Meet 9 women leaders in hospital supply chain

At the end of 2023, the Journal of Healthcare Contracting interviewed nine women supply leaders in the healthcare industry. 

The nine leaders, spanning from Mayo Clinic to Trinity Health, answered questions on their career paths and professional growth. Below are excerpts from their discussions with the publication. 

Ginger Henry. Vice President of Supply Chain for Legacy Health (Portland, Ore.): I try to be aware of my areas where I have opportunities to grow and consider how I can work on these areas. I also realize that it's okay to not be the best at everything — it's just fine! I try to understand my strengths and know when I have team members with expertise in areas where I may not be as strong and let them shine. Leaders need to know when to listen, when to act and when to stand back and let others do their work.

As a learner, I also listen to business-related podcasts, enjoy reading and [listening to] audiobooks, and networking, even outside the supply chain or healthcare industry. I also recommend leaning in on projects that may be completely unfamiliar to you. You can meet new people, learn different styles and see how other parts of the organization work. This is how I ended up in supply chain (coming from operations)!

Mina Holland. Vice President of System/Corporate Supply Chain for KPC Global Management: One way I focus on my leadership growth is my willingness to be a great role model for my three sons, Anthony, Patrick III and Christopher. I want them to know that the work is never done, and you must always keep working to improve yourself and grow in your leadership role. Another focus I have is providing our founder and chair, [Kali Pradip Chaudhuri, MD], with my best efforts to be the greatest supply chain professional on his team. It is important to me that all KPC hospitals are led by a strong and efficient supply chain department. Lastly, my focus also comes from my love for being a supply chain leader. I work hard and long hours in the office (thanks to my husband Patrick's understanding) to become the best supply chain leader possible. I look forward to the next 20-plus years of growth and work within healthcare supply chain.

Laura Johns. Administrative Director for Supply Chain and Support Services for Cleveland Clinic: In general, I have a growth mindset where I am always trying to learn new things and take on new challenges. It keeps things exciting and I feel fortunate to be in healthcare where the landscape is constantly changing and presenting new opportunities. Being a leader takes this to the next level because it's not just "you" to think about — you have a team that's relying on you to help them grow in their careers, too. As I take on new responsibilities, for example resiliency, I need to make sure I'm growing my team to take on new responsibilities so I can devote time to new initiatives. And as the team grows, you have to adapt your leadership style to their new skillset. It's a constant evolution.

Laura Kowalczyk. Vice President of Supply Chain and Support Services for UAB Medicine (Birmingham, Ala.): I sincerely believe that leadership is the most important responsibility that I have in my role. I have always been fascinated by what characteristics define a good leader. This fascination has led me to read about many leaders across many industries and to consistently seek feedback from other leaders, staff and experts formally and informally. I also participate in any opportunities offered through our many leadership developmental educational sessions, whether as a panelist, teacher or student. I am always so thankful to be able to listen and learn from other leaders on how they manage the many challenges of leadership in our complex environment.

Dameka Miller. Vice President of Strategic Sourcing and Value Analysis for Trinity Health (Livonia, Mich.): I study leaders across industries for reflection on leadership styles and philosophies that led to incredible successes and failures. I am most inspired by the podcast "How I Built This," featuring stories of entrepreneurs that built well-known brands and what they learned as they established their companies. It is also important for me to know how I am showing up and perceived by others, so I regularly ask for feedback from my own leader, who I trust and respect. I am purposeful about initiating the conversation to create space for honest, real-time observations. Finally, mentoring emerging leaders keeps my perspective fresh and offers insight into what motivates the next generation.

Sandra Monacelli. Vice President of End-to-End Supply Chain and Value Analysis for Premier's Nexera: As a leader, I’m just one person — but if I grow, then my whole team can grow, too. I'm also a nontraditional leader in that I'm consistently thinking and looking outside the box for new approaches, strategies and solutions that can enable improvement. I put myself out there and really try to immerse myself in different perspectives, and whenever I get the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, I jump at it.

Terri Nelson, BSN, RN. Senior Director Value Analysis for Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.): I have always been interested in learning new ways to achieve better outcomes for the staff I have worked for; yes, a good leader works for the staff they support. Over my career I have found that communication skills have the biggest impact. The ability to articulate what you do and the value you add to an organization is key. The other area of focus for me is to step out of my comfort zone, take risks and try new approaches.

Leann Spadaro. Director of Supplier Commercialization and Engagement for Premier: Career growth and developing my leadership skills are very important to me. To that end, I was nominated for and am currently participating in the Leadership Excellence at Premier program. Similar to a graduate-level program, the curriculum is mainly taught by Wake Forest University and focused on stirring passion for Premier, building leadership skills and bolstering career path opportunities. LEAP is enabling me to step outside my comfort zone and think differently about how I lead myself, my team and my organization.

Margaret Steele. Senior Vice President of Med-Surg, Lab and Blood, GPO Services and Delivery for Vizient: I try to surround myself with others who are comfortable providing their opinions and feedback. I know it's cliché to those in management, but I always try to hire people who are much smarter and have different experiences than me. I've also benefited from ongoing leadership learning and Vizient's dedication to continued education. Some terrific programs include Professional Women in Healthcare, Executive Leadership Impact Group and Texas Women's Foundation: Leadership Institute.

Jennifer Taylor. Director of Contracts for Universal Health Services (King of Prussia, Pa.): I have committed myself to being a lifetime learner and always thinking about what is next. Part of my passion as a leader is helping to develop the members of the department. I have developed educational and mentor programs dedicated to those who are early on in their career and those in their mid-career. We continually work on identifying new areas in which we can improve. We meet at least monthly where one person gives a presentation on a development topic and we engage in discussion. This gives the team an opportunity to work on not only their presentation skills but to learn something new and hopefully incorporate it into their professional or personal life. Continued growth and development is critical not just for myself but those around me.

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