Leaders Evolve! CEO of Simply Healthcare on resilience, inclusion and personal development.

Lourdes RivasLourdes Rivas CEO, Simply Healthcare

With 15 years at the helm of healthcare organizations, this energetic CEO shares her keen insights on leadership.

Just ask South Florida Business Journal which in June ranked Simply Healthcare as #10 on their list of Fastest Growing Companies. Also in June, the company was given the 2013 Emerging Company of the Year award by the Association for Corporate Growth and in April was selected as the 2013 Outstanding Minority Business of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

If a company is on the move and winning industry praise and recognition, its leader is also worth watching?and listening to.

Lourdes Rivas became Chief Executive Officer at the start of this very exciting year for Simply Healthcare. She had previously served as the company?s Chief Operating Officer, expanding operations to 31 Florida counties with 250,000 Medicaid recipients and 5,000 providers.

Heading up a company of 530 employees, Ms. Rivas shared with Leading some insight on the subject of leadership, starting by answering the question ?What?s your style of leadership??

?The leadership style that has served me well is being inclusive,? she says with conviction. ?I go out and get opinions from others before I make a major decision that?s going to effect the organization. I especially want input from the senior management team. I consider them my partners.?

She admits she often has a pre-conceived idea of how a decision should go. ?But sometimes I have completely changed my thinking because of what I have heard from others,? she says. ?It?s critical to have all the information before making a final decision.?

Ms. Rivas recommends that once a decision has been made, don?t overthink it. ?You can have paralysis through analysis, that?s for sure,? she says. ?Once you have gathered opinions and made your decision, move forward with conviction down the path you?ve chosen.?

Like other top-performing and charismatic CEOs, Ms. Rivas seems to be what?s referred to as a ?born leader.?

?I think there are born leaders,? she says. ?If you?re the one who wants to lead the discussion, if you?re the one who wants to develop the action plan, chances are you?re a born leader. The instincts are there but you also have to learn specific skills and techniques to lead others effectively.?

While some are natural leaders, development is key.Throughout her career Ms. Rivas has led healthcare organizations in Florida and nationally including serving as Regional Vice President for DentaQuest, COO for Atlantic Dental and CEO of PrescribIT.

During Lourdes Rivas? tenure, Simply Healthcare has seen revenues increase four-fold, expanded its operations and provider network across the state and created more than 300 jobs for Floridians.

She tells Leading about the keys to leadership success that she has observed.

Key to Success #1: Understanding people

?A leader must have compassion and empathy to truly understand people,? Ms. Rivas says. ?I really listen to what others are telling me-?not just pretend to listen. At the end of the day, it?s your relationships–your connections to people– that help move the ship.?

Key to Success #2: Resilience

?I think people underestimate the likelihood that things are going to go wrong,? Ms. Rivas points out. ?As a leader, you will have good days, bad days, ugly days. Be assured that there?s going to be a storm! What matters is how you emerge from the storm.?

She laughs when she shares that a line from the movie Gone With the Wind often sees her through. ?When things looked particularly bleak, the heroine of the movie, Scarlett O?Hara, says with determination, ?Tomorrow is another day? and that?s what I remind myself,? she says. ?The sun will rise tomorrow and I will have another chance.?

Key to Success #3: Leadership Development

?Leaders evolve. I?m not the same leader I was 20 years ago or even five years ago,? Ms. Rivas shares. ?Professional leadership development helps leaders fine tune their skills, to take them to the next level of successfully moving their team forward.?

She points to the Leading Decisions program at the Center for Leadership at Florida International University as being extremely helpful to her. This program, designed exclusively for presidents and C-Suite executives, helps build capability for optimal decision making.

?Never be at a place where you can?t learn more,? she advises. ?Always be open to new ways of thinking that have been discovered. Leadership development is all about honing your skills.?

Key to Success #4: Integrity

?Integrity is critical to our livelihood and our company,? she says. ?The leader sets the bar. For me, that means being transparent with our team, our customers and providers in every encounter, in every meeting and in every communication.?

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