Identity ReLaunch John Walker

Associate Highlight | Chief Resource Officers

News

April 24, 2019 by The Resource Group

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Q: Hi John! Thanks for joining the call today! Can you give our audience a quick overview of your background and how you got to the CRO role? 

Hello! My professional career started over 25 years ago in distribution where I served in a variety of roles including account development, sales, and operations. I eventually worked my way up into more executive level positions where I served as a vice president and as a director of business integration. At the time I was looking for a role that aligned more directly with my personal and spiritual values. I also wanted to be in a role where I could feel and see the impact of my work on patients and the caregivers supporting those patients. This is when I transitioned to The Resource Group as the Chief Resource Officer for the Jacksonville market for three years before transitioning to the Texas market where I have been since 2015. 
Outside of the healthcare industry, I have experience serving in the Military where I gained skills that I still rely on today in my CRO role. 

Q: How do you define the CRO role and why is the CRO role crucial in our industry? 

When you look at healthcare leadership, there is representation encompassing the clinical and standard operational areas, Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Information Officer, just to name a few. Resource and Supply Management, being the second largest portion of spend for a healthcare facility, should be considered a standard operational area and as such should have representation at the leadership level. Historically, this has normally not been the case, resulting in a disconnect between a healthcare organization’s strategic direction and their resource and supply management function. The Resource Group changed this dynamic by creating space for resource and supply management to be included in those strategic level conversations which has created a lot of bi-directional value. For example, because CROs are ‘at the table’ and engaged in discussions about service-level needs, we can ensure the resource and supply chain management function is providing actionable, direct support for our caregivers and their patients. 

Q: What does ‘service’ mean to you and how does that differ from ‘hospitality’? 

To me ‘service’ is doing what is expected as conveniently as possible for a recipient. ‘Hospitality’ is completing ‘service’ with a smile and with empathy. It is an opportunity to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and go above and beyond, even if it is not your responsibility. I like to tell our Texas team, the best way to provide hospitality is to turn difficult, sometimes negative conversations into something positive. Whether that be through the way we communicate, or by going the extra mile, this ability to be hospitable is what differentiates our work and makes us the ‘go-to’ group for delivering value for our end-users. 

Q: You mentioned there are times where you must have tough conversations. As a CRO, your role is not always easy. What keeps you motivated on those days where you may lose energy? 

I think many leaders, throughout all types of industries, have moments where they wish life and work were easier. I have learned that it is important for me to keep these situations in perspective and I have found several strategies to do this.  As a CRO, I am really blessed with the burden of these challenging moments and it is in these situations that I really try to reflect our mission of our parent organization, Ascension, to all who are involved.  I also personally gain perspective through seeing our caregivers do what they do best for our patients and their families.  For me, this means making a visit to our incredible children’s hospital, which is located very close to our offices.  When I witness our staff caring for the children and their families, who are probably going through the most difficult and vulnerable times of their lives, it brings to life the purpose of my vocation.  The reality is that the problems I might be facing are nothing compared to that of the families at our children’s hospital. I immediately become re-invigorated to continue facing those ‘tough moments’ as I know the work that we are doing can make a difference in the lives of those same families as we work to continue to deliver the highest quality, affordable care.