Marc Harrison: Hello. Today I'm with Don Woodruff, a business application specialist from our finance team, and Lisa Duckworth, a HR business partner. I'm told that both of you are military veterans and in honor of Veterans Day, I wanted to talk to you both about how Intermountain can support veterans. So welcome Don and Lisa. Can you tell us little bit about yourselves?

Lisa Duckworth: Like you said, I'm Lisa Duckworth, otherwise known as Specialist Duckworth. I served in the U.S. Army close to six years. Places I served were Fort Leatherwood, Missouri; Fort Mammoth, New Jersey; Fort Stewart, Georgia; Darmstadt, Germany.

Marc Harrison: What were your jobs?

Lisa Duckworth: Oh yes, I was Chaplain Assistant. It was an interesting job. I actually, in wartime was the Chaplain's bodyguard because they are not allowed to carry weapons.

Marc Harrison: Did you also learn some counseling skills?

Lisa Duckworth: Absolutely. It comes in very handy HR role. There's a lot of skills I learned as a Chaplain Assistant that are very applicable and transferrable as HR systems partners.

Marc Harrison: Great. Thank you. How about you Don? Tell me a little bit about yourself, please.

Don Woodruff: I'm Don Woodruff and I joined the military on dare back out of high school. My buddy and I...

Marc Harrison: I don't think that's recommended, is it? (laughter)

Don Woodruff: No. We went there after we graduated and we both said, let's just do something fun and next thing we know we're both in boot camp.

Marc Harrison: And what branch were you in?

Don Woodruff: Navy. U.S. Navy. I was in navigation. I did four years active and nine years reserves, here in Salt Lake City. My last tour of duty was with the Korean military. So I would go to fly to Korea for my two weeks and work with them. I got to go in their bunkers in see all their security stuff and I worked with joint forces, the Air Force, Army, Marines on both sides. That was my last tour. At nineteen years old, I was able to tour the whole world. Saw many countries, many diversities, many different sites and people. It was quite interesting.

Marc Harrison: First let me say thank you both for your service. I really, deeply appreciate it. And I think we all need to honor our veterans who preserved the freedoms we enjoy here. So thank you. You both had international experiences with your military service. Do you think that made you open to diversity?

Don Woodruff: Oh yes. Yes.

Lisa Duckworth: Absolutely. Just the military itself, you have people really from all over, not only in the United States. But you also have a lot of people who are looking to gain citizenship through the military service too. It is truly a melting pot. You get exposed to different ways of doing things, way of talkin. Just different norms and standards. It was truly a great experience for me.

Marc Harrison: I bet. How about you Don?

Don Woodruff: It was for me. Being stuck on a ship with three hundred sailors for six weeks at a time, you get to see a lot of people. You bunk with them, you share the rack with them, you work with them every day and you have to learn to understand each side, each person and their personality and where they came from.

Marc Harrison: Have you both carried that into your non-military lives as well? This sense of tolerance or different kinds of people?

Don Woodruff: Yes.

Lisa Duckworth: Absolutely. I actually, I seek out new experiences. Maybe I try it through restaurants a little too much, but if I hear, oh what's this Tibetan restaurant? Let's go for it. I think you're just a little more adventurous and open to new cultures and ideas than maybe some people who haven't had those experiences.

Marc Harrison: I totally agree with you. For us, it's an interest in diversity. Because that's exciting and fun but also a sense that people are people. Same problems, same strengths. They may just come in a different package. It's recognition that we're all human beings. We all have value that I've taken away from my international experience.

Can you talk to me a little bit about the military caregivers' resource support group? This something I'm really passionate about and I love the fact that we have these groups. And I'm particularly thrilled that we have this group.

Don Woodruff: Well it all started back when I emailed you that I'm happy for the Martin Luther King Day but what about us veterans?

Marc Harrison: And did I follow through? (laughter)

Don Woodruff: You did. You called me on the phone. I was scared to death when I saw your name. And here we are.

Marc Harrison: And we had a really nice conversation, right?

Don Woodruff: We did. Well I'd like to say the way the group has supported the military people: maybe go hand in hand with the VA up there. If we have someone who has an issue here in Intermountain, we can also go to the VA and see what we can do to help them out. We also want to support the people that are here, the caregivers, give them recognition, let them know we are here to support them. Let them know that we can support their families and their children if they're deployed. What we can do to help them out. I know there are a lot of businesses out there that will help a veteran by cleaning up their house, painting their house, doing stuff like that...{inaudible]

Marc Harrison: We are the community also, right?

