tech skills, but also demonstrate openness to new operating models and new ways of doing business.

Liz Powell. Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer of Stony Brook (N.Y.) Medicine: Healthcare today is shaped by various disruptors, including telemedicine, artificial intelligence, value-based care and data-driven decision-making. Leaders who can navigate these disruptions and drive transformation are essential in this evolving landscape. They are focused on fostering innovation, improving quality, access and predictive analytics and helping to reduce health disparities.  Effective leaders possess traits such as visionary thinking, adaptability, collaboration, innovation, integrity and strong communication skills. Integrity builds trust, which is especially important in healthcare, and strong communication skills ensure clear understanding and alignment across teams. These leaders will play a critical role in shaping the future of healthcare.

Desi Kotis, PharmD. Chief Pharmacy Executive of the University of California San Francisco Health System; Vice Dean of Clinical Affairs at the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy: Those leaders who are proactive, highly communicative, and results oriented. I do think leaders with a servant and authentic leadership can do well in healthcare today.  There is a need to complete projects in record time, safely, efficiently, and successfully. Leaders who have high EI and are results oriented thrive in today's environment.

Celina Cunanan, MSN. Chief  Diversity, Equity & Belonging Officer at University Hospitals (Cleveland): We need innovative thinkers and problem solvers, community engagers and system level change agents to help navigate the tumultuous tides of healthcare. More than ever, it's crucial for leaders to understand and address the diverse needs of different departments, employees and patient populations, because quality healthcare depends on collaboration. Strong leaders are those who create a positive work environment, which means fostering a culture of belonging — one in which people feel valued, as well as comfortable in sharing their concerns and ideas.

Johanna Vidal-Phelan, MD. Chief Medical Officer, Quality and Pediatrics at UPMC Health Plan; Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: In the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare, leaders who embody flexibility, resilience, and vision are becoming indispensable. These individuals are not deterred by immediate challenges, but rather, they leverage them as catalysts for innovation and growth. They possess the courage to chart the course forward, even in the face of uncertainty. Their unwavering commitment to their vision, coupled with their adaptability, enables them to steer their teams to support a future where quality healthcare is accessible to all and meet the patients and members where they are. Such leadership is not just beneficial, but essential in our quest to impact the health of the communities we serve.

Deana Sievert, DNP, RN. Chief Nursing Officer of Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (Columbus): By far the leaders who are able to lean into a coaching model are having the biggest impact. Their ability to rally the team in difficult times, provide clear direction and expectations, and push our team members further than they thought they could go, has been instrumental in most of our success as an organization. We have been spending more time on how to coach than ever before and are seeing good results with this. Combining this with fundamentals such as change management, quality performance and improvement has been a game changer for us.

Maria D'Urso, MSN, MBA, RN, FACHE. Senior Director of ACN and Maternal-Child Services at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens: This generation of leaders has learned the importance of remaining nimble in order to be able to understand and adapt to the changing healthcare environment, change strategic course and engage the teams in implementing new tactics that will lead to meeting the hospital's mission. The emergence of AI allows us to enhance our healthcare knowledge and remain curious about exploring new ways to positively impact patient care.

Marisa Farabaugh. Chief Supply Chain Officer of AdventHealth (Altamonte Springs, Fla.): Healthcare organizations are living, breathing and ever-changing.  The types of leaders who are always essential to our organization are those who take a life-long learning approach to their work and bring tremendous energy and passion to the work they are leading. These leaders understand that change is a constant, and they're ready to face the challenges of tomorrow with curiosity and creativity.

Naturally, the ability to communicate effectively and clearly to those at different levels across the organization is also key to transformational leadership. The best ideas are nothing if not communicated effectively.

Cris Daskevich. CEO of CHRISTUS Children's Hospital; Senior Vice President of Women's and Children's at CHRISTUS Health (Irving, Texas): Leaders who blend strategic foresight with operational expertise and can swiftly adapt and leverage change are increasingly vital. They must be visible, people-centric, focused on recruiting and retaining top talent, able to create trusting environments where barriers are dismantled, and foster and encourage front-line inclusion in decision making.

