Vital Voices: Julie Murchinson, CEO of Health Evolution Summit, on the Power of Community and Driving Diversity in Healthcare
What makes the Health Evolution Summit different from the plethora of other healthcare conferences in the industry? For Julie Murchison, CEO of Health Evolution Summit, it’s all about the power of the community, and bringing together healthcare executives, innovators and policy makers to make massive health disruption possible.
We checked in with Julie to learn about the exciting discussions happening at the 2019 Health Evolution Summit, and to hear more about how she feels women in healthcare have stepped up to the plate when it comes to improving their professional networks.
Q. The Health Evolution Summit brings together the innovators and skill partners to make massive industry disruption happen. How has the Summit evolved since its inception?
A. The Summit has evolved from being a place for small groups of healthcare leaders to meet, to convening large groups of some of the most influential industry executives, focused on addressing healthcare’s most critical issues. These are the CEOs that have the power to really influence and scale innovation, and are driving change in the industry.
The Summit has also increasingly become a destination for policy makers, especially as we’re starting to see more policy makers and capital from outside of healthcare either working side by side or being a part of the solutions development.
And perhaps most importantly, we’ve evolved to the point of having built a committed and loyal community, with 70 percent of attendees having come to the Summit before. It’s this community orientation, year after year, that allows attendees to drive deeper and deeper relationships and have more meaningful interactions onsite, like conversations that facilitate deal-making or strategic partnerships capable of actually achieving something.
Q. The Health Evolution Summit facilitates important conversations on mission-critical topics among some of today’s leading executives, tech innovators, philanthropists and policy makers. Is there a topic that you’re particularly excited about this year?
A. This year’s Summit features a diverse set of timely topics, with social determinants of health (SDOH) being front and center. But this is not your grandma’s SDOH. We’re addressing what often gets left out of the SDOH conversation, which is financing and sustainable business models. What is the opportunity for the private sector to push solutions in SDOH forward, as part of their operations? Similarly, one of our discussions will focus on the financing and business models of curative therapies -- and all ideas will be welcomed, even the zany ones.
Q. The Confab of Women ChangeMakers is an intimate, pre-Summit experience for women and men interested tackling diversity and change head-on, working together to understand how women at the top are taking on the big issues. How did ‘Confab’ begin? What makes it so unique?
A. What we found was that there was a lot more interest in networking from female executives, but at the same time we didn’t want to pull the all-too-few female CEOs away from their male counterparts – it’s important that they talk, network and problem solve together. So we started Confab with the goal of giving visibility to how strong female executives address and overcome leadership issues with a mix of women and men involved.
For example, how do you take a stand on an issue that might not be at the core of your business? How do you unlock executive paralysis and drive innovation? How do you finance it, get buy in, move complex solutions forward? And, how can each member of Confab, woman or man, make a difference and drive change in their organizations?
One other unique aspect of Confab is that we pick a timely, mission-critical societal issue to address as part of the program. Last year it was looking at loneliness, and this year it is looking at the crippling addiction epidemic through the lens of healthcare’s role in addressing preventative and treatment issues.
Q. How has female mentorship affected your career? And, what advice do you have for today’s female healthcare entrepreneurs looking to improve their network and explore collaborative learning opportunities?
Thinking about the women who have helped guide my career, or even those in my network that have simply approached me about an opportunity, I’ve seen a shift in how women think about helping other women. There’s been a lot more enthusiasm and activity recently, which is great. Women are more conscious of leveraging one another in the name of driving diversity.
But when it comes to women in healthcare, it’s distinctly “a women in healthcare leadership” problem, as Oliver Wyman’s Women in Healthcare Leadership 2019 research highlights. For the C-Suite and executive positions, OW found that it essentially comes down to “affinity” – the degree to which you really know and trust someone. The greater the affinity with someone, the more likely you’ll think of them for a job opening or board seat. However, women have tended to focus more on doing an incredible job rather than put themselves out there and get to know others in a deeper way.
So my advice to women is to get out there and build deep relationships. It’s the deepening that will make a difference. This is what the Confab is all about. A lot of the same Confab participants come back year after year, and are strengthening their personal relationships to draw on their Confab friends for years to come.
Q. What differentiates the Health Evolution Summit from other industry events geared towards senior executives?