Don Woodruff: Right.

Lisa Duckworth: Right.

Don Woodruff: So I mean, recognizing that we need to take care of each other, as fellow caregivers but we live in these communities. We're each other's neighbors.

Marc Harrison: I think you're right. We need to look outside of our walls.

Lisa, how about you? Anything you want to add?


Lisa Duckworth: Maybe this is my HR hat I'm wearing. I'd really like to see more opportunities where we can look at maybe someone who has served or is serving and wants to be a part of Intermountain. And looking at those jobs that they already have and be able to translate those better into jobs that we have here in Intermountain. And so I think there are some opportunities missed where we're not really translating that experience into transferring into roles and using those people in ways that we can use them better. We also have a student program. Why don't we have a Veteran's program as well? I mean there's a lot of opportunity there.

Marc Harrison: Have you shared some ideas with Heather Brace, our chief people officer, yet or not?

Lisa Duckworth: Oh I will. Or maybe she'll listen to this and we'll talk about it. (laughter)

Marc Harrison: Well she does listen to podcasts. I'll mention it to her. I think you should as well.

Lisa Duckworth: Absolutely.

Marc Harrison: I'll confess to you that I have a personal soft spot for working with veterans. When I was overseas, probably my Chief Partner, and I was deployed for five and half years, was the Chief Operating Officer for my old institution. We had worked together when I was the Chief of Medical Operations and then when I became CEO overseas, Bill was my Chief Support person. He had been a Naval pilot until he had a couple of pretty hard landings. They scrubbed that for him. He was an engineer and became a CB. He was a captain in the Navy when he retired. I always just thought of him as the ultimate professional and totally mission and team oriented. We always accomplished our mission. And we always did it as a team. When I think of our veteran caregivers, you all have many of those same traits you learned in the military. And you've brought those to Intermountain. Is that true?

Don Woodruff: Yes it is true.

Lisa Duckworth: It is. And I really love that you brought that up.

Don Woodruff: When we get out of the military, we're lost. We don't know what to do. When I was nineteen I navigated a ship from California to the Straits of Juan de Fuca. I was in charge of navigation. That was a lot responsibility for a nineteen year old. I get out active duty and I work at K-Mart. It's such a big shock, a cultural shock. And that's what us military people go through. So Intermountain can help that is when somebody gets off of deployment.

Marc Harrison: And we get valuable caregivers, right?

Don Woodruff: Right. If they were a corpsman or nurse or something in the military. Why don't we bring them aboard and pay for their education here.

Marc Harrison: You've given a bunch of good ideas that you're kind of preaching to the choir here. When I was deployed, a lot of my leaders were really young and people who were really adventuresome. They left different parts of the world and left to come work with us in the Middle East. I had twenty five, twenty six running big parts of the organization. And people would come over from the west and they would express sort of concerns. Isn't he pretty young? I said, look you know, you can take a 23-year-old and have them leading a platoon in Helmand province, I'll make you a bet they're going to be just fine in business world. I look at the leadership development that I've seen in my friends and colleagues who have been through the military and I can only imagine that would be good to have more of that at Intermountain. Do you think that's probably true?

Don Woodruff: I believe it's very true.

Lisa Duckworth: That's one thing that you know there's parts where you're like, oh I wish I could, oh take me back kind of thing. The leadership development is so very structured in the military and it's like you don't move forward unless you do this. It's very defined and there's a clear career path to leadership in the military. I think here we have it. We're doing alright but I think we can do better.

Marc Harrison: I think you're right by the way. My understanding in the military is, if you can't cut it, you don't get to lead other people. Because you may kill them. Right? You may not bring them home alive. And in healthcare we can hurt people too. We try so hard not to. What would you recommend to us in terms of our expectations for our leaders, for performance as leaders?

Because by the way, I think we have fabulous people and leaders here.

Lisa Duckworth: We do.

Marc Harrison: My question is, are we fully getting them exercise their leadership skills and what expectation should we have of them based on your experience with veterans?

Don Woodruff: I don't want to focus on me here, but I tried to get jobs in management where I can be a supervisor and because I didn't get a degree I didn't get the position — even though I had leadership in the military commanding troops focusing on a whole ship getting from one place to another place. When I was in Korea, I had to be in charge actually of all the medical supplies where we called it going throughout South Korea in case there was a war. So that was my main position. And like I said, I come out here, and it's like, oh you don't have leadership because you haven't gone to college. Well I probably had a different leadership.

Marc Harrison: Very different. Probably very relevant also.