Additionally, operational leaders with hands-on experience, especially those who came up through the ranks and are committed to nurturing physicians and nursing leaders, are crucial. These are challenging times where innovation and new technologies are being introduced at an unprecedented pace coupled with increasing demands in cybersecurity and government regulations. It has never been tougher to be a leader. Emphasizing and role-modeling self-care and team well-being are crucial for success in today's world of continued stress, rapid change, and daily challenges across all sectors of healthcare.

Lori Gustave. Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia): Without a doubt, authentic leaders are the most successful leaders at Penn Medicine. An honest, direct approach with an exceptional ability of empowering people throughout the organization. Integrity, emotional intelligence and a passion that people want to stand behind. I am privileged to work for and with many authentic leaders at Penn Medicine and it contributes to the success of the organization.

Kevin Cullinan. CEO of CommonSpirit St. Anthony Hospital (Lakewood, Colo.): The most essential leaders I have are adaptable and can remain calm in the face of uncertainty. Change is constant and some people are completely paralyzed by it, while others see the potential opportunity and really thrive. The latter group are those that I see as not only the most essential, but also the most engaged.

Lauralyn Brown, DNP, MSN, BS, RN. Quality Director of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center (Texas): Healthcare leaders are in a constant state of motion and evolution. As our patients demand more services from their hospital(s), healthcare leaders must use tools such as community needs assessment to gauge the needs of their citizens. Analyzing industry changes and having a willingness to listen to their staff and their patients can assist with strategic planning and resource management. Create collaborative environments with staff and physicians to create positive workplace cultures to help to be more efficient and improve outcomes for patients.

Nygel Williams, MHA, CHFP. Executive Director of Physical Therapy Program at Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis): The modern-day PT practice, like other specialties in medicine, continues to see a push to integrate technology into clinical practice as well as practice operations. With the speed of innovation, it has become critical for leaders to be dedicated to lifelong learning and a willingness to adapt to new technologies and challenges. However, we're also seeing a need for more people centric leaders, now more than ever, as clinic operations become more distant. With more teams going remote, having leaders who can not only bridge the technological divide but keep teams together and thriving will only become more and more critical to success.

William Chan, PharmD. Administrative Director of Pharmacy Finance & Business Operations at Stanford Health Care (Palo Alto, Calif.): Leaders that are quickly becoming the most essential to my organization are those who embody selflessness, possess a global perspective, and demonstrate collaborative skills. In an interconnected and dynamic business landscape, selfless leaders prioritize collective success over personal gains, fostering a culture of shared achievements. A global view allows leaders to navigate diverse markets and anticipate emerging trends, ensuring the organization remains adaptable and forward-thinking. Collaboration is paramount, as leaders who can effectively bring together diverse talents and perspectives contribute to innovative problem-solving and sustained organizational growth.

Mark Welton, MD. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Fairview Health Services (Minneapolis); President of Fairview Health Medical Group: Leaders that recognize what they don't know and ask open ended, non-judgemental questions to learn more as they strive to understand the current state. Leaders that ask follow up questions that dive into 'how we know what we know' to validate what is known and then work with the teams to generate achievable goals with a relentless focus on improving patient safety, satisfaction with outstanding quality and cost-effective care. These leaders then empower their teams to try their solutions, support the teams and encourage learning from their failures as they craft new and innovative solutions. 

