Fall 2023 President’s Message

Nov 12, 2023 | Articles, Director Insights, Director Insights - Chapter President

By Kelly Brian Flannery

Greetings and happy autumn to each one of you, our valuable CAHL members and volunteers! Where did this year go? It is hard to believe that we are in the final quarter of 2023 and by the time you read this message, we will be in November! I am happy to share that it has been a busy year for our CAHL committees as they have developed numerous education and networking events, both virtual and in person. CAHL’s Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony was held on Aug. 24, and it was an exciting, energizing, and successful event highlighting many CAHL volunteers and the great work they are doing in our committees, for our chapter members, and even within our communities. Our keynote speaker, ACHE President Delvecchio Finley, FACHE, delivered an insightful and inspiring presentation that shared some of his personal and professional story as well as all the great work ACHE is currently doing to add more value to the college, local chapters, and membership satisfaction.

In September, I had the pleasure of attending the annual Chapter Leaders Conference in Chicago with our CAHL President-Elect, Nikhil Singal, and our Secretary, Navi Atwal. One engaging session addressed hot topics for larger chapters with over 800 members (CAHL has about 1,400), particularly a discussion on raising revenue to support and grow educational and networking events. These events usually charge nominal fees to attend, but fees cannot support all chapter activities throughout the year. The CAHL Executive Committee has agreed that growing our sponsorship program is a long-term goal so we can continue to expand the educational and networking opportunities we offer. 

Another thought-provoking part of Chapter Leaders Conference was the keynote speaker, Katherine A. Meese, PhD, who shared with the group highlights of her ACHE seminar, The Human Margin: Building Foundations of Trust. As healthcare leaders and professionals, we expect patients to have complete trust in our providers and staff when they contact us for emergent, urgent, routine, or preventive services and information. We gain a patient’s trust by listening to their concerns, demonstrating empathy and respect, sharing relevant information regarding their health and well-being, and partnering with them on evidence-based decision-making that is in the best interest of each patient. 

For us to succeed at gaining the trust of patients, their families, and the communities we serve, trust must be woven into the fabric of our organizations. Leaders most certainly have a role in establishing and maintaining a culture of trust to ensure patient, staff, and community stakeholder satisfaction with the organization and its services. The individual effort required to maintain the culture of trust may vary depending on the position held, so trust is by no means a static pillar of any organization. This past May, I gained about a dozen direct reports/program managers in my current role and instantly my perception of trust had to pivot. As Interim Deputy Network Director, I am responsible for numerous operational program service lines, but I am not the subject matter expert in all these areas. How do I and other leaders survive and thrive in this situation? Trust! Acknowledging and demonstrating deference to expertise in our direct reports and their ability to successfully manage their service lines yields their trust in us as leaders who will support them, argue for their needs, step in when they need our assistance, and make informed decisions for the organization and its patients based on a culture that is firmly grounded in trust.

We are in the final months of 2023, and this will be my last article for the newsletter as your CAHL Chapter President. It has been an honor to serve our “CAHL family” this year, and I look forward to serving as your Immediate Past President in 2024. About a month ago, I began collaborating with Nikhil Singal and Christianna Kearns, our incoming 2024 CAHL President and President Elect, respectively, on our transition of the chapter’s leadership so that January will kick off the new year successfully. I am very excited for 2024, and I know that Nikhil and Christianna will have an amazing year leading CAHL and ensuring our accomplishments over the next few years. May everyone have a joyous and prosperous holiday season, and I look forward to working with you all next year.

Kelly Brian Flannery, MHA, FACHE, is Chief Planning Officer with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He is the 2022-2023 President of CAHL.