Chad Hartzell dives into teams, HR, and the importance of inclusion

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This is a podcast episode titled, Chad Hartzell dives into teams, HR, and the importance of inclusion. The summary for this episode is: <p>Chad Hartzell, Executive Director of Talent &amp; Organizational Development at Beacon Health System, joins Tim to share his HR insights. In this episode, Chad discusses the diversity, equity, and inclusion journey his organization has been on. He also encourages leaders to challenge the traditional spectrum of HR. Listen to Chad share what gives him his edge in life, the importance of trust and feedback on a team, and more. </p>
Trust and feedback
00:44 MIN
Connect and integrate collectively
00:36 MIN
Not a fan of drama
01:05 MIN
Challenge the traditional spectrum of HR
01:07 MIN
Be resourceful with people
01:05 MIN
What is the desired outcome?
00:54 MIN
Focus on inclusion
00:58 MIN
Chad's edge
00:46 MIN

Tim Leman: Have you ever felt like you're in the edge of something great? You've put in the work. You've done the hard stuff most people aren't willing to do, and now you can just sense a magical run lies ahead. On this podcast, we talk about what separates those special teams, the kind, if we're lucky, we get to be a part of maybe three or four times in our life, from the more ordinary experiences. I'm your host, Tim Leman, and let's discuss leading on The Edge. Welcome to The Edge Podcast. I'm your host, Tim Leman. On this episode, we have Chad Hartzell. Chad is the executive director for talent and organizational development at Beacon, a 7500 employee health system based out of South Bend, Indiana. Chad is one of the most strategic HR professionals I know, and also very abundantly shares his wisdom and talent in the community. Chad, I'm excited to have you on our show today.

Chad Hartzell: Thanks. Quite the introduction. I greatly appreciate that.

Tim Leman: It's all true. It's all true. So tell us a little bit about your role. What does executive director for talent and organizational development mean?

Chad Hartzell: Yeah. So it's a little bit of a mouthful. But the way that I like to describe it to people, I get the joy of really focusing on the people spectrum of HR in the business. So in my role, I get to serve the talent acquisition, the organizational development, also known as our OD and E team, as well as our HR business partner teams. And so when I look at all three of those areas, I really enjoy the breadth of experience I have in my role. And if you think about it, our team supports everything from entry level talent acquisition all the way to the leadership development of our physicians. So it's a great role and a great fit for me, and really blessed to be able to support the system in that way.

Tim Leman: So Chad, you mentioned the word team. I know you've been in and around athletics, racing teams, work teams. Tell me about the best team that you've ever been on and why.

Chad Hartzell: That is such a tough question, so thanks for leading off with a difficult one. Obviously, you think about athletics, and there's so many I think parallels and adjacencies between athletics and business or whatever it be, and obviously, you mentioned the racing thing as well. And so I've been fortunate to be on wonderful teams throughout different spectrums. But I will focus more on the business side of things because really when I look at where I've been in my career, there's really three key monumental development roles and experiences that I had, and it really revolved around the teams. And so what I'll lead into is the team I'm on right now, I am going to say is probably the truest form and the best definition of team. But I also wanted to note that in my earlier career at Target, one of the best teams I was on, I was the HR leader for regional distribution in Upstate New York. And the one thing that I always remember about that team was that I came in there as a new leader, plucked out of the Midwest, thrown up into the Upstate New York. And this was a group of people that were willing to grow with a new leader, and grow with me and help me kind of be the leader that I wanted to be and grow into. And that team provided me an extremely high level of trust, blind trust, for lack of a better term, and more importantly a feedback rich environment. Right? So I set an expectation pretty close that, listen, I want you guys to have the best experience here within this team. I want to be a glue that holds that all together. And so when I think of that team specifically, that's the one thing that really stood out to me that I was fortunate to be able to have at that point in my career early in leadership.

Tim Leman: Was that feedback delivered in a New York sort of style also?