David Verinder. President and CEO of Sarasota (Fla.) Memorial Health Care System: At Sarasota Memorial, I'm fortunate to work with an outstanding team of leaders who are excellent communicators, team-builders and mentors, and are absolutely essential to our success. As the health system continues to open new hospital campuses and outpatient centers to meet the needs of our growing community, our leaders role model and reinforce our commitment to exceptional care and service, at every site of care and with every patient. SMH leaders also keep employee retention and engagement top-of-mind, and strive to be empathetic and flexible when helping team members navigate work-related or personal difficulties. Because of their commitment, Sarasota Memorial has been recognized as an exceptional workplace by Gallup and one of America's Best Large Employers by Forbes

Brian Uridge. Deputy Director of Public Safety and Security at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); Director of  Security, Michigan Medicine at University of Michigan Health System: The leaders that are becoming the most essential to our organization, are the ones who can build and maintain trust. Leaders that understand the importance of leaving your office and getting out to interact with your staff, building real relationships, regardless of the size of your organization are key to ensuring that we understand the patient experience and can deliver not only top quality healthcare services but also provide exceptional experiences before, during and after their healthcare visit.

Cherie Smith, PhD, MBA, RN. Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services at OhioHealth (Columbus): Leaders who bring multi-generational experiences from various healthcare organizations as well as non-healthcare industries contribute to the team's breadth of perspectives. Those with different experiences, lived and professional, infuse the team with fresh viewpoints often absent on conventional healthcare leadership teams. They are additive to the experienced healthcare leadership team and are essential to the organization. Ultimately, building flexible and diverse leaders should yield high functioning teams with exceptional outcomes.  

Giovanni Piedimonte, ​MD. Vice President of Research, Institutional Official, and Research Integrity Officer at Tulane University (New Orleans): Without any doubt, today's critical leaders for healthcare and high-ed organizations are the CIO and their IT staff. This is because the generational transformation centered on technological advancements like AI and quantum computing will be fundamental to remaining competitive in the near and long term. Although we are still just at the beginning, and it is impossible to predict where this journey will take us, having an IT team able to master the more productive aspects of these highly strategic technologies while trying to avoid some of the problems will be essential to prevent a future of irrelevance. Our IT team has also been a critical ally in many other areas, like research compliance, foreign trade controls, digital tools and robotics implementation, and many other areas of technological disruption that keep us in the top echelon of academics and healthcare. 

Paul Coyne, DNP, APRN. Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive of HSS | Hospital for Special Surgery (New York): Technology is now not only bringing all of the information we would need to perform tasks to our fingertips, but beginning to perform the tasks autonomously.  Therefore, what is most essential are human centric leaders brilliant enough to blend knowledge from various domains to truly bring forth a better reality in both the physical and emotional world. 

Edward S. Kim, MD. Vice Physician-in-Chief of City of Hope (Duarte, Calif.); Physician-in-Chief of City of Hope Orange County: At City of Hope, our mission is to make hope a reality for everyone touched by cancer and diabetes. We seek inclusive, trailblazing leaders who understand the importance of finding innovative solutions and who are driven by a passion for pioneering science and a strong sense of purpose. Donald McGannon famously said that leadership is action, not a position; all of us can lead and all of us are essential. We're committed to dismantling barriers to care and advancing the research that will move us closer to preventing and curing cancer.

David Bubas. Senior Director of Center for Engagement and Inclusion at UPMC (Pittsburgh): Leaders who embrace inclusivity and adapt effectively. Our ever-changing population, patient and consumer needs, and dynamic workforce requires strong leadership. Organizations benefit from the richness of diversity, which enhances strategic capabilities and fosters innovation.  To deliver on these advantages, we need an inclusive leader who empowers all employees to reach their full potential and performance while proactively managing crucial conversations and behaviors.

Bob Sarkar. President and CEO of Arkansas Health Network (Little Rock): In the fast-changing healthcare delivery and reimbursement landscape, it is becoming essential for leaders to be multifaceted in their skill sets in both fee for service and fee for value sectors. Leaders also need to be adaptive, innovative, authentic, resilient, collaborative, forward thinking, purpose-driven, courageous and empathetic in order to lead their teams to connect the organization's Mission and purpose with the patients we serve, and avoid fatigue from the current financial landscape. 

The everyday challenges of healthcare leadership are currently amplified by the paradigm shift we're seeing in the industry. There's a growing discrepancy between reimbursement rates and the actual costs incurred, as well as the necessary investments in our communities that are needed for us to continue providing the highest quality of care to our patients. This shift is felt nationwide, and particularly in Arkansas, as highlighted by a recent congressional report (a nonpartisan analysis for the U.S. Congress) from January '22, which places Arkansas at the lowest end of the scale for reimbursement rates from both private and governmental payers.

