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Balance, Part Two…A “Prince” Retires

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  By Jim Gibson, December 21, 2010

My last post was about striving for a sense of balance between our work and non-work lives. More importantly, how we bring a sense of humanity into the workplace.

If you've been fortunate enough to encounter a true role model at some point in your career, there's a good chance this person understood that. He or she was probably the embodiment of inspiration for you.

For me that person was Bill. Catching up last week with an old friend from my first job in healthcare, I learned of Bill's upcoming retirement. He hired both of us several years ago.

I've met many fine people in healthcare, but Bill continues to stand out in my mind as a model of behavior and attitude.

When he hired us, he was an upwardly mobile Vice President in one of the country's leading healthcare companies. He was smart, ethical, and dedicated. He was respected by those above, beside, and below him on the org chart. Yet all who knew him felt he was their friend. He was accomplished, yet down to earth. His career was the envy of many, but he seemed to have no ego.

When I think of Bill, a couple of vivid images stand out. Despite being a leading company in a very competitive business, our company was quite social. There was always something to celebrate. He was a hit at these celebrations. Even though he was one of our top executives, he never hesitated to jump onto the dance floor and mix it up with the administrative assistants. There was no boss-subordinate dynamic at play here.

One time we had a softball game between the field sales staff and the underwriters. After working later than us, Bill saw the game in progress as he approached his car in the parking lot. Although he wasn't dressed for it, he quickly persuaded the sales team to fit him into the lineup. I can still see him running full speed toward first base in his
wing-tips and suit pants. I can hear the roar of his laughter after he beat it out for an infield hit.

Eventually many of us, including Bill, moved on to other companies. For the past several years, he's been the CEO of a large health plan, a position he assumed after first restoring it to fiscal health as its President.

Now that he's retiring, he does so as a success, one who has been respected, liked, and admired — not just for what he has achieved but for the way in which he's achieved it. He has been an inspiration to us all. A real prince.

Jim Gibson has been in healthcare for 26 years. In 2002 he founded Gibson Consultants after several years in healthcare IT and group health insurance. Gibson Consultants is a national search firm specializing in healthcare IT companies. Like Jim, the other professionals of Gibson Consultants enjoyed successful healthcare careers before turning to executive search. Follow Jim on twitter http://twitter.com/jim__gibson or reach him at (203) 431-5729 or jim@gibson-consultants.com.


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