One of the most influential CEOs in the South Florida medical community shares her leadership savvy.

Patricia Maria Rosello

Patricia Maria Rosello, CEO for Baptist Outpatient Services

She began her career as a registered nurse and now heads a division of the largest not-for-profit multi-hospital health care system in the region

Patricia Maria Rosello is Chief Executive Officer for Baptist Outpatient Services, a division of Baptist Health South Florida.

The numbers are impressive: Baptist Outpatient Services has more than 1,000 employees, 600+ staff physicians and more than 4,000 referring physicians. The division includes 13 freestanding diagnostic imaging centers, 15 urgent care centers, home care, an executive health program as well as four sleep, two endoscopy and two ambulatory surgery joint ventures centers. Baptist Outpatient Services, with $120 million in net revenues and a capital/construction budget of over $40 million, has the highest operating margin at 29 percent.

Ms. Rosello received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Masters of Nursing in Administration from Barry University in 1982 and 1989 respectively. Her career was launched in 1982 as an emergency room nurse at Pan American Hospital where she went on to hold several leadership positions: Director of Nursing, Assistant Vice President of Patient Care Services and Vice President of Operations.

This talented and energetic executive joined Baptist Health South Florida in 1998 as the Vice President for Ambulatory Services. In 2003, she was named as CEO of the newly formed Baptist Outpatient Services.

Ms. Rosello is often labeled as a visionary, because it was under her leadership that the new division was created to address growing changes and needs in medical care. “I don’t think anyone sets out to be a visionary,” she says. “You become a person with visions through observing and understanding different perspectives and then projecting how changes can help. You do that often enough, you train yourself to start thinking ahead.”

But she adds that success is also due to an elusive factor. “Another piece of it is luck,” Ms. Rosello says with her usual candidness. “There are many great ideas that never take off because the timing isn’t right and often that’s a matter of luck.”

Ms. Roscello says leadership in the healthcare industry doesn’t require a customized skill set. “Your stakeholders are different and what you are crafting is particular to the industry you serve, but good leadership skills are fundamental, across the board,” she comments.

Storytelling: a leader’s powerful tool

An important skill in being a leader is to get people to believe in you and being a masterful story teller is a quite effective way to make that happen, according to Ms. Rosello.

“Storytelling is one of the best leadership lessons I have learned,” she reports. “You have to present a compelling vision of what you see and what that means to you and the people you’re talking to. Storytelling lets you do that. People connect with a storyteller.”

Good storytellers use a concrete sequence of events from the past, present or, in fact, a vision of the future. Authentic descriptions and details bring the listener into the story.

Ms. Rosello’s tips for effective storytelling:

Don’t rush your story. “We tend to hurry because we like to tell people how the story will end. But you’ve lost the chance for people to buy in to your vision if you don’t take time to build your story.”

Show your vulnerability. “If the story moves you, don’t be afraid to convey that. Let your feelings show, and people will realize you’re being genuine and honest.”

Choose the right story. “To convey your ideas, you might present one story to your board of directors and a different story to your team. When I wanted to take our services beyond Miami-Dade and move into Broward county, I shared one particular story to the Board of Directors but used a different story to explain to the staff why this was a good move.”

Remember that abstract ideas take longer to convey. “I am trying to get across the idea that our organization should be ‘intensely human.’ But because that’s an abstract strategy I have told many stories many times, to show the impact an intensely human experience can have.”

Use storytelling for recognition. “Praising a person’s actions through a specific story is an ideal way to praise him or her and motivate others.”

Recognizing leadership potential

As a skilled leader of many people, locations, departments and services, Ms. Rosello has definite ideas of what she wants in a potential leader to be

promoted within her team. “I can teach people the hard skills of leadership but I can’t teach the soft, intangible skills,” she says.

What she looks for in a potential leader:

  • Personality: not overtly outgoing or overly charming but rather having the right personality for the particular position.
  • Ability to deal with paradox and ambiguity: although we love black and white directions, true leaders can be presented with ambiguity and even some paradoxes and still rise to decisive, positive actions.
  • Managerial courage for difficult situations.
  • A passion for accountability.
  • An ability to story tell and create influence. Leadership is all about getting others to buy into what you’re saying.

“One of the best rewards of this job is recognizing leadership in others and helping their skills develop,” Ms. Roscello concludes.

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