Mark’s closing comments at his 30 year service recognition event
This is hard. You all know I lost a job I loved very much and so I have to move on.
What to say after 30 years?
• Thank you
First I will say “Thank you” to 2 people:
o Sandi, my wife
• Who understands my passion for the people we serve
• Who understood why I would give up so much of myself and our time together, particularly this last year, because it mattered
o Michael Polifka
• My steadfast friend who helped me plan and build our practice and life together, turning our dreams into a reality
• Always there to support what is best for the people we serve and now does so on an international scale
Then everyone out there
All of you
Gerrit, Sherri, Marc and Lisa,
Med staff leaders, especially the presidents – Bill, Peter, Jim, and Chas
Executive management team – who taught me to see teamwork and execution in a new light
The directors, staff, and colleagues- who pay attention to the front line needs and helped me understand them
The thousands of patients who taught me about life
The Board, for giving me an opportunity to test my leadership skills in an unexpected arena
On my journey from ER doc to 20 years primary care to 13 years of management and leadership
• It’s all about the relationships- that is our business – and I think at the core of why it’s about relationships is that we humans have this amazing capacity to love. Our relationships are about love- that’s why we care for people – so they can love their spouse, kids, parents, siblings and friends.
• The reason I entered leadership and management is that we also need to work in a system that actually functions well. Relationships are what we do, the system is how we do it.
So a couple stories:
Michael and I began a dream of a primary care practice in Vermont in 1974 in medical school. And we made it happen- dreams are important. We all have the capacity to make dreams happen. And I believe dreams and passion are why Michael is alive today with his cancer.
Michael never really succeeded in helping me say no to new challenges- he always thought I took on too much. I think it all started with leaping off very high ski jumps in high school and college- the thrill of the snap off that lip, soaring through the cold air, and knowing I’d just have to figure out how to land.
There’s a connection there with our crazy practice and my involvement with the rescue squad. What ever possessed me to respond to any request for help by the squad- regardless of the problem? And that’s how I met Bruce Waite in the woods after he was crushed by a tree, and was fortunate to use his courage to bolster mine – placing chest tubes in the snowy woods and the back of an ambulance, helping him
survive to continue logging to this day.
Why do they matter? I think because for those of us who want to make a difference it’s satisfying to see some evidence of that difference. Legacies all require the work of many many folks to start and sustain, and leaders provide the environment and direction for others to succeed.
I’ll take a risk here and hope you’ll remember a couple of these as ‘footprints’ on the trail that say “Mark was here”.
The Hospitalist program
The 70 docs I helped recruit to our medical staff
Our hospital back on the tracks after a serious derailment last year
So my ‘lessons learned’ so far on this journey-
• Health care is about relationships
• The system needs to work
Finally my favorite quote about finding joy in life – from someone way more articulate than I: George Bernard Shaw:
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one…the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote it self to making you happy.”