BLOG: Farewell from Alliance founder, Cathy K. Eddy
Cathy K. Eddy, Health Plan Alliance
When the Alliance started more than 20 years ago, I had no idea how the organization would evolve and my career along with it. As I step down as president, I feel the Alliance has exceeded all my expectations.
I’m incredibly honored by the Lecture Series that was unveiled at my retirement dinner at the Spring Leadership Conference and want to offer my sincere thanks to all of those that have contributed to funding it. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to many thought leaders over the years and they have shaped my thinking, challenged my assumptions, and provided new and interesting ideas that I have often shared with others.
The Lecture Series focuses on four key areas that are very important to me. Here’s my perspective on these four pillars of leadership:
There is strength in the collective knowledge of a group and the Alliance has allowed so many health plan professionals to connect with one another, ask questions and share what has worked and often, more importantly, what hasn’t. Our members generously share so much information to help others improve their performance. It’s hard to tell how much time or how many dollars have been saved by the conversations that take place among our members. I’ve watched careers change and professional and personal friendships develop over the years. I’m amazed at the power that exists within a positive collaborative environment. Collaborative leaders have built and strengthened the Alliance in so many ways.
It’s easy to come up with an idea, but it is hard work to execute them. Many of the members of the Alliance have tried different approaches, developed new products and services and looked for ways to drive the customer experience. Some of the best presentations over the years have highlighted their innovations that are driving value. The Alliance has had the opportunity to try new approaches – one of the most popular was the development of our value visits more than 15 years ago. These in-depth, targeted sessions came from asking ourselves two questions: 1) are we getting to the right people in the room 2) Are we giving them enough information to be able to replicate ideas in their plans. Over the years, we continued to offer innovative educational formats with our collaboratives and fly-ins.
I’ve been fortunate to have learned a great deal from a diverse, challenging and knowledgeable board made of CEOs and C-level executives. The depth of their industry perspective and willingness to contribute to the success of the organization prompted my interest in good governance practices. I had the opportunity to be on the Presbyterian Health Plan board for 11 years and learned a lot about governance from the other side of the board table. I served on the Health First system board for five years and gained additional perspectives on integrated delivery systems. Women Business Leaders, one of our industry partners, has been a great source of governance best practices. Board service is a rewarding way to support organizations. The Alliance can be a source for identifying knowledgeable board members – and the learning opportunity goes both ways.
Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate to have many wonderful mentors – people who gave of their time, provided encouragement and saw something in me beyond what I did. I’ve tried over the years to “pay it forward” by mentoring others. It has been so rewarding to see people grow into their potential. When I was an MBA student at Wharton, I started a mentor program that has continued for the past 25 years. I’ve watched so many of our health plan leaders offer to help others within the Alliance to grow. Seek out opportunities to find a mentor and to be one.
As Joe Lastinger takes over as president of the Health Plan Alliance with a talented team, I expect this organization will continue to grow and thrive, taking on industry challenges and developing new opportunities for the members.
I wish you all the best in the future and look forward to continuing to contribute to the Alliance through the Lecture Series in the years to come. Thanks for all your support and a wonderful send-off. Serving you through the Health Plan Alliance has been the best job ever.
Cathy K. EddyFounder
Health Plan Alliance
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