Lyndon Edwards. Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Loma Linda (Calif.) University Health Hospitals: The characteristic of the most essential leaders in our organization are those with a keen interest in leveraging technology to tackle operational hurdles efficiently. In today's rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, embracing innovative solutions is paramount to enhancing patient care and streamlining processes. Leaders who champion technology integration can drive transformative change, ensuring our academic medical center remains at the forefront of delivering high-quality care.

Bharat Magu, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Yuma Regional Medical Center (Ariz.): New Leaders to the organization with fresh perspectives are essential for both maintaining the organization's success and sparking innovation. The right leaders possess the ability not only to improve existing service delivery for enhanced efficiency but also to discover new opportunities and collaborate successfully with the business development team. Their contributions are vital not just for improving the organization's financial health but also for expanding access to care and enhancing population health outcomes through the introduction of new patient support areas. Examples of the innovative services initiated by these new and dynamic leaders in YRMC recently include the recent expansion and increased reliability of the vascular service line, the establishment of school-based clinics, and the deployment of mobile health units. These initiatives demonstrate the significant impact that fresh leadership can have on both the organization and the communities it serves.

Chad M. Teven, MD. Reconstructive Microsurgeon, Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Chicago): In large academic healthcare systems such as ours, leaders with expertise in digital health innovation and data analytics are quickly becoming indispensable. These individuals are at the forefront of integrating advanced technologies like AI and telemedicine into patient care, enhancing both efficiency and outcomes. Additionally, leaders with a strong background in public health and epidemiology are increasingly vital, as they navigate the complexities of global health challenges and ensure our preparedness for future pandemics. Finally, leaders who stress and demonstrate an empathic approach toward patient care, our employees' well-being, and the organization's culture are key. 

Mara Nitu, MD. Chief Medical Officer of Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children, IU Health (Indianapolis): It is hard to choose the most essential leaders at Riley Children's Health. Our Operation Excellence leaders have been instrumental in driving significant improvements within the organization, particularly in terms of operational efficiency, resource optimization, and cultural change. Their focus on implementing regular business reviews and standardizing processes has resulted in tangible benefits such as improving patient satisfaction and the length of stay index. They played a vital role in aligning the organization's efforts towards delivering value in a transforming healthcare landscape.

Thomas Maddox, MD. Vice President of Digital Products and Innovation at BJC HealthCare/Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis): The command-and-control leader era has passed. Effective leaders need to create the culture that empowers front-line teams to self-organize and execute their work to support overall goals. Leaders set the vision and the goals, then facilitate their teams' ability to figure out how to get there.

David Battinelli, MD. Dean of Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell; Executive Vice President and Physician in Chief of Northwell Health (New Hyde Park, N.Y.): I would characterize those becoming most essential as 'rising star local leaders and influencers.' In an organization as large and complex as Northwell and in complex healthcare organizations in general, I have always believed that 'no amount of central leadership could ever compensate for the lack of local leadership.'

Local leaders who have enormous influence are the local engine to both execute on aligned goals as well as provide critical accurate and meaningful local data to the central leadership. We at Northwell invest heavily in developing local leadership. And we specifically target those local leaders who lead by influence.

Maryann Alexander, PhD, RN, FAAN. Chief Officer of Nursing Regulation at National Council of State Boards of Nursing (Chicago): At NCSBN, our leaders are both futuristic thinkers and experts in knowing how to use state-of-the-art technology to its best advantage. Overarching all of these essential components for leadership in our organization is a steadfast dedication to our mission – public protection and patient safety.

These attributes in our leaders enable us to remain on the cutting-edge of nursing workforce research, advance the science of testing measurement and deliver verification of nurse licensure, discipline and practice privileges for RNs and LPN/VNs licensed by participating U.S. boards of nursing through Nursys, the only national database with those capabilities.

