Chasm Partners, a leading executive search firm in the healthcare technology and services space, recently convened a roundtable discussion to evaluate the state of gender parity in the healthcare IT space, as well as explore the benefits that gender diversity creates for health organizations.
The discussion revealed gender parity is most effective when it’s a component of broader, organization-wide cultural change and women must known their own value to effectively become their own advocates of change.
“Companies have to decide affirmatively that they care about this culturally or they will not attract and promote more women into leadership,” said Suennen. “There needs to be a concerted effort to change the culture and demonstrate that the commitment is real.”
The roundtable, which was hosted as part of the firm’s quarterly newsletter, ChasmPOV, featured viewpoints from four female leaders from the healthcare information technology industry who are inspiring the next generation of healthcare entrepreneurs:
– Lisa Suennen, Senior Managing Director of GE Ventures and a Founder of CSweetener, a not-for-profit organization that facilitates mentorship relationships with executives and women approaching C-suite-level positions.
– Cathrin Stickney, a healthcare executive who is Founder and CEO of Parity.org, which advocates for women’s representation at the highest levels of business.
– Jan Bruce, CEO and Co-founder meQuilibrium, a technology platform that optimizes individual and team-based resilience, performance and engagement through behavioral science and predictive analytics.
– Dawn Owens, former CEO of Optum Health and current President of TripleTree, a leading healthcare investment bank and principal investor that invests in growth-stage healthcare technology and services companies.
Other key takeaways and highlights from the roundtable discussion include:
– Women bring many different strengths to leadership roles, and those advantages are critical factors in their companies’ success.
“I have seen that gender diversity can significantly impact the cohesiveness and collegiality of a board,” said Bruce. “Women are often better listeners, more empathetic, and better able to relate to others, and at the board level, they are inherently accustomed to listen and learn, rather than dominate the conversation.”
– The next generation of women is determined to accelerate healthcare’s ongoing evolution toward gender parity.
“It’s encouraging to see the number of females leading the way in this field. I see this firsthand at NYU, where I’m an adjunct professor teaching a course I wrote called ‘The Making of a Healthcare Entrepreneur,’” said Stickney. “This year, more than 80 percent of my class is women—double that of last year. Women understand that they are every bit as creative, talented, and competitively driven to make a difference as men are and are entering healthcare tech as a platform to express their determination to succeed on their own terms.”