Chad Hartzell: Interestingly enough, most of the team was natives. Right? So yeah, but again, you weren't going to be in a leadership role at Target, or at Target, if you weren't Target brand. Right? So there was a right way to address things and be critical of your peers and your leaders. And so they were always very much brand focused and brand centered. But yeah, on occasion, you'd get the edge I guess, for lack of a better term. Also then, when you asked that question, it brought me to when I was at Whirlpool, I am amazed at the team that I was on. And when I say team collectively, I mean whether it's direct reports, peers, or business leaders. But that HR organization that I was with for over five years, the amount of people that have advanced into chief HR roles and all that, just imagine a team where everybody was an A player, and the dynamic and the competitiveness and the whole concept of a rising tide lifts all boats, that was a really unique experience to have at that point. And I really think of the high pressure environment that we were facing. That was back when the global economic downturn occurred with a global organization at that. But the ability to transition a competitive environment into a collective what's best for the organization, the leadership DNA, the integration of the business, that team came together and it was a wonderful experience. But fast forward to where I'm at now, and as I had mentioned, when I said that Beacon, the team I'm on right now, it's been a journey. And I'm proud. I've been here seven years now, which is the longest time I've ever held a job. I think that speaks well to the experience that I'm having here. But we've built, and when I say built, we have built, there's a lot of new folks over the last several years, but we've built great team that continues to grow both individually and collectively. And so I think you see that in athletics. You'll see teams that have great individuals, but if that teams doesn't connect and integrate collectively, that's why you'll see all Americans or all pros play on losing teams. Right? And so for me, I've tried to ensure that we win as a team, lose as a team, and then the individual collective piece of that falls into place. But what's really making it the best in addition to that is first and foremost, they've definitely aligned to the fact that Chad is not a fan of drama, and so the Cy Wakeman component comes into things. But you're not going to be a great fit or feel very comfortable within my team or teams if you bring a lot of emotional expense and a lot of emotional waste to the table. And why I think that makes a great team is because it's not necessarily the fact that I don't tolerate it, but I've got over close to 25 others that don't tolerate it either. Right? So there's a lot of internal, I think, I don't want to say policing, there's just a lot of internal expectations that when we bring people into the fold and into the mix, they're clear on who we are and the culture that we want, and the experience that we want people to have. Now that's not to say that we're not empathetic and that we don't help people through issues and concerns and problems and support. But we really just don't tolerate a whole lot of mindless drama.

Tim Leman: Chad, I give you credit to turning me on to Cy Wakeman. And I love that formula she has about the value you bring to your employer. And it's this double multiple on drama, which brings down all your future potential and what you're offering today.

Chad Hartzell: Right.

Tim Leman: So Chad, what's it like building culture at a large organization like a Beacon, or like a Whirlpool, versus maybe smaller companies or teams?

Chad Hartzell: I honestly don't think that it's very different. And if anything, Tim, it might be easier in a smaller organization because you can turn that ship much easier. You're not needing to, I know you're a boater, but you're not needing to depend on your trim tabs all the time just to make a simple turn. Right?

Tim Leman: Yeah.

Chad Hartzell: So when I think of the culture piece, the one thing that differentiates those Fortune 50 type organizations is that they have a luxury sometimes of putting human capital and even expense dollars into... Well, and some of them even have organizations within their structure that, that's all they focus on is culture. Right? And I don't mean culture like the HR. I mean individuals that focus on, well, I measure organizational culture and climate and all those different types of things. So but when you say building it specifically, I think for me, focusing and collecting people around a common mission or vision, and I'm a big mission, vision, values guy. I always have been. I think those are the common things that regardless of the size and the scope of the organization, that have a great impact. When you and I were talking a few weeks ago, I think I said consistently that as a smaller organization, as long as you've got the right people in play and leading the culture, and defining it, and rallying people to either align to it, to choose to align to it, or to choose not to be part of your organization, I think quite often, in a smaller organization, it's much easier.

Tim Leman: I would agree.

Chad Hartzell: Larger organization, it's tough to hit 7500 people and tell them, " Hey, we have a new mission statement. And one of its key tenets of it is to connect with heart." Well, the bigger you are, the more difficult it is to connect everybody with that.

Tim Leman: I think even you get into regional or office variations of it too. And it's not bad culture, it's just a little bit different, so it does get back to having those values kind of be that commonality thing that pulls everybody back together.

Chad Hartzell: Right. And that's a great comment, Tim, because within Beacon, if you think of our structure, we've got Memorial Hospital, Elkhart General, Community Hospital of Bremen, Beacon Granger, our BMG, Franciscan Beacon. I mean, every single one of those entities does have their own distinct and established culture, which is great. I mean, that makes them who they are in the communities that they serve. But we do have a common mission and we do have a common value set that we really want to integrate and gear towards.

