I write for business, nonprofit and creative leaders who believe that applying servant leadership principles to modern marketing practices isn’t merely good business, it’s good for business.
In his seminal 1970 essay, The Servant as Leader, Robert Greenleaf argued that the best leaders are, first and foremost, servants.
The same is true in marketing — the best marketers are not spinmeisters or spammers. They’re servants.
I explore the intersections of servant leadership and modern marketing.
My father was a successful, highly respected hospital and health system CEO. What I noticed is that he treated everybody the same. From elite physicians and board members to front-line workers in the cafeteria and patient care units.
He believed the best way to lead was as a servant and steward. But he seemed perpetually frustrated by incompetent marketers, who seemed oblivious to the hospital’s limited financial resources and obligations as a community institution.
So to avoid becoming one of these clueless marketers chasing the next pretty ad campaign, I earned a degree in literature, studied psychology and learned marketing skill by skill in the field with a few early-stage healthcare firms.
I poured over the teachings of thought leaders like Tom Peters, Robert Townsend, Anita Roddick, Theodore Levitt and Regis McKenna. I honed my leadership and strategy chops as head of planning and marketing with a two-hospital health system. Then I decided to challenge everything I thought I knew about marketing by going out on my own — at the beginning of the Great Recession. Talk about lessons learned!
I’m privileged to serve as the corporate vice president of marketing for the national staffing and technology enterprise, Jackson Healthcare. I played a lead role in creating and launching the Hospital Charitable Services Awards, a national program that honors innovative hospital programs that serve the underserved in their community. And I serve as an advisor to Jackson’s operating companies, as well as supporting the scale-up of its new companies.
To this day, I continue to draw inspiration from poets, chefs, ecologists, artists, writers, musicians, entrepreneurs, economists and engineers.
My work has appeared in or on Forbes, CNN, HealthLeaders, Hospitals & Health Networks, MarketingProfs, Gallup Business Journal, Becker’s Hospital Review and David Meerman Scott’s bestseller, The New Rules of Sales & Service.