Don Woodruff: That's what I'd like to focus on is giving the military people who went in the service instead of going to college almost the same opportunity to lead in Intermountain Healthcare.

Marc Harrison: That's actually a great suggestion. Has HR considered that, do you know?

Don Woodruff: That's our next goal is to work with recruitment on that.

Lisa Duckworth: We were starting to make some headway with some of the job descriptions that were beginning to go up because it used to be education and not the and/or experience. Whenever I've had the opportunities to write new job descriptions, I've been including that as appropriate to create some more flexibility with those kind of requirements.

Marc Harrison: Sounds like you've given us a couple good ideas that we'll share on the podcast. I'll share with Heather for sure.

Lisa Duckworth: Right. And Heather was my boss before she got this role.

Marc Harrison: She's pretty terrific, isn't she?

Lisa Duckworth: So I know her a little bit. (laughter) Yes she is.

Marc Harrison: Can I ask you what advice you have for me?

Lisa Duckworth: In our conversation, you seem very supportive of our ideas. So I would love to whenever we turn that into action as we continue to have your support in developing more opportunities for veterans and also the community. And really showing our support as Intermountain to our veterans here at Intermountain and also out in the community. I think there's a lot of opportunities that can be had. There's the Choice Program. We have veteran patients that we could also gain through this effort as well.

Marc Harrison: Right. And I want to make sure we have an environment that's comfortable for them as well.

Lisa Duckworth: Absolutely.

Marc Harrison: I am supportive. I never just seemed to be so you can tell whether I'm in or not in, okay? I'm in on this, okay? In the same way, that Don emailed me and we've made something really happen, let's work with Heather and her team and let's figure out what we can really do. To the extent that you can also provide her with what you believe are best practices from other large organizations, can be nationwide doesn't have to be here in Utah. But what are the best practices from great organizations that fully embrace veterans? And this is not some charity thing, right? This is actually to take great people with great skills and give them opportunity but also have our organization benefit from them. It should be mutually beneficial. Sound like a deal?

Lisa Duckworth: It does. And actually I'd written some notes before we came and one of the things that I was hoping we would have as a goal is that we would become an employer of choice for veterans and their families. And also to even take that a step further and be the model that others will look at instead of us looking at those other organizations. I want to flip it. And be the ones they look at and watch.

Marc Harrison: Well you know I'm a little competitive.

Lisa Duckworth: Just a little. Well I am too.

Marc Harrison: Good I love that.

Lisa Duckworth: So we're good.

Marc Harrison: Let's aspire.

Lisa Duckworth: So yes. I want to aspire for greatness. I want to do right by the veterans. I think we have a lot of opportunity.

Marc Harrison: Well thank you. And I appreciate the advice. Don, how about from you? What advice do you have for me?

Don Woodruff: Getting more involved in the community. There's this group that works at Intermountain Healthcare, a gentleman, he's a part of Patriot Riders. And that's a group of people that are Harley Davidson people and they also have cars. But they escort the bodies that come back from like Korea, they just escorted that body over. They'll escort it to Washington D.C.

Marc Harrison: Yeah, I talked to one of his family members.

Don Woodruff: Yeah. Support them. And what it is, is there are a lot of people out there that want to picketed and scream and yell at the veterans when they come back. Especially at the interment of the cemetery. This group helps guard them, support them so the people can't go right up to the family and yell and scream at them.

Marc Harrison: That's horrible. I'm so sorry to hear that that happens.

Don Woodruff: It does. It happens here in Utah as well. But this group will also ride with them and protect them. So if Intermountain can maybe support that a little bit. I don't know how. That'd be great. We also have the Toys for Tots by the Marines. Maybe Intermountain can also do that.

Marc Harrison: I think your resource group should really be the clearing house for these ideas. And to take them.

Lisa Duckworth: Actually we're already doing that at Homecare. I made that decision.

Marc Harrison: So take them. Take those ideas and filter them and make recommendations. Can I ask you a small favor? Both of you? Can you invite me to one of your resource group meetings so I could come and meet your fellow veterans and Intermountain caregivers and say thanks and listen a little bit?

Don Woodruff: Yes.

Lisa Duckworth: Absolutely.

Marc Harrison: I'm going to hold you to it, okay?

Lisa Duckworth: Okay.

Don Woodruff: Okay.

Marc Harrison: Thank you for this conversation.

Lisa Duckworth: Oh you're welcome.

Marc Harrison: Really appreciate it. And thank you again for your service.

Lisa Duckworth: Thank you.

Don Woodruff: Thank you.