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Silver Cross President and CEO Provides Insights on Culture and Care at C-Suite Dinner

By Audra Davis, PsyD, Managing Partner at The Exeter Group and a member of the CHEF Chapter Communications Committee

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch”. At CHEF’s C-Suite dinner, Ruth Colby, President and CEO, Silver Cross Hospital, shared with 20+ healthcare professionals how this adage informs her leadership of the New Lenox based organization. Ms. Colby recognizes that the business of Silver Cross is “People taking care of people”. It is this focus that leverages culture as a tool to support employees and care for patients. From the strategic plan (Ms. Colby passed out copies to guests) to tactical execution (being nice is a requisite for all employees), culture has taken a prominent role in shaping care of all.

Culture has driven two fundamental approaches at Silver Cross. First, Ms. Colby spoke of Silver Cross’ independence despite multiple mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare space. She believes that the hospital has remained independent because of its replacement hospital (that opened in 2012) and the culture. At the same time, remaining independent allows her to protect the culture and be nimble. Culture also drives the hospital’s focus on establishing partnerships. According to Ms. Colby, Silver Cross partners when “we wouldn’t be the best on our own”. Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Shirly Ryan Ability Lab, and University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center represent a few Silver Cross partners. What is most exciting to Ms. Colby, though, is the hospital’s new partnership with US HealthVest for behavioral healthcare. They have joined to open a 100-based mental health hospital in 2019.

Ms. Colby also discussed the significance of equipping leaders to lead the culture at Silver Cross. Leaders are trained on how to disagree in a civilized manner, lead by leaving their offices, and create special moments for all stakeholders.

The gathering was organized by CHEF and held at Francesca’s on Taylor. To find out about future events visit CHEF website and click on events.











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