2021 HEALTH LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE INSPIRES, ENGAGES PATIENT GROUP LEADERS

By Jennifer Schleman, Assistant Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Patient group and nonprofit Chief Executive Officers, Board leadership, and other key staff gathered virtually for the 2021 Health Leadership Conference on February 10 and 11. More than 174 attendees, representing 66 NHC voluntary health agency (VHA) and nonprofit member organizations, connected and learned from each other and thought leaders who spoke on organizational success, health policy, leadership, philanthropic trends, and much more.

The event kicked off with a keynote from Jon Levy of The Influencers, where he shared how he has spent more than a decade exploring the key factors that contribute to doing what it takes to accomplish what is most important. Levy’s keynote was followed up by an interactive session on day two in which he led participants though a  coaching session using live examples from two CEO attendees, Dr. Lisa Simpson, President and Chief Executive Officer of AcademyHealth; and Daniel Gillison, Chief Executive Officer, NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Attendees also met NHC’s new Chief Executive Officer Randy Rutta during a fireside chat with NHC Board Chair Diana Gray. Rutta said he is “is ready to go and sees the NHC as the organization to inspire the transformation of health care.”

Kelly Brantley, an HLC regular from Avalere Health shared her best thinking on what could be in store for health care policy during the Biden Administration and under a Democrat-controlled Congress.

Stacy Palmer, Editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, shared insights and data regarding the philanthropic sector and noted the biggest trend  is that organizations view the current environment as an opportunity to reset things that weren’t working before the multiple crises of 2020. Michael Osso, President and CEO, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation; and Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director, The Trevor Project, engaged with Palmer via a reactor panel, sharing their perspectives on the impact of the events of 2020 on their respective organizations.

Day two kicked off with two concurrent sessions. During the first, tailored for Board members, Lynn Borton, Host, Choose to Be Curious, combined the best of science, organizational learning, and leadership development to inspire attendees on how their board service can provide the greatest value.

In the second session, for patient group and nonprofit CEOs, Mark Wooters, Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield, and a panel of his colleagues, offered insights on assessing the real-estate landscape to realize immediate efficiencies and opportunities while trying to make decisions about the short- and long-term future of both the workforce and the workplace. Tim Phillips, Chief Legal and Risk Officer, American Cancer Society; Laura Thrall, President and CEO, Epilepsy Foundation; and Kenneth Mendez, Chief Executive Officer and President, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, in a reactor panel, outlined several concerns including accelerating a planned downsize in real estate footprint for the organization; the need for negotiations to be a two-way street between landlords and nonprofits; and how to keep employees safe while enhancing the culture of the organization.

The closing keynote was delivered by Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, Dean, Robert A Knox Professor, School of Public Health, Boston University, who spoke to his fascinating work on COVID-19, and the “two pandemics” of physical and mental health, and his pioneering work that demands a more equitable health system to address the whole health of individuals.

The 2021 Conference was chaired by Nancy Berg, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, ISPOR; and Cassandra McCullough, MBA, Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director, Association of Black Cardiologists.

Conference sponsors included premier sponsors Bristol Myers Squibb, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, and Novartis; leading sponsors Johnson & Johnson, Neurocrine Biosciences, PhRMA, and Sanofi; reception sponsors Amgen, Bluebird Bio, EQRx and REGENXBIO Inc.; and supporting sponsor Lilly.

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