View from the C-Suite: A Look Back at the Challenges and Opportunities of 2021 from Five Industry Leaders

December 4, 2021

// By Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D. //

Rhoda Weiss, Ph.D.As we approach the two-year mark of the pandemic, it’s clear that the crisis has forged strong alliances across the industry. Leaders have come together to share best practices and help one another address challenges common to all.

For two years, marketing and communication professionals have faced the excruciating crisis of a pandemic nothing fully prepared us for. We’re changing how and from where we work, balancing dichotomies of layoffs and staff shortages, experiencing colleague and personal burnout, dealing with new and conflicting information, and too much more.

Concerned over public perception of marketing and communications activities, we struggle with how and when to unveil branding and growth market strategies. We’re besieged and even threatened by unhappy, highly vocal opponents of mandates; we try incessantly to counteract unabated disinformation offering comfort and cause to the unvaccinated and unmasked, and have no answer to those telling us to have a nice weekend.

Knowing we achieve much more together, each week since March 2020, I’ve led and coordinated teleconferences for 100+ marketing and communications executives representing a majority of U.S. hospitals. Numbering more than 150 75-minute calls and 2,500 resources, innovations, and activities, each mini-conference — with eight to 10 colleagues and often CEO speakers — shares issues, challenges, solutions, best practices, and more.

While initially primarily pandemic focused, we’ve added pre- and post-COVID topics, discussing what’s new, next, and best, and how the pandemic forever changes the profession, the professional, and organizations we serve.

To gain further insights, I asked colleagues from our group representing regional and national health systems to share challenges, solutions, and activities resulting from pandemic experiences:

  • Mark Klein, senior vice president, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, Dignity Health
  • Paul Matsen, chief marketing & communications officer, Cleveland Clinic
  • Amalia Stanton, vice president, Marketing, Memorial Hermann Health System
  • Kathy Winn, vice president, Strategic Marketing, LifePoint Health
  • Roderic (Roddy) Young, chief marketing & communications officer, Boston Children’s Hospital

Here’s how they responded.

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