Tim Leman: So Chad, kind of thinking about Cy Wakeman and the brand of HR that you bring to your teams and so on. What do HR leaders need to be doing and learning right now, so that they're ready for the future of work?

Chad Hartzell: Clearly, this is going to be an opinion based response. So I think honestly, where I would challenge my peers within the HR space is to just challenge the traditional spectrum of what HR is supposed to be. 10, 15 years ago, there was so much, you couldn't read an article about HR without, HR needs to have a seat at the table and all that type of stuff. And I've really never gotten engaged to that because from my perspective is that if you look at HR through two lenses. Right? And that is, how do you advance the function of HR with the organization? But then also the lens of: How do you advance the organization? And so it's not like... And it's really interesting because it's not like I see a whole lot of functions within a corporate environment, say, " Well, how do I advance function or anything along those lines?" So HR folks, my challenge sometimes is to just look at the function and much more integrate it into the business, and try to look at things in a nontraditional way. And that's really just I think how you evolve as an organization. So the other key thing is to not get so focused, and you and I have talked about this before, but when you're looking at your org structure and people and talent, it's one of the great things that honestly I learned from my time with working with Scott Welch, was be resourceful with people. And don't put them in a, lack of a better term, funny it's with Scott, but don't put them in a box. Right? If you've got talent on your team, take advantage of them. Stretch them. Put them into something different. And I think when I talk about the great team that I have here at Beacon, we've got recruiters with no recruiting experience. We've got recruiters with no HR experience. I've got HR business partners that were HR experienced. What they do is they have a servant heart, a phenomenal ability to connect with people, a curiosity to understand the business. And I think that if HR organizations are willing to be more open in how they do their structure and how they utilize their talent, that seat at the table becomes a nonissue, and something that we shouldn't have to talk about anymore.

Tim Leman: Yeah. Well, Chad, you were really instrumental even in how we structured things at Gibson with having this director of administration, or director of the employee experience. And I remember you talking about that. Hey, this doesn't have to be somebody coming from traditional HR ranks. We had one of our partners here, who was looking for something new and had a lot of experience being around employee wellbeing and coaching, and a lot of skills like that. And now she's overseeing IT, facilities, and human resources because it all adds up to our employee experience that we're doing, it's worked out really well. To let you know, your coaching tree runs far. I actually had a lunch this week with somebody who'd been referred to me, saying, " Hey, I think Gibson put in a structure like that, what you're talking about. It's called head of administration or something." I was able to share the stuff you had done with us, so appreciate that, and love the shout out to Scott Welch too, a true entrepreneur and innovator that way, of just always thinking about different ways to tweak and tinker with things. So Chad, let me come at some of this on the other side. What do HR leaders wish their CEO better understood about their job and leading people?

Chad Hartzell: I think, and I'll just say it through the lens that we have here, I think to better understand that, and maybe it's part of some things that is an HR standpoint. We get so focused on getting the work done and supporting the organization, sometimes we don't do the best job of being our own marketing and PR firm, for lack of a better term. And so what I see quite often and frequently is, I don't want to say poor assumptions, but hey, I saw this piece, or article, or listened to this podcast, and I really think that this is something that we should be doing, or would be a great opportunity for us. And then quite often, I find myself feeling enthused that our senior leaders engage to those things. But then I also feel a little bit disappointed that perhaps we've not done a good job connecting to say, " We've been doing that for two years," or something like that. Right? And it's also, I think the DNA of probably how I work and how I've been, and that is, and my team will tell you, especially my direct reports, the leaders on my team, we are always forward thinking. I'm always challenging on, " Okay, what's next?" And especially in the talent acquisition space. What's next and what are we doing? And okay, great, fail at that. But what else are we going to try to fail at next, or whatever it be? And so I think from that perspective, it's the understanding of the environmental scanning piece. And sometimes, take a few minutes to environmental scan within your own organization. It's not a negative. It's not a complaint. It's just an awareness piece. I think the other thing, and this is also really interesting, the difference in the dynamics between the environments that I've been in versus going into a not for profit piece of things. I do think the other component is having a strong understanding of the differences between some of the examples that we see out in the work, for profit, Fortune 500 type environments. We are resourced fairly thin sometimes, which I think is a great challenge and a great opportunity. But sometimes we can't do things at the level of expense and investment that some other organizations do, so it's taking those ideas and then really, it's about the desired outcome and not necessarily about well, hey, I saw this and I'd like us to do that. What I try to make sure I do when I'm getting those inputs and I'm getting those questions is peel that onion and say, " What's the desired outcome that they're trying to get?" And then with the resources and the structure and all that, that we have here, how can I help enable that and support that as well?

