“Never be afraid to re-energize, re-focus and go on to think of new things.” This was one piece of advice shared at the ninth annual Women in Leadership event on Nov. 2. The discussion – moderated by Guardia Banister, RN, PhD, executive director of the Institute for Patient Care – focused on the topic “Getting ahead in health care.” Panelists were Cathy Minehan, chair of the MGH Board of Trustees, and Rose Sheehan, MBA, vice president of Revenue Cycle Operations for Partners HealthCare. Below are some of their answers to audience questions and advice learned during their long and successful careers:

On strategies that contribute to success:

Never underestimate the power of asking for something. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it. -CM

Work really, really hard to prove yourself and you’ll be more likely to be given opportunities. -RS

First and foremost, be excellent at what you do. -RS

Anyone can do the easy thing, but take on the difficult challenges; those are what will make you really stand out. -RS

Negotiation is about trust and building relationships, identify how both parties can be successful, how to problem solve together to make it better for everyone. -CM

On what makes a great leader:

A leader has to create an environment in which every single person feels they are contributing to the greater good. Like the man sweeping the stairs at NASA who is asked ‘What are you doing?’ to which he replies ‘I’m putting a man on the moon.’ -CM

Creating an environment in which the primary questions of the organization – is it succeeding? how are leaders perceived? – bring about excellence in a fashion that is as free from conflict of interest as it can be. -CM

Doing the right thing in the right way. -CM

There is nothing wrong with trying something, recognizing it may not be working and revisiting it. We must be able to realize and admit when something wasn’t the right decision. -RS

On how to move up in your career:

Don’t get hung up on titles – grow your skills until you can move up, maybe higher, but there are ways to grow sideways if not up. Sometimes you need to move outward in order to move upward. -RS

Put yourself out there, look for opportunities and let people know you want to grow. -RS

On work/life balance:

Find a network of people to help— neighbors, friends, family and others. -CM

Kids benefit from seeing people interact in the real world. Have open and honest conversations, know things will never be perfect but will be the best you can make them be. -CM

Be comfortable that you are making the best decisions for you. Life is short. Go pursue your passion and do whatever it is that makes you happy. -RS

We have to be active participants in the lives we are living. Never be afraid to re-energize, re-focus and go on to think of new things. –CM

The MGH Women in Leadership Program brings together MGH women in management roles to network, build relationships and share stories about leadership.



Read more articles from the 01/13/17 Hotline issue.