Having leaders with these qualities makes NCSBN a global leader in nursing regulation and prepares us for changes in the healthcare environment before they occur.

Christine Larson, BSN, RN. Vice President of Medical Group Operations at Advocate Aurora Health (Downers Grove, Ill., and Milwaukee): Leaders who are nimble and can think quickly to solve unique problems leveraging past experiences or professional relationships are becoming more crucial to our organization.  I am finding that leaders who get bogged down needing massive amounts of data or time to process what is happening are being quickly left behind in lieu of people who can make educated/logical decisions and move the needle quickly to respond to ever-changing payor environments, political/current events, and trends with new illnesses/outbreaks, etc.  Leaders who can efficiently gather the correct key stakeholders and bring potential solutions to the table are the most essential in our current climate of healthcare leadership. 

Don Antonucci. President and CEO of Providence Health Plan (Portland, Ore.): At Providence Health Plan, leaders who prioritize human connection, champion health equity, and embrace transformative change are essential to our organization. These leaders have a forward-thinking mindset and an innovative vision for the future of healthcare. Focused on the mission, to serve all with high-quality healthcare, leaders across our organization are constantly seeking new approaches to drive meaningful change, address healthcare challenges, and improve outcomes. I am inspired each day by the way they empower their teams to adapt to industry trends while keeping members at the center of the healthcare experience.

Annie Thomas-Landrum, MSN, RN. Board of Directors of Sunshine Community Health Center (Talkeetna, Alaska): Leaders who embrace equanimity. Our world is changing so fast. With the rise of telehealth and AI, the changing and dynamic relationship with the public and their perception of healthcare, the need to manage as many as five different generations within one organization, continual changes in funding approaches and opportunities based on political trends, and a workforce crisis that threatens our ability to keep even basic services in place, this landscape is full of an increasing number of mountains to climb, seemingly spontaneously generating at an alarming rate. 

The ability to be self-aware enough to self-regulate in the face of these challenges, to be aware of the emotions they bring, feel them and not add fuel to their fire, but instead, to accept, regroup, and keep moving, this is a leader who can navigate whatever comes. There isn't a playbook for where we are. And somehow, as weird and exciting and scary as it may be, we are the leaders charged with creating the plan for moving forward. Embracing the truth, whatever that is, empowers us to be able to ask the most powerful question of all, "now what?" 

"Now what" holds a world of options that never come to us while we scream at the problems that refuse to budge in the face of our displeasure. Together with our teams, we've got this. We just need to find the courage within ourselves to walk the road, take the adventure as it comes, and write a story that will once again change the world.

Mark Makhinson, PharmD. Senior Director of Outpatient Pharmacy at Mount Sinai Health System (New York City): In the evolving landscape of hospital owned pharmacies to institutions, the most essential leaders are those who oversee day to day pharmacy operations as well as having a high level understanding of programmatic and financial goals. Standing up efficient workflows along with hiring high performing individuals is key to efficient growth, and having a director who is passionate about developing staff and growing internal talent provides the most value for the organization as well as the department.  In outpatient pharmacy site level leaders and directors, both licensed and unlicensed, are most important to keeping staff motivated and engaged.

J. Bryan Bennett. Executive Director of Healthcare Center of Excellence at Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.): We have found that adaptive leaders are quickly becoming the most essential leaders in any organization. With the changes in technology and regulations, leaders need to be adaptive to any situation presented to them. A multi-generational workforce creates additional challenges as leaders must identify and adapt to how people prefer to work and communicate. Some individuals require a more hands-on leadership approach, while others are quite the opposite. Quickly understanding the working environment can lead to better leadership outcomes.

Sha Edathumparampil. Corporate Vice President and Chief Data Officer of Baptist Health South Florida (Miami): The U.S. healthcare system is undergoing what many consider its most disruptive phase, driven by technological advancements, shifting patient demographics and expectations, and the pressing need for cost reduction and quality improvements. Leaders looking to excel must focus intently on enhancing patient care and affordability. They should be innovative, digitally adept, and strongly committed to patient-centric care, as well as skilled in fostering collaboration across interdisciplinary teams and with external partners. These leaders communicate clearly, demonstrate resilience, and navigate rapid changes effectively.

