Arkansas Children’s President and CEO Marcy Doderer’s advice to a leader who steps into a new job is to have patience, actively listen and be present in the first 100 days. 

She received that advice when she was hired to lead Arkansas Children’s in July 2013, and she used the next four months getting to know her team, the board and the community. 

“I spent time with more than a thousand individuals. I personally rounded on every single department in our health system, learning what they did, when they did it, where they did it, who was involved.”

One of the most important tasks a senior leader, particularly a CEO, can do is to develop other leaders to move up in an organization or broaden their careers.

“I didn’t make it to the CEO seat on accident. It was purposeful,” she said. “And it wasn’t just because of my actions that I was successful. I had the success of so many people around me throughout my career.” 

She said one of the biggest missteps she took as a leader happened early in her career.

“When I was new to health care and pretty new to senior leadership, I think I took too long to have confidence in my own voice at an executive table,” Doderer said. 

At times, she was the only woman there. And even though she said she felt welcome, she “did not have full personal confidence in sharing my voice and my ideas and really leaning into that conversation. It took a while for me to do that. And I wish I had found that self-confidence earlier and faster.” 

That’s because once she did, it felt comfortable. 

“Once I fully engaged, my peers and counterparts, leadership, were waiting expectantly for me to engage in that conversation,” she said.

 

This article originally appeared in Arkansas Business as part of "Lessons Learned: Women in Business Offer Leadership Advice," a story highlighting eight women in leadership positions across Arkansas. Read it in full here.

 

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