Tim Leman: Chad, I think that's a great point coming from a CEO here, who is always thinking about new things and reading things. Yeah, I'm looking for some level of safety to know that we are looking at all those things. And I've got my experts on it, and I actually don't want to get down in the weeds and learn all the details of it. I just want to know that we're considering it. And so you're probably right about communicating up like that and letting people, like in my chair know. But likewise, I think CEO types, or speaking for myself, don't always do a good job of articulating, hey, I read this article and I thought it was great. But you're helping with that by: What's the desired outcome out of this? And sometimes, I forget that I share an article and it all of a sudden, it means internally, this must be a mandate, an edict. We better do it immediately. And we're often running on something. And I made a big mistake in doing that. It was like, " No, I like what we're doing. I just thought it was interesting that these people are doing this other thing over here," so that's a great question to just kind of hit the pause button. And keeps a lot of unintended work from being done, I think. Yeah, what's the desired outcome?

Chad Hartzell: What I will say, Tim, is that I greatly value and appreciate when any senior leader, executive leader, or even CEO, even Craig, when they do take the time to engage in something that is not operational, clinically related, but really focused on the people piece. It's great to know that there's an advocacy for that. And then also, that natural curiosity to just, oh, my, that's a really neat thing. Can we do that? And again, sometimes that answer is, yeah, absolutely. What's the outcome? But sometimes it's, well, we've been doing it for a couple years now and here's the success that we've had.

Tim Leman: So Chad, I want to switch a little bit over to the diversity side of things, and especially somebody being a senior leader in human resources. I've been in a couple of board meetings over the last few weeks too. And it's a topic on everyone's mind. And thinking from what I'm observing, a lot of organizations making good progress, but also, I don't know. Where do we go from here? And where are we trying to end up? Maybe it's your question. What's the desired outcome? How is Beacon looking at diversity right now? And maybe just touch on a few of the initiatives you guys have going on.

Chad Hartzell: Yeah. Thanks for asking. We're in the middle of a significant amount of learning as an organization. And we formally started what I'm going to refer to as our journey late in Q four last year, where we developed an internal diversity, equity, and inclusion, DE and I council that consists of 30 individuals throughout the system. And really, that group was brought together to help advance our DE and I. And I've learned to not use the term strategy or initiative, but journey. And journey is the key word that I'm continuing to try to learn. And within that, we've kind of developed a work plan where we're focusing on different types of things, whether it's: How do we increase the leadership diversity of the organization? How do we become more inclusive environment? Just a lot of different work streams going on. So within that, what I'm proud to say is that we're beginning on this journey, really create some tangible activities and outcomes. We have a yearlong learning plan. We actually partnered with an organization that delivers micro learning content called Blue Ocean Brain. But we've, within the span of I'm going to say less than 90 days, partnered with them. We're creating kind of an inaudible site within our organization. But most important, we're developing an organizational learning plan that I think, and Dr. Kimberlie Warren is the team member. She's done a great job really looking at: Where are we as an organization? And we did some pre survey things a couple months ago to help us understand. And where we are as an organization is amazing to see. We have everything from employee or associate sentiment that they're really, really proud of where we're headed and what we're trying to accomplish. And then we've also had the other end of the spectrum. Transparently, we've had some individuals that said, " This is not the Beacon I want to work for. Feels as though you're pushing a liberal agenda." And from my perspective, that's part of our journey. So we're starting with a fairly significant learning plan. And it's not just focused on our leaders either. It is focused on all 7500 of our associates. And really, what it starts off at is just education and also starting a dialogue. And so we've got a long- term plan, things going into our learning management system and all that. But there's such I think a focus on grassroots, leadership development, personal development, but most importantly, it's about understanding the definition of what diversity, equity, and then also inclusion is. And from my perspective, I know we talked about it previously, but the inclusivity and the inclusion space from my perspective is really sometimes lost in the D and the E. We have a significant amount of focus on racial, ethnicity, sexual gender and identification piece. And the one thing that I want us to have in my vision is clearly, I want to make progress on those opportunities. But I want the black African American leader to feel just as integrated and engaged to the organization as the white middle aged female that's a new mom, and has a very unique experience as a Beacon associate as well. Right? And so the inclusion piece is, that's where I think that I'd really like to advocate for people not self selecting out of our journey because they don't think that they tie into it. So one of the, as that ties into, we're going to... And I'm really proud of the work that we've done here, but we have eight distinct associate resource groups that we're going to be rolling out to the organization mid May. And it spans everything from black African American, Latino, resource groups, but then we also expanded into associates that are caring for aging parents and loved ones, associates and family members with disabilities, women in leadership, a lot of those things. But we're trying to really look at the inclusivity piece is to: What makes every individual's experience both in the work and the community different? And how do we find that commonality of the whole person, whole experience within that?

