Leaders honoring leaders

Oct. 26, 2022

During my second term on the AHRMM board, I had the pleasure of working with then chair Brent Petty, whose theme for his term was “Leaders Leading Leaders.” That sentiment was alive and well at this year’s Bellwether League Foundation Induction and Recognition Event (BLFIRE). It was a night to celebrate, for multiple reasons. Not only was it the first time since 2019 that we were able to gather in person to honor individuals who have made meaningful contributions to the healthcare supply chain profession, it was also the 15th anniversary of the event. Third, and most notable for me was how this year’s class demonstrated the true value of collaborative and collective leadership.

Case in point: Among those inducted into the Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership was Teresa Dail, who also served as a chair of AHRMM. As the chief supply chain officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), Teresa was recognized for her entrepreneurial spirit, which has positioned her as the president of three wholly owned, for profit LLCs affiliated with VUMC. In her acceptance speech, Dail noted how another one of this year’s Bellwether inductees, Rosaline Parson, was in fact her mentor when they both served at Orlando Health.

Both Dail and Parson were trained as nurses and paved the path toward the clinically integrated supply chain. Rosaline specifically was credited with being one of the first healthcare leaders to pioneer “the concept of linking value analysis to self-contracting and self-distribution.” A prior Bellwether inductee, Barbara Strain, also noted as she introduced another honoree that Rosaline had also been one of her mentors, no doubt laying the seeds that led Barbara and others to form the Association of Healthcare Value Analysis Professionals.

In another testament to the level of respect for those recognized as Bellwethers, Jake Groenewald, who was inducted in 2021, jokingly explained how he had pulled rank over one of his directors to be able to introduce another one of this year’s honorees. Jake and Tom Lubotsky worked together at Premier as leaders in the field and in solutions consulting respectively and have remained both professional colleagues and close friends ever since. In his opening remarks, Jake noted Tom’s commitment to achieving positive results, for his organization, colleagues and patients. In his acceptance speech, Tom shared a very personal story about losing his twin brother to cancer at an early age, and how that propelled him to a career in healthcare.

Two other Bellwether honorees also shared a common connection. Dave Myers with Owens & Minor, who was recognized for his “customer first” philosophy, is no stranger to industry recognition. In 2019, he received the John F. Sasen award from the Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA), which is bestowed upon those who demonstrate exceptional leadership, commitment, and service to the healthcare products distribution industry and HIDA. Bellwether Hall of Fame status was also bestowed posthumously to John F. Sasen, Sr., the first recipient of the award that was later named in his honor. The former chief marketing officer for McKesson was credited with his ability to transition confrontational relationships between buyers and sellers into true collaborations.

Three other healthcare supply chain leaders were also inducted into the Hall of Fame:

Ed Hisscock, senior vice president, supply chain for Trinity Health, was recognized for his ability to bring together diverse groups of stakeholders to find solutions to some of heatlhcare’s most challenging problems. In the process, many of those who have had the opportunity to work for Ed, regardless of where they started, are now leaders in their own rights, serving as vice presidents in supply chain organizations across the country. As his nomination form stated, “Ed instills and inspires authenticity, a strong moral compass, balanced by a compassionate mindset in every interaction and decision that comes his way.”

Named by Harvard as one of the world’s top chief executives, former McKesson CEO John Hammergren was recognized for his strong leadership during times of crisis, his dramatic turnaround capabilities and most importantly his ability to instill a spirit of accountability and customer service among his employees and his personal commitment to openness and honesty with customers, regulators and the media.

Last but certainly not least, the Bellwether League honored healthcare consultant Sue Tyk whose distinguished nursing background has advanced supply chain operations wherever and for whomever she has worked. Friends and colleagues, and even Sue herself, says her experience as a nurse (who often nagged supply chain for products) gave her an appreciation for the importance of clinical and supply chain collaboration. As Sue noted in a magazine interview, “I realized you don’t have to be a clinician to help people.”

Finally, four emerging supply chain leaders received designation as Future Famers, an award given to those who have made significant contributions to their organizations and the profession in the first decade or so of their careers. This year’s Future Famers are:

·  Ryan Burke, vice president, strategic sourcing, Pandion Optimization Alliance

·  René Gurdían, assistant vice president, Supply Chain Finance and Strategy, Ochsner Health

·  Caroline Marion, manager, Supply Chain Clinical Engagement and Implementation, Novant Health

·  Allison Tidd, assistant vice president, Contracts, Atrium Health/Atrium Health Supply Chain Alliance

I have long recognized the importance of learning from history, to avoid repeating the same mistakes made in the past. But what the Bellwether League Foundation has taught me, most notably at this year’s 15th anniversary event, is it is even more important to learn from our leaders who go beyond being great at their jobs to make sure they are leading the next generation of leaders.