Healthcare Supply Chain Week | Associate Stories
October 10, 2018 by The Resource Group
Q: Good Morning Charity! Let’s start off by having you give a quick introduction on your career journey.
Charity: Hello! My current role is the Vice President and Area Chief Resource Officer (CRO) of the Wisconsin market; however, I did not start my career anywhere near the healthcare space. When I first graduated I ended up working in Finance where I was an account executive managing the distribution of loans. When the industry crashed, the reality of a layoff seemed inevitable, so I looked to branch off in a different direction and ended up as a Pharmacy sales rep. After multiple reorganizations, subsequent layoffs, and relocations, I decided to apply for a smaller medical device company out of California. Ironically, this company was bought by a larger group right as I started, so I ended up having to start the job process all over again and became a sales trainer for a larger healthcare group. Although it was a fun position, I wanted to learn a new skill set and challenge myself to learn something completely different than my career to that point. My sister-in-law, who at the time worked for The Resource Group, encouraged me to apply for an open position as a Contract Design Manager at The Resource Group System Office in St. Louis—and that’s when I started my journey here.
Q: Once you got to The Resource Group, what led you to your current role as Vice President and Area Chief Resource Officer?
Charity: I started as a Contract Design Manager working on the Capital Equipment team. I loved this role and it was an exciting experience, at the time, there was a lot of room for development and growth. However, I realized to be successful in this role I needed to understand the experiences of our end-users. So, whenever I could, I took the opportunity to travel to a Participant site, where I would shadow, ask questions, and learn about the end-user. Through this experience, I fell in love with the idea of leading integration activities with the Deployment team and when a position was available, I moved on as a Senior Manager. During deployment activities in Chicago, I received a call from the System Office asking me to serve as the Interim CRO in Wisconsin which then turned into my current role as Vice President and Area CRO.
Q: What is an important lesson you have learned in your time at The Resource Group?
Charity: One important lesson I have learned is how to influence others to accept change when the change is not welcomed. When I first took the role of CRO, our team was working on integration for a boutique Orthopedic group. Prior to the Orthopedic group joining The Resource Group, they owned all of their own supply chain processes and staffing, but during the acquisition of their parent organization, the Orthopedic group had to make quick decisions to join our solution or organically establish new systems to meet all their business needs. The latter option was extremely expensive and would have lacked efficiency for the Orthopedic group. As you can imagine, the reality of this situation did not make it easy for integration to occur. During this transition, our team had to search for the root of the problem and address it in order to implement change. In this situation, loss of autonomy was the barrier to acceptance of our solution. By realizing this, we were able to show our value in ways that meant something to those end-users. It took a lot of time and collaboration to gain trust, but in the end, the outcome was favorable.
Q: Can you share an example of when that collaboration has led to an innovation or best practice?
Charity: Most recently, our team in Wisconsin was tasked to do business transformation in a very short period of time—8 months instead of 18. At that time, business transformation was normally led by a separate team. however, in this situation, all the leaders of the different departments came together and decided to co-own the business transformation process so we could meet our deadline. Over the 8 months, there was a lot of collaboration and accountability as we all worked to own this process together. Each week we would gather together and start off by asking questions such as: “Do you need anything?”, “How can our team support yours?”, and “What can we do better?”. This allowed us to have open lines of honest conversation which led us to achieve our goal. This 8-month collaborative model is now used across new Participants, saving organizations 10 months’ worth of time and resources.
Q: What is one piece of advice you could give to others in healthcare and supply chain regarding successful collaboration?
Charity: Be genuine. Take the time to understand your end-user. You can easily do this by asking questions such as “How is your day going?”, “Anything I can do to help?”. By doing this you can be true to those who are experiencing change, be able to fully understand what they are going through, and find meaningful ways to make their everyday lives easier.
Q: Hospitality driven roles, such as yours, can take a lot of energy. What gives you motivation and keeps you going every day?
Charity: Two things: our mission and our people. I love waking up every day knowing I have an opportunity to make someone’s day better. For me, that is all I need. It happens to be a bonus that The Resource Group is filled with individuals who are dedicated, driven, and invigorated by change. Our teams do whatever it takes to provide a wonderful experience because they know a positive experience for our end-users is a positive experience for our patients and at the end of the day, that is what we are here for—to assist in providing exceptional patient care.