Wanted: Interdependence and Agility

On Friday, November 1, the Yale Healthcare Ecosystem and Yale Health & Life Sciences Club sponsored a Career Trajectories Panel, hosted by Zerrin Cetin ‘14, MPH-MBA ‘14 and Executive MBA student Wendy Davis ’14.

November 11, 2013

The distinguished panel of alumni from the Executive MBA in Healthcare Leadership program included:

Over 50 people attended, from the School of Management, School of Public Health, Yale Medical School, Graduate Arts and Sciences, and other graduates and undergraduates, and discussed the panelists’  personal career trajectories and transitions over pizza. 

Jimmy DeStephens described his path from engineer to auditor and onward into Mergers and Acquisitions. “We don’t ever know in our career that we have a set path….it was kind of all luck,“ but he emphasized the importance of seeing opportunities and taking them.  Al Kurose echoed the theme of serendipity: “We made a strategic decision to become an [Affordable Care Organization] at a time when it wasn’t clear what that would mean. It turns out to have been a real game changer for us, an important signal of tremendous symbolic import” to the market. “When intuition and some reasonable level of due diligence tells you to go, you go,” said Kurose.

Asked to reflect on her career path, Christina Mainelli recalled realizing she wasn’t happy working for a $60 billion company, and so resigned. She decided to have faith in her personal brand. An important early move for Mainelli was drafting a personal mission statement of what she wanted, and once she had clarity on specific features of the job she hoped for, the right opportunity, a C-level position in a small but growing healthcare company, was easier to see when it did arise. Having recently hired 150 people in 90 days for CareCentrix, Mainelli now understands the importance of delegation and relying on other people to get things done.

Kurose echoed this theme, advising: “Have a leadership experience where you empower people to accomplish the goals of the organization. Interdependence is a higher value than independence.”  With all the changes in healthcare delivery, “new types of analytics competencies are being defined right now,” continued Kurose.  According to Linda Craib, social capital is especially important in consulting. “Know what you can offer. And it’s nice if you can bring contacts with you.” Craib recalled the proverb: “People are people because of other people.”

The path less travelled is usually more important in your career. You are competing with a lot of people on the traditional path. 

When asked if he would repeat his path, DeStephens was unhesitant: “The path less travelled is usually more important in your career. You are competing with a lot of people on the traditional path. But the strategic value is in scarcity. There’s not a whole lot of people like me.” Kurose spoke of how valuable his clinical training and years as a primary care doctor were, in making him a more effective CEO to lead his large primary care organization. Craib feels her background as a young mother, who needed healthcare for her baby, formed her outlook on the industry today, especially in the areas of access and patient experience. About industry changes, Mainelli was upbeat. “I’m totally excited about home health right now. It’s a less expensive site of care, and people want to be there.” As for the rapid pace of changes in healthcare at present, Mainelli advised, “Lean in.”

Yale’s Healthcare Ecosystem originated as an independent study project by Nick Encina ’10. The Ecosystem’s mission is to address socio-economic and political issues in healthcare, drawing from the combined knowledge of Yale’s professional schools; to explore healthcare matters at a macro level and to consider each of our disciplines within a global framework; and to foster cross-disciplinary discussions.  The next Healthcare Ecosystem session will be Friday, February 21 on the topic: The Use of Data and Evidence in Health Care Decision Making. Watch for details or join the Health and Life Sciences Group for updates.

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Rob Martin

MBA for Executives, 2014