Hepworth: MRH Board of Trustees chairman welcomes Jenifer Riley to new role | CraigDailyPress.com

Hepworth: MRH Board of Trustees chairman welcomes Jenifer Riley to new role

Kelly Hepworth
Chairman, MRH Board of Trustees
Jennifer Riley

One of the biggest responsibilities and greatest rewards of filling the role of Memorial Regional Health Board of Trustees Chairman is guiding the process of supporting our trustees to make important decisions that shape the future of healthcare for our community. I know that we will often be judged and sometimes criticized for the work that we do, especially when there is public perception that we said one thing and did another. Sometimes, changing course and making a better decision once we have more information is the right thing to do. Naming Jennifer Riley Chief Executive Officer of MRH without conducting a nationwide executive search is the right decision.

Our vote for Jennifer is a vote for exceptional leadership, care for our employees, stability, financial health, transparency, communication, and community.

Memorial Regional Health's Memorial Clinic in Craig.
Billy Schuerman / For the Craig Press

We appointed Jennifer to the position of Interim CEO shortly after Andy Daniels resigned in October. Jennifer was a logical choice to step into the role not only because of her position as Chief Operating Officer, but because of her deep knowledge of MRH, strong relationships with employees and leadership, commitment to our community and an expressed vision to change the culture of mistrust within the community and the MRH employees.

We planned to conduct a nationwide search for a new CEO. After reviewing the credentials of six companies (Korn Ferry, Hedrick and Struggles, Ransom Group, Witt Kieffer, Aureus Group and Gallagher), we engaged executive search firm Gallagher Search Group based on their specialization, expertise, and success in placing qualified CEOs in rural, critical access hospitals. Gallagher was hired in November 2021 with the understanding that a search would not begin until a full board was seated, which we anticipated to happen in early 2022. After several months of observing Jennifer’s performance in the interim role, in February the board directed Gallagher to complete a leadership assessment of Jennifer as part of the search process.

The bottom line: after comparing Jennifer to the Gallagher candidate database and evaluating her candidacy against likely outside competition for the position, they identified Jennifer as not only a strong candidate for our position, but for any comparable Critical Access CEO position. The firm recommended that Jennifer be named CEO and did not see a need to perform a national executive search. The company went so far as to say that they could not “envision a scenario where she would not be the selected candidate if the Board elected to do an external search,” and that they did not “see the return on investment related to cost, efforts and time commitment involved in an outside search.”

The Gallagher recommendation along with the increasing employee and medical staff support of Jennifer, continued strong financial health of MRH under Jennifer’s interim leadership and a clear improvement of transparency and communication at the administration team level at Jennifer’s direction are clear and compelling reasons for us to invest in Jennifer. She is already a top candidate who has a commitment to our mission and to our community that we aren’t likely to find in an outside candidate.

We know that no matter what decision we make, there will be community members who are skeptical of our motivation. I hope that our community will continue to ask the tough questions of our board and expect answers. I also hope that you will take the time to connect with a board member, attend a board meeting or participate in a Community Forum when you have questions, want to learn more, or just want to get to know us better. As a small business owner in Moffat County and a husband and father who has chosen to raise his family here, nobody is more invested in our success of MRH than I am. I am excited about the future of MRH and the positive momentum we have right now. With the help and support of our community, I know we can continue to grow and expand to meet the needs of our patients and employees far into the future.

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.