Dear North Carolina ACHE Fellows, Members and Student Associates,
Since I communicated with you last, I decided to do a bit of “secret shopping” and had my right hip replaced on February 25. I am doing great, thank you. Even someone of my long tenure in the healthcare field can occasionally be amazed about how far we have come. This procedure usually meant a two week hospital stay when I first started in the early seventies. I was in Carolinas Medical Center for 26 hours, stood up within 5 hours of surgery, and was climbing stairs the next morning before my discharge! Nursing and physical therapy were great! Thanks to many of you for your good wishes and notes. While I hope you never have to have this procedure, I can personally attest that knowing what I know now, I should have had this done two years ago when the orthopedic surgeon suggested it.
North Carolina will need to elect a Regent later this year! My three-year term is in its last year. The time has quickly gone by but thank goodness for term limits in ACHE! (Don’t you wish we had these in the U.S. Congress?). Requirements for becoming the Regent include being a Fellow or achieving Fellow status by Sept. 3, 2010. I want to commend all of our chapters that are doing a great job in our state in growing our membership. Regents are elected by the membership. I hope several of you will consider putting your name in consideration. It has been a high point in my professional life. It is hard work at times, but it is very rewarding. Please feel free to give me a call if you would be interested in serving.
Career development, including resume review, resume posting and position vacancies are all on the ACHE Web site, ache.org. As Regent, I am often contacted by members looking for positions in our state. I am glad to help, but often find that the member has not looked at the Web site and has not developed a network to assist in their search. If you are looking to make a career move, try and find a reasonable number of friends and colleagues in the field with whom you can confidentially share your career objectives. Make sure they have your up-to-date resume on file. As they hear about vacancies or receive calls and emails from executive search firms, your name should be top of mind. If you have five folks keeping their eyes and ears open for you, your potential for hearing about and seeking that perfect job is greatly improved.
If you think your career would be enhanced by having one or more mentors, you are right. It has been my experience, however that many healthcare young executives (and some not so young) do not know how to have a mentor. The answer is pretty simple: you need to ask! When you find that person in your organization or in other organizations who has been successful, made an impact and is someone whose advice you would seek, make the first move! Ask the person if you might call them or visit from time to time when you need advice about a particularly complex or challenging issue. While you may get turned down, most executives will be flattered by the question and say yes. You don’t even have to use the word “Mentor”, but with time and conversation, a professional relationship should develop and your career will be better for it. Mine certainly is.
I realize this message is a bit rambling but it tells what I am thinking lately: one, healthcare is more exciting and challenging than it ever has been; two, leadership of your organizations and in ACHE has never been more important; and three, with challenge comes opportunity and as you are seeking career opportunities, think ACHE, building a network and finding a mentor!
It is a privilege to be your Regent.
Fred T. Brown, Jr., FACHE
Regent for North Carolina