Education: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and M.D., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
First job: In high school, I had a job as a computer programmer for old IBM machines. This was in the era of huge mainframes that took up the entire floor of a building. I used to program those things with punch cards.
What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?
You need to have as much alignment as possible in an organization because of the complexity and different types of individuals. It’s very important to have alignment because it ensures that people are going to be vested in the organization and apply their best effort. For us at CHOP, alignment is critical.
What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?
The main thing is humility. You have to be respectful of everyone in the organization and of all kinds of opinions and views. You also need to be able to get everyone to work as a team, ensure there is respect among your people and that they agree on the vision. But there can be many different ways to attain that vision. In the end, it comes down to having very good people.
What universal truths have you learned about leading a business?
As good as you think you are, you can always be better, so basically, the job never ends. My wife will tell you my job is a 24-7 job. I’m always thinking about it. There is a weight of responsibility with you all the time. Because of that, each person has to figure out how long they want to do this job, both for their own good and the good of the organization.
What is your definition of success?
My definition of ultimate success would be if I could close down this hospital because it means children wouldn’t be getting sick or injured and wouldn’t need this institution. But that’s a goal we’ll never attain. Realistically, I want CHOP to be viewed as a leader in pediatric health care and a leading institution that really influences the way pediatric medicine is conducted.