2 years ago
Women in Leadership: Bernadette Kelleher
This month's Women in Leadership series features president of High Line Health, Bernadette Kelleher. High Line Health is a One Call Company offering robust visual analytics solutions to employers, payers, physician organizations and accountable care organizations. Outside of work, Bernadette serves as the secretary for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Westchester/Fairfield Chapter.
What have you learned about leadership in your role as President of High Line Health?
When I became President of High Line Health, I knew that to effectively lead the organization, it was important to respect the knowledge and capabilities of the team in place. Although I was very familiar with the company and the product, there was an opportunity for me to learn – especially the technology and data platform. Another important characteristic I learned as a leader is not to prematurely impose structures from other organizations. The team I inherited was already working together effectively so instead of coming into the new role with all the answers, I observed and listened to gain a collective evaluation of what was working and then looked at opportunities for improvement.
How do you measure success as a leader and among your team?
I always set the bar high for myself. It’s important for me to continually look at ways to develop the company by evaluating what we are doing today and also identifying tomorrow’s opportunity.
In terms of my team’s success, I like to conduct strategy sessions where we review opportunities together as a team to leverage our experience and identify lessons learned. In the technology field, we monitor the environment to ensure we are constantly growing and remaining relevant. We continually evaluate where we fit in the spectrum of products and services offered
What is your approach to making long-standing relationships within your company?
It’s important to build good relationships with employees in order to influence, motivate and encourage even better performance as a team. In addition, you need to invest in your employees as well as perform the task at hand. I work towards continuous, open communication not just around performance, but most importantly, around development. Motivating your staff to participate in training programs and establish developmental goals, whether that’s formal education or another opportunity, keeps them engaged and energized. We spend so much time together at work, it is easy to forget that everyone has competing priorities outside of work. I try to make an extra effort to be available and flexible to provide my employees the support they need, recognizing they are balancing their day inside and outside of the office.
What made you want to join the Board of your local Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Chapter and how has it impacted your perspective in leading High Line Health?
My daughter was diagnosed six years ago with Type 1 Diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin. It was a learning experience to manage her medication and help her manage this condition. As a family, we participated in fundraising walks but I decided I wanted to be more involved in finding a cure which is JDRF’s mission. Today, technology is transforming healthcare more than ever before. These advances have helped to further research on new treatments impacting not only my daughter’s life, but millions of others. I want my team to be well positioned in the technology field and creating innovative solutions to help support health care access, delivery and decision making.
What are the qualities you promote to inspire greatness?
"At the cornerstone of everything I do is integrity."
Accessibility, accountability, respect and humility are also essential in the way we approach our work as well as how we treat our colleagues. Creating an environment of frankness, where questions and discussions are encouraged – especially related to data integrity and accuracy – is vital. There has to be a willingness to learn from each other.
What strategies would you offer to the next generation of leaders who are looking to move careers and climb the corporate ladder?
I would encourage people to take on new challenges and look at ways to improve the approach to your existing work. Be a life-long learner, whether that be through formal education or something as simple as staying informed about the latest trends by reading trade newsletters. I’ve always tried to connect the dots between the broader environment (local or national) and what my team is actively working on to provide a broader perspective.
What resources do leaders need most?
"You need to surround yourself with good people, whether it’s your employees, your colleagues or peers in other organizations."
It’s really important to have a team of employees that you can rely on, that can be flexible and ideally grow and adapt over time. To help get broader perspectives, there’s incredible value in networking. Find local or national chapters and charitable programs, even if it’s in a different field.
I recently started reading Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. It’s about why some teams build together and why some don’t. It talks about the dynamics of teams, what matters most and how to bring balance back into the workplace. I previously listened to Sinek’s TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, and I recommend it to anyone.