Mary Christensen Named Emerging Woman Business
Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners
Mary Christensen, President & co-founder of Experienced Resources has been honored as Emerging Woman Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). The NAWBO Achieve! Awards ceremony was held on April 16th at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.
The Emerging Woman Business Owner of the Year award recognizes an enterprising NAWBO member’s potential for long-term success and growth. Consideration for the award is given to a member who has founded or is growing a small business featuring a creative and innovative product or service, and that has already survived various challenges. The member must prove her staying power by bearing principal responsibility for her company which has at least a three-year track record.
About the National Association of Women Business Owners:
Founded in 1975, NAWBO is the only dues-based organization representing the interests of America's more than 10 million women-owned businesses; and boasts over 7,000 members and 80 chapters across the country. With far-reaching clout and impact, NAWBO is a one-stop resource to propelling women business owners into greater economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide. For more info please visit: www.nawbo-mn.org.
You Really Can Teach Old Dogs New Tricks!
By Mary Ellen Wells
Vice-President Client Development
I’ve never been a fan of the saying, “You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.” My husband and I recently relocated on a full time basis to our lake home, so our dogs – two wonderful 8 year old labs – have to adjust to the new fenceless yard. They are roaming and letting their noses take command over our voices and getting into trouble. As a result, we’re going back to Obedience School. We walked into the first session, feeling a bit weird with these graying dogs amidst the 6-12 month old puppies. But, after only one session of reinforcing our commands with a clicker and a small treat, Rosie and Corkie were paying close attention, following our cues, and showing those youngsters how to act. When we went home and tried out the newfound techniques surrounded by lots of distractions, lo and behold, they stopped in their tracks and came right back to us on command!
Well, now for the segue. I’ve had the privilege to meet with many leaders over the past several months, discovering and discussing their latest challenges and concerns. I must admit that after 30+ years in various leadership positions, I cannot remember a more chaotic, uncertain, stressful time that’s being felt by just about everyone in every industry and organization. Issues such as the unsettled economic and market conditions, healthcare reform, the aging workforce and subsequent shortages, and growing consumer demands are challenging everyone to change their basic, rock solid constructs of how the world works. I’ve heard stories from great people, successful people, who are questioning and struggling with whether they have what it takes to continue to be vibrant leaders during these times of change. Most have the energy and desire to succeed and have great ideas and plans; however, concerns abound regarding their abilities to successfully lead their organizations and the many people within them.
One of my most favorite quotes comes from Charles Darwin — “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Indeed, it’s those who can adapt and change who will succeed. This 100 + year old quote remains relevant today. That’s why I find little time for the old dogs saying. Not only did Rosie and Corkie prove it wrong, but I know after many years of witnessing events first-hand, that people can and do change, continue to learn and adapt in an ever evolving environment.
As a leader and as a colleague of leaders, I’ve witnessed many evolutions that were handled well and, regretfully, some that didn’t go so well. What’s been the key to those who succeeded in changing their worlds? I would suggest a few reminders and some encouraging thoughts we already know but that can sometimes get lost during this hectic pace:
- Mission, Vision, and Values – these bedrocks of an organization should be reviewed and recommitted to by the board, leaders, and employees. If changes are needed, make them carefully. Be sure to have the MVVs that everyone can point to, rely on, and be secure in knowing that every major decision is tested and true to these principles.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – a few simple, straightforward messages to all of your audiences can go a long way and give people confidence in your leadership. Whether they are board members, leaders, employees, physicians, vendors, community members or other constituents, key messages on a regular basis are critical.
- Optimism – portraying a genuinely positive outlook can give people the hope that’s needed. Just like the prisoner in “Shawshank Redemption,” hope is very important and gives people a reason to keep trying to get through the rough seas. If your outlook is bleak; however, don’t bother trying. Find that Happy Place like Mr. Gilmore did when golfing.
So, back to the dogs. As I’m writing this, my husband just let them out for their final nightly routine. Staying in our yard, even with a raccoon challenging them, both responded to the clicker and came right back after completing their duties. There’s a nice motto here: You really can teach old dogs new tricks!
Whether you’re going through some personal changes or if you are leading your organization through these difficult times, I hope you’ll think about Experienced Resources as just that – a resource filled with experience that can help you. I’ve met many of the talented people who are available through Experienced Resources, and I’m convinced there is a match for every situation and organization. Please give us a try – even a phone call. We’re there for you.
Mary Ellen Wells Joins Experienced Resources as Vice President Client Development
Mary Ellen brings with her an extensive health care administration and management background which she will use to help us grow our client base and overall business. She has more than 25 years of experience including CEO, President and numerous administrative positions at prestigious health care organizations in the Twin Cities including Allina Health System and the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic.
Mary Ellen’s extensive background also reaches outside the Twin Cities Metro. She has served as President and CEO, Hutchinson Area Health Care, President, Buffalo Hospital and also as interim President at Owatonna Hospital, River Falls Area Hospital and Long Prairie Memorial. She has a Master of Arts degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Arts in Education and Counseling from the University of Michigan.
Mary Ellen is married with four stepchildren and three grandchildren. When not working or with her family, she is very involved in community and educational volunteer efforts, including several boards and foundations that support nonprofit agencies.
The following interim assignments and projects were initiated during the first quarter:
Clinic Administrator, Interim
Payroll Assessment Project
Board Retreat Preparation and Facilitation
District Director, Interim
Visit Cycle Time Efficiency/Physician Coaching
Payroll Procedural Documentation
Strategic Marketing Assessment
Business Office Leadership, Interim
Click here to view our Project Portfolio
In the Community
Experienced Resources was a sponsor for the Women’s Health Leadership Trust Annual Forum event held on April 26th. More than 400 women health care leaders were present for Regina E. Herzlinger’s presentation on "The Coming Consumer-Driven Revolution". Health care leaders joining Mary Christensen at the event were: Judy Beck, Linda Bethke, Heidi Conrad, Mary Farr, Cheryl Hermann, Edith Swiatek, Mary Ellen Wells, and Dorothy Walden-Woodworth.