Why North Memorial Health's Dr. Carolyn Ogland ditched career balance for focusing on the moment

Carolyn Ogland, MD, learned from an early age how healthcare workers can help patients and their families, and that continues to be her focus as CMO of Robbinsdale, Minn.-based North Memorial Health.

Dr. Ogland became CMO of the North Memorial Health system in May 2019, after serving as CMO of ambulatory services.

Before joining North Memorial Health, Dr. Ogland was vice president of clinical primary care at Ascension Medical Group Wisconsin and vice president of medical affairs at Madison, Wis.-based SSM Health Dean Medical Group.

Here, she answers Becker's questions for women in healthcare leadership: 

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

Question: Who had the biggest influence on your decision to go into healthcare?  

Dr. Carolyn Ogland: My father's best friend was a physician who made a deep impression on me when my dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was 13. The care, commitment, kindness and knowledge he demonstrated to our family during a truly turbulent time was life-changing. I saw early on how a dedicated physician who is authentic can truly help a patient and their loved ones.

Q: What do you enjoy most about being in the industry?

CO: I still think of medicine as a calling to care for patients and their families. For me, [it] has always been a privilege to be able to care for patients and have the opportunity to work toward improving the delivery of the care by always keeping patients/customers as our primary focus.

Q: What is the greatest challenge you face as a female leader?

CO: In my younger years, it was, not surprisingly, trying to strive toward "balance" with a career and family. A female mentor of mine pulled me aside and shared a different view: adaptability. Her point was balance means you are not moving, where adaption means you literally focus on what is needed in the moment. Moving away from trying to achieve "balance" was one of the best pieces of advice I have been given.

Q: How do you relax outside of the C-suite?  

CO: Cycling in the spring, summer and fall; downhill skiing in the winter (and then dreaming about skiing the rest of the year), hiking, pretending to be a great chef and needlepoint.

Q: How do you stay inspired on hard days?  

CO: I keep my focus on the mission — the privilege of taking care of patients and our commitment to improve the care and experience.

Q: What is your daily mantra?

CO: Gratitude — for my family, friends and working at North Memorial Health.

Q: What do you consider your greatest career success? 

CO: Hopefully, it is yet to come. In retrospect, it is the ability to build teams and create succession plan to ensure future success for the continued improvement in the complete care delivery system for our patients.


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