Edward Marx is EVP for the Advisory Board Company and CIO at NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation. Previously, as CIO at Texas Health Resources, he was named the 2013 HIMSS/CHIME CIO of the Year. Corepoint Health is excited to host Marx as our keynote speaker for Corepoint Connect 2015, held Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.

Ed was kind enough to carve out time to answer a few questions about his new book, Extraordinary Tales from a Rather Ordinary Guy, and his upcoming keynote presentation.

As an accomplished CIO who has led 100s of health IT professionals over the years, have you found any “magic formula” of sorts that has helped you make needed personal connections with employees that helped you inspire them to “a life less ordinary?”  

Really get to know your people. Your success, and that of the organization, is all predicated on an engaged team.  It has to come from the heart so what I say to you should only emulate if it is heart-felt. If not, you will be found out and not respected.

  • Ask questions. I walk around every couple of weeks and I get into people's space. Ask about their hobbies. Have them explain their pictures.
  • Have lots of parties. Some at bars, some at home. I always make sure to make out-of-the-office opportunities to interact.
  • Leverage social media. I am friends with many via Facebook. When I see them I can be very specific about what is going on in their lives.
  • Help them. They can have extraordinary experiences if you help them make connects to others, to events, to organizations.

I could give so many more examples!

Your first book, "Extraordinary Tales from a Rather Ordinary Guy" — which will be given to Corepoint Connect conference attendees – was released less than a year ago. What in your past do you think lit the leadership fire inside you that you hope is conveyed to others in healthcare?

I was always observing leaders, even when I was an Army private and I was watching the sergeants and the officers. I always asked myself what I might do differently or, in some cases, what I would imitate.

The key is to be observant and ask what should I adopt and what should I modify to create a better experience?

The bottom line here is to bring solutions and not just problems. I never wanted to be the person that just bitches about things. I wanted to be the person that says, you know what? We could do better. Here is an idea.

How has that thought process informed your recent decision to leave one of the largest health systems in the U.S., Texas Health Resources, and venture into the public health sector, which carries many different challenges?

There were several influences.

I have a one-page career strategic plan. I always wanted to experience all aspects of the provider side of healthcare. So I did small hospitals. I did big systems. I did community, but I never did public health.

I was at THR for 7 years, six months and 20 days. I think CIOs reach their full impact from 3 to 5 years in tenure. After that you get too comfortable and you hold back the leaders that you have been raising. It is the right thing to move on and create opportunities for those you have loved and nurtured.

OK, real personal on NYC: My Dad is a Holocaust survivor. His family was killed while he escaped. So the Red Cross brings him to post-war NYC as a teen. NYC embraces him and loves him. He always wanted to give back but never could to the city. He did to the U.S., for sure, but not the city. I am giving back on his behalf. It's that simple.

What are the biggest differences and similarities, technology-wise, between working at Texas Health and now at NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation?

When I came to THR I felt like I stepped back in time from a tech point of view, and we made significant strides during my time there, which I'm very proud of. I'm really enjoying the opportunity to be part of something special here in NYC and I'm eager to work with my team to help create meaningful transformation!

We’re obviously very excited here at Corepoint Health about you attending Corepoint Connect 2015. If you could name one thing you hope attendees will remember from your keynote, what would it be?

We can all experience extraordinary things in our life, careers, families, etc., even if we are average. There is no unique gifting, it's mostly a matter of our determination.

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