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Whitman Partners AORN Session: Diversity, Organization Purpose, and Personal Branding  

April 12, 2023


Whitman Partners AORN Session: Diversity, Organization Purpose, and Personal Branding  

Organization Purpose, Diversity, and Personal Branding

One of the first education sessions to kick off the AORN 2023 Global Surgical Conference & Expo in San Antonio earlier this month was “Millennial Leadership in the OR: The Collaborative Workstyle,” moderated by Whitman Partners CEO Josiah Whitman.  

Perioperative leaders Jessica Johnson, Bevan Burnell, and Dillon Hofeling championed the collaborative leadership style, shared tips on promoting retention, and discussed ways to create an environment where teamwork can thrive. 

Instill Organizational Purpose in Staff. Make sure you and your staff know the organization’s mission. As a leader, connect that mission to your personal brand. This will help guide you when making tough decisions for surgical services.  

  • Johnson says, “There are a lot of sacred cows in the OR. My personal brand is that I am here to help build teams and lead them to challenge the status quo. I promise my teammates that when it gets hard, I will be there for them.” 

Expand Hiring Diversity. In addition to gender and race, diversity can mean bringing someone into the organization with experience in a different field. Having multiple perspectives will help with collaboration.  

  • Hofeling says, “For Director of Surgical Services positions, we traditionally hire someone who came up in the OR. But what about same-day surgery? Endoscopy? PACU? Those are fantastic leaders who can do a better job in most circumstances for clinical applications.”  

Mentoring and Succession Planning. Get people to believe in themselves. Add regular meetings to the calendar to discuss what they can do to prepare for their first leadership role. 

  • Burnell says, “Take people of all backgrounds aside and tell them you believe they can do this and they should apply for this role.” 

Read AORN’s pre-conference article about this session here. Watch Hoefling discuss the “unit-based council” in the OR in a brief interview. Some of this year’s sessions will be available virtually to members on May 1.  

Jessica Johnson, MHA, BSN, RN, FACHE, is the VP of Surgical Services at Aurora Health in Milwaukee, WI  

Dillon Hofeling, MSLM, MBA, BSN, RN, is the VP of Surgical Services at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT  

Bevan Burnell, MBA, BSN, RN, is the Director of Surgical Services for Ogden Regional Medical Center in Ogden, UT.