Edith Okolo, PharmD, Rph. Director of Pharmacy of Cedar Crest Hospital (Belton, Texas): Transformational leaders who are ready to evolve with the changing times. Leaders willing to advance in their various areas of expertise. Keep abreast of new changes and are willing to implement new recommendations.

These are dynamic leaders not intimidated by change but welcome and encourage it. They are ready for new visions, creativity and growth. Eager to charter new territories and learn as they go.

Leaders who serve and are flexible, willing to serve in any capacity required to move the organization forward.

Leaders who are collaborative and are team players are also very essential. We need to collaborate to find the right treatment options for our patients, share information. Leaders that are team players are essential because these leaders recognize it is not all about them or an individual it is about the whole team winning.

Sachin K. Gupta, MD. Chief Medical Officer of UNC Physicians Network (Durham, N.C.): Most essential to our organization are leaders who can work across multiple disciplines, partnering with other physicians or operational leaders. Those who can inspire and impact change by keeping a “systemness” viewpoint in mind and those who can draw the best out of others by asking the right questions in the right way at the right time. Leaders who bring to the table authenticity, genuine curiosity and a willingness to listen are the ones who bubble to the top for our organization.

Peta-Ann Anderson, RN, MSN. Chief Nursing Officer of Jackson North Medical Center (North Miami Beach, Fla.): As part of our continuous journey to become a highly reliable organization, attracting strong leaders has become an integral part of our process. Transformational leaders are essential to our organization as we are constantly facing system changes which include integrating new technology, leveraging CARE tactics to enhance the patient experience, reducing LOS, and aiming for zero harm. Since transformational leaders focus on inspiring and motivating followers, it is easier for these types of leaders to promote positive change and continuous quality improvement in the organization.

Gina Calder. President of Barnes Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Progress West Hospital (St. Peters, Mo.): In healthcare, we live by a commitment to do zero harm. That's our north star. And that doesn't just apply to our patients. We expand that commitment to zero harm beyond those receiving care to include those who provide it. Employees need to know their leaders care about them beyond the job description, and that's not something one leader at the top of an organization can create from the top-down. It comes from the leaders on the front lines and cascades throughout.

All of our leaders have the technical expertise to provide care or lead their respective functions. What distinguishes the great leaders is their empathy, ability and willingness to connect with their teams on a personal level. That's what allows employees to be their best without fear, and it's what gives team members the confidence they can raise issues and know they'll be treated with sincerity and respect.

There is a lot of change coming in healthcare, and leadership teams who think they have all the answers are going to fail. It is the organizations that can harness the intelligence and knowledge of their entire employee base that will be best able to take on the unforeseen challenges, sustain a culture of safety and move ahead without compromising the quality of care.

Patty Donley. President of WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital; System Vice President of WellSpan Health (York, Pa.): Which types of leaders are quickly becoming the most essential to your organization:

  1. Courageous and innovative – leaders who are boldly addressing the changing dynamics of the patient care delivery model are essential in today's healthcare environment. As health systems evolve in care delivery to provide needed services in the acute, home, and community settings, the ability to innovate (with people, processes, and technology) is a key skill set for the contemporary leader. 
  2. Engaging and present – challenges with providing care at the bedside are evolving and the needs of the front-line caregivers are also changing. Effective leaders are authentically present with all team members to garner input and lead servantly. 
  3. Analytical and responsive - today's leader must be prepared to quickly respond to changing market dynamics or shifts in volumes. Through real-time metric assessment and an infrastructure that identifies the need to pivot when needed, agile leaders support an environment that responds quickly to market demands.

