Moving from Thought Leader to Action: Who are YOU in this work?

A recap from the C-Suite Panel at the 2013 International Relationship-Based Care Symposium



  • Craig Luzinski, COO of Creative Health Care Management


  • Tony Scibelli, VP of Faxton-St. Luke’s Healthcare
  • Mary Del Guidice, CNO of Pennsylvania Hospital
  • Margo Karsten, CEO of CHCM and interim CEO of Cheyenne Regional Medical Center

At the 2013 International Relationship-Based Care Symposium, three C-suite leaders were invited to the stage to share their thoughts on what it takes to navigate the current health care landscape and what will be needed to be successful in the future.

The audience found the transparency of the group refreshing. Here is what they had to say:


When mobilizing resources, what guiding principles do you use?

Mary: My team and I have a mantra:  “Keep the main thing the main thing.” I believe that there are two categories of things we do- we are either moving our vision forward or not. I say to my team, if what you are doing does not move the vision forward than stop doing it! We measure every decision, initiative and how we spend resources against our shared vision.

Tony: Try to be as real as possible. My team knows me as a person. I get my hands in all departments. I make an effort to shadow each person. I want to understand each job at the granular level.

Margo: Being the youngest of six kids, I struggled early on with my role and how I fit in. My dad gave me advice that I still listen to today, “You just be you.” I also think as leaders it’s important to hold our priorities in front of us so we don’t let work run our lives.


In turmoil, how have you stayed focused?

Tony: From a personal standpoint, I went through the exercise of creating a vision board. The vision board was a collage of all the things that were important to me. I kept the board in a place where I could see it every day, but no one else could see it. Within a year to 18 months, seven of the nine things on the vision board came to fruition. I am a huge advocate of self-reflection.

Margo: From a personal perspective, I always try to come from a place of gratitude and pause to ask myself, “What are you grateful for? What brings you joy?” I try to be joy-filled. I am also a huge believer in coaches; we cannot go at this alone. If I need support at work so I can be more present at home, I do not hesitate to ask my colleagues to get my back.

From an organization perspective, I always try to have an appreciative lens and focus on what is going well. I also employ a “realistic abundance” mentality.

Mary: From a work-life balance perspective, my team has kept me in check. I recently took a vacation and they told me that if they caught wind of me checking emails there would be consequences. I figured “What could be the worse they’d do?” Well, they made me stand up and sing the Philadelphia Eagles fight song, knowing I am a huge fan of an Eagles’ rival team. What I have learned is that my team can tell when I’m in need of a vacation, and they have no problem asking me when my next one is booked!

From an organization perspective, my team and I believe in being highly visible, accessible and adaptable so that in times of turmoil there is a constant flow of information.  All leadership is required to be present at 7 a.m.; we find that’s a critical hour. We have monthly staff forums on all shifts. When chaos happens, there is consistency because people know who we are and where to turn. It’s important to create structures, processes, and mechanisms so you can thrive in chaos.


As you envision the future, what competencies are needed?

Mary: A lot has changed in healthcare but will remain the same is what patients and staff value. There will be chaos, but focus on what is most important and the rest will come-Keep the Main thing the Main thing!

Tony: One of the most important competencies will be building teams and working with others. We cannot do this alone. The team has to trust each other. One of the best things you can do in building teams is over communicate and be really clear.

Margo: The three most important competencies that are needed in the future are: courageous authenticity, vulnerability, and resilience.


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