Tim Leman: Yeah, Chad. I think it's interesting how you come at that because maybe if you get the inclusivity piece done really well, it kind of takes care of a lot of the other part too, and you can really build on that and grow that, so some neat outcomes there too. You mentioned aging parents and everything else too. Those are the kind of things that really didn't have anything to do with the social injustice we've seen over the last couple of years in particular. But also, maybe there was always a need there, so some other things coming out of all that. That's great. So one last question, and then we'll switch to kind of a rapid fire mode, Chad. But what's given you your edge in life?

Chad Hartzell: Oh, my gosh. My edge in life, I will have to say I don't want to get corny and emotional about it, but my father passed away a couple weeks ago. And so I've been going through that process of just what you'd normally do in grieving and kind of just reflecting on things. And the one thing I'll say, and it's interesting, is that what gave me my edge is the experiences that I had growing up. My mom did a wonderful job exposing me to so many different things and so many different environments, whether it was athletics, but also the arts, and heck, ballet at one point in time, just all these different experiences. But as it goes into adult and in the career space and all that, it's given me an opportunity to feel comfortable in multiple environments. And so you'd mentioned the racing team piece of things. And so every summer, I always kind of laugh a little bit. But I might be at a dirt track wheeling a sprint car, slinging dirt on a Saturday night. And then every summer, we make a drive out to Chautauqua, New York and go to Chautauqua Institution, and that's a week long immersion in the arts and religion and music and philosophy, all those different types of things. So I'm just as good with the dirt track racing crowd as I am with the Chautauqua crowd, for lack of a better term. But what that also has done is developed that edge into who I am as that person, and understanding different perspectives and things. And that's from a personality standpoint. Now if you want to talk about edge in the truest sense, I always go back to Jack Welch and his book, and where he talks about the Ps and the Es. But I really have been keen to develop the ability to make decisions. I have a strong disdain for the word maybe. My team will tell you that. I'm comfortable making 70% decisions. I really don't mind taking risks. That sounds so cliché, but I think that is the edge. People know that if two people agree, one of them is not needed. So let's make a decision. Let's move forward. I don't want to talk about it again. Right? Look at the money that we just spent on the hourly equivalent of people in this meeting. And we're going to say, " Well, let's sleep on it." I just don't like that type of culture. And I think that the teams around me have grown to, I think integrate that into their own piece of things as well that I appreciate.

Tim Leman: That's great, feeling comfortable in a lot of different environment, and the ability to be decisive. Now it's time for my favorite part of the podcast, rapid fire. All right. So we'll make these easy at first. Favorite color.

Chad Hartzell: Favorite color, it's always been royal blue.

Tim Leman: All right. What was your first car?

Chad Hartzell: Oh, gosh. I had a 1981 Chevy Citation, four on the floor. It was a stick. And also, we put a rear spoiler on that thing also.

Tim Leman: Because that made it cool.

Chad Hartzell: I tried my best, Tim. I tried my best.

Tim Leman: Chad, what's the most memorable concert you've been to?

Chad Hartzell: I'm going to say probably one of the X- Fests down in Indy several years ago when I swore that Gwen Stefani and I had a moment when our eyes met. Unfortunately, that moment was interrupted by security, but I tried.

