HEALTHCARE ENTERPRISE: A Decade of Leadership | Leadership Health Care, LHC, Nashville Health Care Council, Judith Byrd, Caroline Young, Mark Wainner, Healthcare Programming, Nashville’s Healthcare Industry

(L-R), Mark Wainner, vice president finance operations for AmSurg and new LHC board chair, Tal Lefler, vice president corporate finance group for GE Healthcare Financial Services, and Kelly Miller, senior consultant for Kraft Healthcare Consulting, networ
Leadership Health Care Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

On July 19, Mayor Karl Dean will join healthcare officials at LP Field to celebrate Leadership Health Care’s (LHC) 10 years of success.

“Over a decade ago, a group of young, up-and-coming healthcare executives realized there was a need to establish a forum within Nashville’s healthcare industry for their generation,” said Judith Byrd, LHC director. Since it beginnings, LHC has supported emerging industry leaders through diverse programming including educational forums, industry briefings and tours, networking events, mentoring opportunities and delegations to Wall Street and Washington, D.C.

“The history of Nashville’s healthcare industry is filled with legendary leaders who have dynamically impacted how healthcare is administered both here in Nashville and across the country,” noted Caroline Young, president of the Nashville Health Care Council. “Leadership Health Care was started by the Nashville Health Care Council in 2002 as a way to connect those leaders with the next generation — a generation who will leave their own mark on healthcare. By cultivating tomorrow’s innovators and leaders, LHC continues the legacy of growing Nashville’s healthcare family tree.”

Byrd agreed, saying LHC is already making good on that promise. “When you look at many of those original board members, they have gone on to have very successful careers. A lot of them hold top leadership and C-suite positions within the industry.” She added, the focus in 2002 and in 2012 has always been on supporting the next generation of leadership, which in turn supports the continued success of Nashville’s $70 billion healthcare industry.

“For 10 years, Leadership Health Care has been playing a critical role in Nashville,” said Michael Drescher, founding chairman of LHC and director of Network Communications at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. “LHC has created a forum where the next generation of healthcare leaders can brainstorm, discuss policy and solve problems. Businesses are grown from these discussions; this is what has helped Nashville become and remain the healthcare industry capital.”

Mark Wainner, vice president financial operations for AmSurg and the 2012-13 chair of the LHC board of directors, said he believes the uniqueness of the organization stems from the willingness of established industry leaders to share their time and talent. From the founding and ongoing support of the Health Care Council to the quality of guest speakers at LHC events to the briefings by key decision-makers during the delegation trips, Wainner said LHC members enjoy unprecedented access to thought leaders.

“I don’t think there’s anything like it in the country,” he added. “It’s a unique opportunity I don’t think you’ll be able to experience through membership in an organization in any other place.”



LHC hosts a range of programs to sustain its mission of industry support and leadership development. “The programs bring together a diverse set of professionals who are able to learn from each other,” said Byrd. Wainner agreed, noting, “The programming that is offered is a great way to immerse yourself … (it’s) all healthcare-related but different sectors of healthcare.”

Calling the roundtable events the ‘bread and butter’ of LHC’s programming, Byrd explained these sessions are “executive briefings with up to 100 people for a discussion with an established industry leader who will share their thoughts on given key industry topics, as well as career advice.”

Byrd added the goal is to present information on current topics impacting healthcare delivery. Recent programs have included briefings by Emdeon CEO George Lazenby on health information technology, TennCare Director Darin Gordon on the state health exchange program, and BlueCross BlueShield President and COO Bill Gracey on the payer side of health reform.

Mentoring is another key component of LHC. In addition to providing a liaison from the Nashville Health Care Council board to sit on the affiliated LHC board, the parent organization began a full board-to-board mentoring program three years ago. Byrd explained, “We match people into partnerships for really unprecedented access to an established industry leader who provides career support, advice and suggestions to an emerging leader.”

She continued, “I think Nashville has an extremely unique healthcare industry culture, and we’re proud of that. There’s a distinct camaraderie and collegial spirit that doesn’t exist in other marketplaces. The willingness of legendary leaders to mentor is just one visible component of that activity.”

Wainner added there is also peer-to-peer mentoring options and said additional programming was recently approved to further foster the development of healthcare leaders through interaction with thought leaders.

The two trade missions are LHC’s signature events. Each year, LHC takes approximately 100 young executives to Washington, D.C. and hosts a similar biennial trip to Wall Street. The organization has become famous for its impeccable timing. Recent trips have coincided with major historic events including signing the Affordable Care Act into law and the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

In D.C., Wainner noted, the agenda contains “names that we all recognize if we’re tracking health policy in the U.S.” He added the delegations are all about education, information and networking … both with national decision-makers and with each other.

While getting to know colleagues across the healthcare spectrum is an important part of all LHC events, the organization hosts two large networking receptions a year specifically designed to mix business with pleasure. There’s always a holiday reception and awards program at the end of the year and a summer reception, which will coincide with the anniversary celebration this year.

“It’s been a great opportunity for me to hear about other sectors of the healthcare industry, which has helped me with the strategic planning for my own company,” Wainner noted of building both business relationships and friendships.



In that first year, LHC counted 120 young executives in its membership. In 2012, that number has risen to 650 individuals ... and Byrd anticipates membership to top 700 by the end of the year. She said membership is open to any “motivated young professional” and could be accomplished simply by joining online at

The organization clearly is meeting and exceeding members’ expectations. Byrd cited data from the 2011 LHC membership survey, noting 88 percent of members said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the organization; 94 percent said they were likely to renew their membership; and more than 90 percent said they were likely to recommend LHC to a friend.

A great resource for individuals on the front end of their healthcare careers, the organization also attracts those who already hold senior-level positions within their organizations. In fact, 51 percent of LHC members hold C-level management positions and one-third have the title of partner.


Anniversary Celebration

On July 19, more than 300 are expected to gather at LP Field West to celebrate LHC’s first decade. “Leadership Health Care will be proud to receive a proclamation from Mayor Karl Dean recognizing the anniversary,” said Byrd. She added the organization had also received a proclamation from the Metro Council in May.

At the event, LHC will debut a video and release a commemorative book featuring highlights from the organization’s 10 years of programming and activities. LHC’s 10th anniversary celebration is supported by sponsors Bass, Berry & Sims, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, Gresham, Smith and Partners, First Tennesee, Deloitte, and Revive Public Relations.