Jill Hoggard Green, PhD, RN. President and CEO of The Queen's Health System (Honolulu): Health systems nationwide continue to face workforce challenges while at the same time experiencing an increase in patient demand. The Queen's Health System is not exempt from this dynamic, so strategic leaders who are also collaborative and resilient are quickly becoming the most essential leaders for our organization.

To meet the needs of patients today and well into the future, leaders must be adept at designing and implementing the highest quality care that is delivered how, when and where patients require it, and in the most cost-effective manner. Toward this goal, Queen's implemented a dyad leadership model for its clinical programs. In each key clinical area, a medical chief and a vice president of operations share leadership, designing and implementing a strategy for that clinical program as to where, how and by whom clinical services will be delivered so that patients can obtain care where, when and how they need it. This shared leadership model also sets operational standards based on that strategy and ensures that patients, customers and caregivers get the results they deserve.

Additionally, whether our clinicians provide care virtually, in homes, ambulatory clinics or hospitals, they must work together in interdisciplinary teams to provide effective, evidence-based, culturally humble, compassionate care. Therefore, it's critical for leaders to embrace collaboration. Beyond their teams — and the health system — collaborative leaders foster effective community partnerships to connect patients to resources that address health-related social needs and help patients navigate throughout the continuum of care while managing costs for the health system. Collaborative leaders also support the professional development journey of their team members and inherently create a diverse workplace. 

Finally, the demands on healthcare leaders are only increasing as our industry continues to evolve rapidly. Resilient leaders create resilient teams. They make sure their teams are supported. Even more, resilient leaders understand how critical it is to maintain consistent communication. They prioritize frequent, transparent, effective communication that ensures alignment among team members and ultimately ensures the success of the health system.  

Avonia Richardson-Miller, EdD, MA, CDE. Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Department at Hackensack Meridian Health (Edison, N.J.): Agile leaders who are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential for organizations to succeed in today's global marketplace. DEI-focused leaders create a culture where all individuals feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. This leads to increased innovation, creativity, and employee engagement, which are all essential for organizational success.

Sheri DeShazo, RN. President of Advocate Sherman Hospital (Elgin, Ill.): The types of leaders that are quickly becoming the most essential to me are those with a pioneering spirit. 

For years, I have advised candidates that my team is made better by pioneers and not settlers. I find this to be more true today than any other time in healthcare. 

The most essential leaders are bold, innovative and smart risk takers. I find a team of pioneering leaders to appreciate that today's norm was yesterday's disruptive discovery and they move forward to accomplish our goals and inclusively bring others with them.

Matt Ewend, MD. Chief Clinical Officer of UNC Health (Chapel Hill, N.C.); President of UNC Physicians: Over the last few years, having only one crisis to manage could qualify as a good day. The best leaders understand how to prioritize their time and attention and how to delegate and trust their teams to create solutions to multiple issues simultaneously. They move quickly and are not tied to how things have been done in the past. While they understand the full scope of our healthcare system, they stay focused in their own 'swim lane.' 

Trevor Brand. Chief Operating Officer of City of Hope Cancer Center (Atlanta): We at City of Hope Cancer Center Atlanta are actively recruiting leadership who model the integrity, compassion, inclusivity and trailblazing spirit at the heart of our organization. To that end, we established the chief clinical officer position as administrative leader for our physicians and have welcomed Dr. Kristin Higgins into the role. She guides clinical excellence within our walls; leads in developing our clinical research portfolio; and recruits specialty oncology physicians to join our team and expand our treatments and services. With a dedicated focus on strong leadership, we provide top-quality patient care and aim to make hope a reality for all touched by cancer.

Amit Rastogi, MD. President and CEO of Jupiter (Fla.) Medical Center: In a rapidly evolving healthcare environment, leaders who prioritize continuous learning are invaluable assets to any organization. These types of leaders enable an organization to achieve consistent growth, focusing on trends, technology, human capital, and culture. Their dedication to continuous growth and development not only benefits the leaders themselves but also builds momentum throughout the organization. It inspires employees to embrace a growth mindset, encourages innovation and collaboration, and ultimately drives overall organizational success.

