Catch up on past issues of HERe!
By Jennifer Erickson
I had the joy of interviewing the committee leading the HFMA
New Jersey Chapter's Annual Women’s Leadership and Development Session because, wow, they're impressive, fun, accomplished, creative, and did I mention fun? They had such a good time with their 2016
conference that I almost forgot to mention that they won a Yerger in 2016 for “Improvement,” which means that they have iterated their
methodology during the last three years and are a wonderful example of finding things that
Heather Stanisci, vice president of sales and marketing for Arcadia Recovery Systems, served as the committee chairperson, and she has a quirky
sense of humor that resulted in some hilarious marketing. Stacy Bigos, director of economic and financial information
for the New Jersey Hospital Association, Deb Carlino, director of healthcare compliance at Rutgers University, and
Belinda Puglisi, director of payer services for Children’s Specialized Hospital, also
joined our interview. This is the “we never
missed a call” type team that I love to interview. They brought their all to the
committee, which resulted in a collaborative effort in which each person felt
This New Jersey Chapter women’s programming committee has
increased attendance 100 percent since 2014 by breaking the bonds of traditional
healthcare programming and branching into more interactive participation, topped off with innovative marketing. But Stanisci said it best when she provided me with the “New Jersey Recipe for
Their ingredients included:
Mix it all
together, and that is their recipe for success! Stanisci’s recipe says it all, but let me expand on each ingredient so you can replicate their success in your own chapter.
The barista break is a must-have. Yes, a the New Jersey event featured a barista on site who mixed lattes and espressos for the afternoon break, which quickly became a high-energy networking
break. Stanisci commented: “We moved it [the barista break] from
the end of the day last year to the afternoon break, and we got more networking, plus, IT WOKE EVERYONE UP!” She added, “This year, at the very end of the day, everyone was still there and
engaged.” This small tweak made a huge difference.
After the 2015 evaluations, which highlighted requests for "more interaction, please," the New Jersey chapter added topics such as, “How to Master Crucial Conversations,” which
engaged participants by bringing to life, gut wrenching or not, those "difficult conversations, whether personal life or work life." Last year, they held an interactive session on
self-defense during the networking session, which was a big hit.
My favorite value-add was the bring-a-friend pricing. Let’s see, how do you promote the concept of inspire, learn, and
connect with other women? Oh yeah, bring-a-friend discount pricing! It's so well-aligned with the purpose of "Women lead here" that it almost smacks you in the
forehead with its brilliance. We all should consider ‘bring a friend’ pricing as standard practice.
My hat's off to HFMA National Women Lead HERe as well for
providing a framework for success. The New
Jersey chapter gives credit to using the national framework to establish a strategy
for success. I see it in the well-planned agenda to keep the flow and follow the theme, and I hear it in the weekly
collaborative committee calls that are so necessary for early success. Most importantly, I feel it
in the gloves-off creativity and breaking the rules of old.
The New Jersey chapter’s best example of break-away program innovation is evidenced in their hysterical weekly
marketing emails. Seriously, the email
to promote the sponsored professional head shots is so funny that you could not
ignore this marketing campaign. In fact,
their open rate on
this program’s emails was double that of all prior program marketing! Their committee created a template for a weekly email marketing piece to target one
highlight of the program per week. The idea, as echoed by each person on the call,
“everyone can find one thing they want to see, hear or do at the conference, so
we needed to get that one thing in front of them.” The weekly emails used pictures and catchphrases to earn the reader’s attention quickly, yet they offered a brand
flow. And, yes, it showed up in the increased attendance as well.
In addition, this conference is the most significant example
that I have seen yet of the full integration of female and male leaders, speakers, and panelists on the agenda. The topic
of “is this a women’s only conference?” is making its way across the chapters
and is a natural evolution of any market segmentation. Are we inclusive or exclusive? Why? Stanisci put it well when she said, “Leadership education, mentoring, and experience should
come from men and women. Speakers and panelists should be both male and female
because in her own career, men as well as women have played a crucial role in
I enjoyed the conversation immensely, and as this market
segmentation for women’s programming continues to evolve, I encourage each of us to
take the same approach we are preaching: The best person for the job is who
should fill the position—for the same pay and title. Thus, if the best speaker for a women’s
leadership program happens to be male, should we not simply be gender
blind? Should we encourage male participants
who are integral in encouraging gender parity, until we all become gender
neutral and ultimately gender blind? Clearly, attendees enjoyed the male and female speakers alike, as they
equally received high marks on the evaluations.
I am not encouraging you to fill a quota of male speakers, but I
am asking that we not exclude anyone from the conversation of gender parity,
neutrality, and blindness. In fact,
remove the word ‘gender’ and just develop leaders: That is what I learned from
this interview. Well, that and the New
Jersey chapter has a rock star, fun-filled committee.
Jennifer Erickson is CEO of Kirk LLC. She is based in Scottsville, Ariz.
The HERe initiative is an effort that aims to inspire not only women but men invested in the professional development of women leaders in the health care field with the tools and resources they need to succeed. We hope to inspire one another, learn together, and connect with colleagues across the industry.
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