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Good Leader Interview: Megan Remark, CEO of Regions Hospital

Next Friday, March 15, Megan Remark, CEO of Regions Hospital, is the speaker at the Good Leadership Breakfast Series. She’s a coaching client of our firm, someone who role models a well-blended life on The Seven Fs: faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun, and future. As one of the top leaders within the HealthPartners organization, she has a unique viewpoint on how care is being delivered in times of trauma, and also how our expectations as consumers are changing for our primary care. I interviewed Megan on a Friday afternoon, just before she and her daughter were headed for a remote, device-free vacation in Costa Rica. That fits with her insatiable appetite for the great outdoors, and family adventures.

Paul: What’s the most satisfying part about being the CEO of Regions – and on the executive team at HealthPartners?

Every endeavor in a hospital requires exceptional teamwork to get it right the first time. Regions Hospital has been listed among America’s 50 Best Hospitals in consecutive years.

Megan: It’s the deep pride in the work we do, and the care we deliver…and we have been improving a lot. That’s satisfying. Over the past few years we have been focused on “high reliability” to get it right the first time. It’s been getting better every year, and Regions Hospital was named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals a couple of years in a row now.

P: When did you know you wanted to be a hospital executive – how early?  Do you remember the specific time or reason?

M: Yes, during my sophomore year in college. I had a conversation with my Mom about my aspirations, when she said: “You should go into healthcare!” So I invested my classwork in Behavioral Science and Health and I loved it all. I got my start at the VA Medical Center and I’ve stayed in the field every day since then.

P: Who were your role models for good leadership, and the idea that goodness pays?

At a recent Good Leadership alignment retreat, Megan’s team created an impressive make-your-own pizza.

M: There was one specific woman from my first job who is 20 years older than me, her name is Mary. She saw in me things that I did not see – she became a mentor for 20 years. She is now retired. I just saw her for dinner last week, and she’s coming to hear me speak at the Good Leadership Breakfast next week! From her, I learned to share with people the goodness I see in them – I don’t assume they can see it too.

P: What’s the most difficult part about being a good leader – one who radiates goodness?

The higher you go in leadership, the more consistent you need to be in how you show up. You don’t get very many second chances to make that first impression. You are learning on a very public stage. It’s expensive in terms of reputation and effectiveness when you have a “bad day” in front of so many people.

P: Finally, what advice do you give to young leaders who want your job someday?

M: Healthcare is a team sport – you really need to work on your team building skills. My Regions Hospital team has 26 people on it. I have to get better as a team leader every day. And that means I have to also be a lifelong learner – this field is changing so fast.

If you want to meet Megan Remark, a handful of tickets still remain for the Good Leadership Breakfast next Friday, March 15. Get yours here.

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