Tim Leman: Yeah. Well, it's funny, I heard her on a podcast recently saying the same thing. She's still looking for you, so that's good.

Chad Hartzell: Right, right.

Tim Leman: If I looked on your devices at home or the TV, what are you streaming right now?

Chad Hartzell: It's interesting. The pandemic, I was working pretty much on site as much as possible, but I did have my own COVID diagnosis, and so I did the quarantine piece. And what that got me into was Ozark, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and then as I've... Unfortunately, then I realized, oh my gosh, some of these other shows on these other channels are much better than what you might get. I don't watch a lot of TV, but when I'm on the elliptical machine, I usually make sure that I'm watching a series of something, so I have those two. And then the Billy Bob Thornton one, he was the lawyer. And then right now, it's Breaking Bad, which apparently I'm several years behind on because that was out a while ago. But from my perspective, whatever keeps me on the treadmill working out, or on the elliptical, that's what's on.

Tim Leman: That's right. And forget how hard you're working, I like it. So we'll keep in theme here. What actor would play Chad Hartzell in a movie?

Chad Hartzell: At one point in time in my college years, I had a girl tell me that I looked like Hugh Grant. But I'll say that the hair was longer and the sideburns were kind of going, so I'll stick with that one. Everyone wants to say Tom Cruise, but yeah, I'll stick with Hugh Grant.

Tim Leman: All right. We'll go with Hugh Grant. We'll teach him to speak Hoosier and he'll be all set. What's something about you that very few people know?

Chad Hartzell: I'll go with I danced in The Nutcracker for three years when I was younger. I did ballet, Southold Dance Theater. I was on a stage at the Morris Center for Performing Arts.

Tim Leman: I think we need to get an all star cast, like a come back tour of from previous years. And I'd vote to see you in that. So Chad Hartzell in tights, I like.

Chad Hartzell: I'd probably rather talk about the race car driving than that, I think.

Tim Leman: All right. Three people you'd like to have dinner with.

Chad Hartzell: I hate to let you down on this answer, but it'd be my wife and two kids, man. Conner's getting ready to go down to IU. Tyler's going to... He's a freshman. I cherish those times more than I ever have right now, man.

Tim Leman: Yeah. I get it. And last one, Chad, something big you want to do before it's all over. Win the elusive dirt track championship.

Chad Hartzell: Well, actually, I did that four years in a row.

Tim Leman: Okay. Been there and done that.

Chad Hartzell: '16through'19.'20 was an anomaly. For me, Tim, that's always a tough question. I've never been a legacy type of guy. The one thing that I think that I want to just achieve or continue to do is just grow as an individual as myself. I want to be just a better perspective, better understanding, better person overall when my time comes, and sit back and reflect on that. And part of my response might've been different a few weeks ago before I experienced what my dad went through. But for me, the work piece of your legacy and all that, we have that ability every day. That's the way I kind of look at it, and that is: Well, what am I working towards? And as long as you have a now, near, and a far strategy, execute against that, and your legacy and your impact will fall into place. But for me, I continue to try to be focused on what's my own continual evolution to be the best version of myself that I can be to others, I guess.

Tim Leman: Yeah. Well, Chad, it's been awesome having you on the show. I like your thoughtful answers and your transparency on all this. And I will tell you too, I just really think you're somebody who operates from a great place of abundance. I know a lot of people in your HR coaching tree are big fans of yours, and you've always been very supportive of them and their careers, and neat to see all that circle back around too. So thanks again for being on today.

Chad Hartzell: It's my pleasure, Tim. And thanks for those nice words as well. And I really do value the opportunity to make connections with those folks that you reference.

Tim Leman: Thank you for tuning in today. I'm Tim Leman, and remember to own your edge. Subscribe to The Edge Podcast on Apple, Google and Spotify.


Chad Hartzell, Executive Director of Talent & Organizational Development at Beacon Health System, joins Tim to share his HR insights. In this episode, Chad discusses the diversity, equity, and inclusion journey his organization has been on. He also encourages leaders to challenge the traditional spectrum of HR. Listen to Chad share what gives him his edge in life, the importance of trust and feedback on a team, and more.

Today's Host

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Tim Leman

|Chairman & CEO, Gibson

Today's Guests

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Chad Hartzell

|Executive Director, Talent & Organizational Development at Beacon Health System