March 2001

Orientation Program Deepens Understanding of and Commitment to Catholic Health Initiatives


Denver sessions led by Senior Management Leadership Team

Recent attendees have endorsed Catholic Health Initiatives’ Leadership Orientation program as an opportunity to connect with other leaders and to gain a deeper understanding of the organization’s culture, mission and vision. "It is important for new leaders to have an orientation not only to Catholic Health Initiatives’ structure and operations, but to the kind of organization this is," said Diana Bader, OP, senior vice president of mission. "This program is designed to provide an understanding of our heritage and the fact that Catholic Health Initiatives is not just a business, but a ministry."

Even though he has worked in Catholic health systems for the past 14 years, Kenneth Tomlon, the new president and chief executive officer of Good Samaritan Health Systems in Kearney, Neb., found the program enlightening. "It was refreshing," he said. "The program reinforced the appropriateness of things that I think many of us do intuitively to apply the core values to both the business and spiritual sides of our organizations."

The one and one-half day orientation, designed for new members of market-based leadership teams and national resource groups, is currently held six times a year. All of the sessions are held in the Denver office, which facilitates the participation of Patricia A. Cahill, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health Initiatives, and other members of the Senior Management Leadership Team who serve as presenters. "A very important part of the program is Pat Cahill’s interaction with participants on a vision for the future of Catholic Health Initiatives," said Sister Diana.

"I was very impressed by the amount of time Pat Cahill spent with us, and with the openness and frankness of all the presenters," said Stephen Mansfield, president and chief executive officer of St. Vincent Health System in Little Rock, Ark. "The knowledge level of the national staff is very impressive, and I came away knowing who at the Denver office to contact for help on various issues."

Bill Sherer, president and chief executive officer of Mt. St. Joseph, Portland, Ore., said the program is valuable even for new leaders who already have experience within Catholic Health Initiatives. "I was with Mt. St. Joseph for a couple of years before being promoted to president and chief executive officer, so my perspective is different from that of someone who is completely new to Catholic Health Initiatives," he said. "Still, the program deepened my sense of connectedness to the organization and to the national staff. The organization’s senior managers commit a significant amount of time to their presentations, and that made an impression on me regarding their level of commitment to market-based leaders."

Catholic Health Initiatives encourages new leaders and resource group members to attend the program within three months of being hired or promoted. "The attendees seem to be energized by the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the organization, to interact with peers, to see the Denver office and meet the staff here," said Sister Diana. "Some of the market-based leaders say that they want to take this program back with them and offer it to their own employees and staff. While we don’t have the resources to provide the program in the market-based organizations, we are preparing a management development program for use within market-based organizations that will incorporate some of the same content."

For more information on upcoming Leadership Orientation programs, contact Mary Ann Maggard in the Northern Kentucky office at 859/594-3130 or mmaggard@chisvcs.org.