In this episode, we’re pleased to welcome back Randi Deckard, BESLER’s Senior Vice President of Client Engagement, to discuss her experience at the recent HFMA Lone Star Women’s Dinner.
Highlights of this episode include:
- HFMA Lone Star Women’s Dinner
- Why it’s important to attend professional events like these
- How to determine which events to attend
- Tips when attending events
Kelly Wisness: Hi, this is Kelly Wisness. Welcome back to the award-winning Hospital Finance Podcast. We’re pleased to welcome back Randi Deckard, BESLER’s Senior Vice President of Client Engagement. Randi has more than 20 years of healthcare experience with a focus on managing customer success and growth. She is customer obsessed and is currently an ambassador for the Value Exchange, an online skill-building community for customer service, customer experience, and marketing teams. Randi holds a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Science from the University of Alberta, is NPS certified, and is an active member of the HFMA. In this episode, Randi will discuss her experience at the recent HFMA Lone Star Women’s Dinner. Thank you for joining us today, Randi.
Randi Deckard: Thank you so much for having me back, Kelly.
Kelly: Well, let’s just jump into it today. Randi, can you tell us a little about the recent event you attended?
Randi: Absolutely. So, the Lone Star HFMA has held a Women’s Leadership dinner event for the past few years. And this year, Tammy Walsh, who is the president-elect, moderated a discussion with Kelly Macken-Marble, who is the CEO of Osceola Medical Center, and Lenetra King, who is the founder and managing director of Watch Me EXCEL. And the panel was to hear how these women leaders navigated workplace politics, mentors, and sponsors during their leadership journey.
Kelly: Well, sounds like an impressive group of women there.
Randi: It absolutely was. Interestingly enough, Kelly, there were a few men at the event, and it was discussed that going forward, they’re going to rename events. It’s really about leadership for the HFMA members, and by having the title Women in the event, it might discourage men from attending.
Randi: So, we hope to see more men at the event next year.
Kelly: Very good. And what were your initial reasons for wanting to attend this event?
Randi: This is one of my favorite events of the year. As a leader myself, I really enjoy hearing other people’s perspective, and it’s an opportunity to come together and collaborate with other leaders, hear their journey. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel. I can learn from someone else and then also share the load.
Kelly: Yes, most definitely. And overall, what was your impression of the event, and would you attend it again?
Randi: The event was amazing this year. It was actually held at the Montclair in Collierville, and there was a silent auction, first off. One of the things that Lone Star does with this event is they help raise money for a charity. This year it was for Girls, Inc., which is a Dallas-based nonprofit. So, there was a silent auction, and then there was a dinner, and then, of course, the panel, and then there was also some time afterwards to network. And they did a great job on the dinner. The panel was fantastic. And yes, I would definitely attend again, looking forward to next year, although it won’t be called the Women’s Dinner.
Kelly: And why do you think it’s important to attend professional events such as this one?
Randi: So, I think it’s really important to attend events, as a leader, one is to certainly get a fresh perspective, to hear from other people. And as a leader, I also think it’s important to talk to other people, whether they’re in similar roles as yourself or kind of what I call parallel roles, just to see what you can maybe do differently or maybe how you can think differently. And also, sometimes you may be going through a challenge, and you can talk to your peers and you can see how they’ve handled that particular challenge. And in this particular event, while it was a panel and we did have a Q&A session at the end, several topics that they brought up impact leaders, whether you’re a more seasoned leader or new leaders, one of the things they talked about was gaslighting. And amazingly enough, a lot of people hadn’t heard of gaslighting before. And gaslighting is just basically when you have a leader above you who basically makes you feel like you’re not doing your job and makes you feel a little bit crazy, like you’re not doing your job, when in fact it’s really them and they kind of are undermining you and your efforts. And the other thing that was talked about was being proactive for yourself and being able to say no. And this all wrapped around– there’s a huge discussion around culture, which I think in healthcare, the industry specifically, there are a lot of staffing challenges, and a lot of organizations are struggling with retaining staff. So, culture and your leadership will also impact and reflect that. And so those are just some of the examples of why an event like this can be very helpful, that you can bring back information to your organization and help you yourself as a leader. And then also just because when I work with clients, if there’s any tidbits that I can share when I’ve attended events like this, I think it’s a great way to add additional value outside of the professional services or software that we offer.
