The McDermott file Featured

7:00pm EDT February 28, 2007

Born: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Education: Providence College. I had an ice hockey scholarship, and my mother wanted to make sure I went to an all boys school because she didn’t trust me to go some place that had girls in it. She was no dummy. My major was business, but my minor was in history, theology and philosophy. Business courses I took because I had to, and I really loved my other courses.

I got hurt in a water skiing accident, so I couldn’t play ice hockey, and I lost my scholarship. That meant I had to actually pay for my tuition, and my parents didn’t have any money, so it meant going to work. I got a job working second-shift, full-time as an orderly and nurse’s aid at a hospital. I was assigned to a ward, we call today a terminal ward, where the most difficult cases went. I was there when a number of these people died and cared for them in their final days.

That was an extraordinarily affecting experience for me in terms of what life’s about. That made me want to be in health care.

The other thing was, the hospital was really disorganized. I said, ‘I don’t want to be a doctor. I want to go to business school and get an MBA and then see how I can apply that.’ So I went to George Washington University for grad school and went to the B-school there.

What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve faced?

Easily, becoming a human being instead of a CEO and going through that process of reconnecting to the people you work with, rather than looking at them as people that work for you.

What’s the best business lesson you’ve learned?

Don’t try to do it all yourself because that’s so egocentric.