CIO of the Year Marx to keynote June 13 event in Cleveland

Industry leader to share keys to transformative leadership

By GREG REID/Contributing Writer

When it comes to exploring new ways to look at health information technology and your leadership role in it, Ed Marx will tell you what got you to your current position won't get you where you need to go. Today's IT leaders need a stronger sense of innovation and dynamism to reach their goals. Further, there's a clear demand for dynamic, insightful and inspiring leaders who are forward-thinking in the way they position an organization for the future. 

Consider Marx a reliable source. He's vice president and chief information officer at Texas Health Resources, among the largest faith-based, nonprofit healthcare delivery systems in the United States. Marx is also the 2013 John E. Gall Jr. CIO of the Year, the industry's highest honor, given jointly by CHIME and HIMSS. For the record, he's a mountain climber, a high-level duathlete, a husband "in a vibrant marriage," and the father of "two happy, accomplished adult children."

No wonder he's one of the most sought-after speakers in the industry.

"It's all about engagement," he said. "There's nothing like being there in person, eyeball to eyeball."

Marx will be among the thought leaders presenting at the HIMSS Leadership Essentials Conference, being held June 13 at the HIMSS Innovation Center in Cleveland.

The one-day educational program, presented in conjunction with a CPHIMSS review course, is designed to explore the major core competencies essential to leading a well-run and effective health IT organization.

The conference agenda supports the personal and professional growth of HIT-focused individuals already working at a mid-to-executive management level within a healthcare organization. Attendees will learn what attributes are most common to successful leaders and how to develop them for themselves. They will also have the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with like-minded peers. 

"You need to make time to get out and get engaged," Marx said. "Sometimes, you've just got to get out of the office for a while to stimulate creativity. Go explore a new city. It's amazing what ideas you'll come up with or who you'll meet on the airplane."

The conference program includes the following components:

  • Presentations on the core competencies leaders must master to move an organization forward
  • A hands-on interactive workshop on defining and engaging key leadership abilities for personal career management as well as leading others
  • A panel discussion on the ups and downs of executive leadership 
  • Tips on organizing a team geared for success
  • Opportunities to network with and engage peers

Among the points Marx will address:

  • Passion. "We have to have passion about what we do and know what we do makes a difference," he said. "If you don't have it as a leader, you're less effective than you could be, and your people probably won't have it."
  • Service. "One of our first jobs is to serve the people who actually do the real work of healthcare," he said. "If we as leaders don't think we serve others, we've got trouble."
  • Competency.  "We need to exercise our leadership and understanding of technology to lead in a way that's significant."
  • Transformative leadership. "There's a real need to bring new skill sets to bear, including entrepreneurial thinking," he said. "If your title includes 'vice president' you need to act like one: Come up with ideas and help transform the organization."
  • Mentoring. "It's a lost art from the old days that hasn't been replicated very well in modern society," he said. "People are hungry for it because they're not getting it anymore."
  • Life balance. "To be a transformational leader," Marx said, "you need life balance, or you're going to flame out."

Marx said he's eager to see old friends and colleagues in Cleveland, the city where his career took off. And then there's the conference itself.

"Whenever I go to one of these (events), I walk away with two or three golden nuggets," he said, "those lessons I can't wait to apply the next day in my organization."

For more information, visit the HIMSS Leadership Council site.