Kelly: Definitely. And with more and more events happening in person and with schedules and costs and you can’t attend them all, how do you determine which events to attend?
Randi: So, I kind of break it down. There are things that I want to, as a leader, make sure that I’m staying on top of trends. So, I look at events that can help me from an education perspective, professionally within my role, and then also professionally just in general as a leader. So those are two of my big priorities is what ROI am I going to get out of it, is it something that is going to A, help the company where I can potentially bring something back and move business forward. Or is it something that I can bring back and share with the staff or is it something professionally I can learn as a leader which once again impacts the organization that I’m at. And with schedules and costs, the great thing is some events are virtual, so there’s little to no charge, so you cannot necessarily so much worry about your budget. But especially when there is travel, I think it’s really important to look at the ROI. And sometimes it’s not about business ROI in the sense that you actually grow business, but it’s also about what you can do and how you can impact within the organization. That’s a little bit harder ROI to find, but in the long run, it can have a huge impact on the business.
Kelly: That makes a lot of sense. And do you have any tips for people who either haven’t attended an in-person event recently or maybe they haven’t attended an in-person event at all?
Randi: Absolutely. So, I think it’s really important when you choose to go to events to do a little bit of research on who maybe attends these events or looking up the speakers on LinkedIn, and especially if you’ve never attended an event in person or if it’s been a while since you’ve gone in person. One of the things that I think can be a little stressful for someone, especially if you’re an introvert or you get intimidated when there are large groups of people that maybe you don’t know anyone, or maybe you know a few people, but because it’s a larger group, it’s hard to find those folks, is trying to find out ahead of time, folks who might be attending or based on the speakers reaching out using LinkedIn. “Hey, I saw that you commented on this event. I see that you’re going, this is my first time or haven’t been to this event before. I’ve attended XYZ event. I would love to connect with you as a peer colleague.” And so when you get there, you can already maybe have some people that you’re looking forward to meeting. I know for myself, even this event, even though I’ve attended in the past and I’m an active member of the Lone Star, there were a few people that I hadn’t met before. And that was a tactic I used on LinkedIn because they posted the event and people commented. And that just gave me an opportunity to direct message them on LinkedIn, reach out. And so I felt like I had a better experience at the event because there were people that were looking forward to meeting. I got a chance to meet them. We chatted. I learned a bit more about them, and I have a few lunch dates set up, so it just helps for networking if you put a little bit of effort in beforehand. And LinkedIn is a great way, especially if they’re posting an event and people comment or share, that kind of gives you an indication either they’re going or they have an interest in going, and it’s a way to maybe kind of ease some of that pressure. And then, of course, when you’re there, don’t be shy. A lot of people are in the same boat as you. So, if you haven’t done that, you can still walk up and talk to people and learn a little bit about them. There are little icebreakers you can use about, “Hey, why did you decide to come to this event?” And it’s a great way just to get to know people. At this particular event, they set us at tables, purposely breaking people up who knew other people, to kind of force you, if you didn’t know those people, to get to know them, which is kind of nice.
Kelly: Well, those are some great tips. Thank you very much. And thank you so much for joining us today, Randi, and for sharing your event insights with us.
Randi: Thank you so much for having me, Kelly. It was a pleasure.
Kelly: And Randi, if someone wants to contact you or connect with you, how best can they do that?
Kelly: Fantastic. And thank you all for joining us for this episode of The Hospital Finance Podcast. Until next time…
[music] This concludes today’s episode of the Hospital Finance Podcast. For show notes and additional resources to help you protect and enhance revenue at your hospital, visit besler.com/podcasts. The Hospital Finance Podcast is a production of BESLER, SMART ABOUT REVENUE, TENACIOUS ABOUT RESULTS.
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