Female healthcare leaders from across Massachusetts gathered virtually last Thursday to attend MHA’s Annual Women Leaders in Healthcare Conference, entitled Leadership Redefined.
In a video greeting to kick off the event, Massachusetts’ Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders thanked MHA “for ensuring a strong, unified voice for our hospital and healthcare community in Massachusetts.”
Sudders also praised current and aspiring women healthcare leaders in the commonwealth for their dedication and resilience and urged conference attendees to tackle current challenges firmly while remembering their own wellbeing.
“During this extraordinary and challenging time – a pandemic, increasingly rancorous political divides, and an inflection point, confronting structural racism in our country once and for all – we must find our strength, and to do so with resolve,” Sudders said. “And to do so, ladies out there, you must also take care of yourself.”
Among the many dynamic speakers was Lashyra “Lash” Nolen, Harvard Medical School’s first Black woman class president, and Suzanne Bates, CEO of Bates Communications, who led attendees through a workshop on negotiation tactics and how to gain self-confidence by focusing on what she described as women’s strong problem-solving skills.
Emerson Hospital President & CEO Christine Schuster, R.N., led a wide-ranging panel discussion on resilience and self-care lessons learned during the pandemic with three senior female hospital leaders: Nancy Gaden, R.N., SVP and CNO at Boston Medical Center; Cheryl Lapriore, SVP, chief of staff, UMass Memorial Health Care; and Deborah Bergholm-Petka, director of organizational development, Circle Health/Lowell General Hospital.
Other speakers included Hiyam Nadel, R.N., nursing director in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Center for Innovations in Care Delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Hannah Ubl, co-founder of Good Company Consulting and a communication and culture expert.
Massachusetts Women’s Forum President Jackie-Jenkins Scott moderated a “fireside chat” on mentorship with Sandra L. Fenwick, CEO of Boston Children's Hospital, and Patrice A. Harris, M.D., immediate past-president of the American Medical Association. Both Fenwick and Harris noted their deep concern about the loss of a large percentage of women in the U.S. workforce due to pandemic.
“Economic issues, the lack of quality affordable options for our children the fact that a big group of us are truly members of a sandwich generation … what we are trying to do as women is becoming more and more challenged,” Fenwick said.