• Alan Shoebridge

SHSMD Connections 2019: Inspirations and observations



As Dean Browell wrapped up the conference yesterday and gave everyone a reminder about next year’s destination – SHSMD’s home base of Chicago – it struck me how fast the conference seemed to fly by. All of my five days in Nashville felt more like about 24 hours despite packing in so many learning sessions, inspirational keynote speeches, and opportunities to connect with current and former colleagues.


A short blog post can’t do the conference full justice, but here are some of my personal highlights from the three main days that everyone attended.


Day 1:


Pre-conference sessions kicked off over the weekend, but Monday was the first full day for most participants. The morning kicked off by giving us some context to help us look at the problems we are trying to solve with a broader perspective.


Jon Meacham keynote: Thinking critically

  • Just because you have an opinion you can express quickly doesn’t mean you should.

  • We have an instant feedback loop today. It’s simply easier to respond than to think.

  • We need to make mental space for thinking.

  • We are far more reactive than reflective; that ratio needs to switch.

  • Three keys for doing any job better: Be curious. Be humble. Be empathetic.



CMO Panel: Leveraging consumer marketing practices in healthcare

  • Healthcare is a commodity in the eyes of consumers with few distinguishing factors between brands.

  • Consumers want to know what your brand stands for.

  • If your employees don’t know what your brand stands for, nobody else will.

  • Train people how to treat your marketing team and respect your skills.

  • David Perry’s “new four Ps” of marketing: Pick something you believe in; Pitch it; Pilot it; Pivot.

  • Say “not that, but this” instead of no.

  • Your vendors/partners need to act like team members, highly integrated and aligned to your strategy.

Day 2:


It was a great second day with many of the speakers and presentations focused on disruption, innovation, consumerism and problem-solving.



Sekou Andrews: Embracing disruption in healthcare and in life

  • Disruptors are termites eating away at our foundation. We might not see the damage being done, but it's there.

  • SHIFT your mindset. Turn disaster into delight.

  • Create a new definition for ROI: Return on Inspiration!

  • “Tom Hanks in Big” yourself. Approach things with child-like curiosity and honesty. If it doesn’t make sense, say so!


Dr. Zeev Neuwirth: Developing a marketing-focused mindset in healthcare

  • Trust in healthcare is crashing among US residents.

  • Employers have been the sleeping giants of healthcare.

  • Employers will push to reframe and refocus healthcare in the face of rising costs.

  • The marketing mindset can transform healthcare delivery.

  • We need to change the type of problems were solving. We need to reframe.

  • Our timeframe to adapt is brief – four years or less.

Day 3


There were some great sessions in the morning and an excellent keynote to take everyone out on a high note.


Carla Moore: Finding your passion, purpose and power

  • Leadership is not about showing how good you can be, but about showing how good others can be.

  • How do you figure out what your passion is? Ask yourself what you would be doing tomorrow if you won the lottery today.

  • Reflect on what moves you the most. What news stories connect with you? That could be your purpose.

  • You can have many passions, don’t let people tell you to just have one!

I could write much more about the conference, but this post is getting quite lengthy, so let’s close by saying so long to Connections 2019 and hello to Connections 2020!



Learn even more by following some of the #SHSMD19 influencers on Twitter.


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