Mark Schuster, MD. Founding Dean and CEO of Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (Pasadena, Calif.): As we educate the country's next generation of physicians, our school needs leaders who can remain on top of the trends in healthcare and anticipate what's coming over the horizon. For example, our leaders need to understand the implications of generative AI and its potential to transform the quality and provision of care, while remaining alert to its shortcomings and unintended consequences. Similarly, they need to be well-versed in how the insurance marketplace is evolving and how physicians can be thoughtful partners in their patients' decision-making as payers and providers intersect in new and complex ways. No matter how healthcare evolves, I believe compassion and communication will remain at the heart of patient-provider relationships. Our leaders need to model these traits and embody inclusivity at every turn, teaching our students how to care for patients and work alongside providers from all backgrounds.

Holly Geyer, MD. Chair of Mayo Clinic Opioid Stewardship Program at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.): Leaders capable of responding to the needs of today while building the solutions that will transform how we approach tomorrow. Innovations coming in the next 10 years of healthcare will likely outpace, outperform and outlast the collective pool of advancements we've made in the modern era. These forthcoming novelties are urgently needed to address today's most pressing issues. The opioid epidemic, ostensibly one of societies top public health issues, is in desperate need of advanced, technologically-supported tools to stratify high-risk populations for overdose and addiction and individualize pain management regimens. 

Similarly, Opioid Stewardship Programs are likely to see enhancements in EHR-supported metric monitoring functions to supply real time data on prescribing and addiction management trends. In tandem, societal normalization of addiction as a disease will improve not just the uptake and integration of these technologies, but our willingness to accept those who take advantage of them. At Mayo Clinic, our innovators lead, and our leaders innovate. Putting forward thinking strategists at the helm of our committees ensures the innovations we build keep the patient first and the future within reach.

Min Lee. Chief Operating Officer, UVA Health Medical Center (Charlottesville): From an academic medical center perspective, we have always placed a high value on leaders who have the ability to build relationships and​ teams while leading transformational initiatives across an organization. That was true in the pre-COVID era. Since emerging from the pandemic, this is now an organizational imperative and a non-negotiable quality in our leaders. 

Rebekah (Becky) Compton, DNP, FNP-BC. Chief Clinical Officer, UVA Physicians Group (Charlottesville): As a clinical executive in the physician enterprise, we've identified that engaging local leaders is essential to our success — and not only those new to the organization, but those with longstanding local roots. Engaging this layer of leaders helps us connect the executive strategy to the daily work of our frontlines. Leaders who are hungry to understand strategy, and can translate the "why" and "how" to their teams will continue to be critical in the years to come at UVA Health.

Angelina Fakhoury-Siverts, MSN, RN. Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at City of Hope Cancer Center Chicago: This is a great question that generates a very dynamic discussion! As a chief nursing officer, the leaders that have become most essential to both me and my organization are the leaders that come to the table with a solution. Leaders must feel empowered by their executive leadership team to not only bring forward opportunities for improvement, but also a way to optimize that opportunity with a solution. 

I strive for my nursing leaders to feel that empowerment and contribute to positive outcomes. The more solutions brought forward by your front-line leaders, the more you as an executive can mentor and support the parts of their proposed solution that will work well and what needs improvement. Solution-oriented leaders become more invested in the rationale behind change management and find the environment more collaborative rather than hierarchical.

Julie Oehlert, DNP, RN. Chief Experience and Brand Officer of ECU Health (Greensville, N.C.): Leaders who have an un-siloed view of their work and can function in highly matrixed and ambiguous circumstances are essential during this time in healthcare. Their lens helps everyone to see healthcare issues and possibilities in a holistic way, leading to better problem solving and much better outcomes. Leaders who are highly empathetic and understand that their success is built on the wellness and well-being of their teams will rise up to be the most impactful leaders during this chaotic time in healthcare. And leaders who have true listening skills, that use multidimensional listening through several channels: down into the organization, across the organization, with peers, and out into the community will be the champions of innovative change in healthcare now.

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