The Vanguard Forum for Healthcare Leaders - New York, 2018

For the fifth year, the Vanguard Forum for Healthcare Leaders in New York City brought together leading executives from across the healthcare ecosystem with current and former CEOs and advisors, for intimate dialogue on real-world issues and challenges at the highest levels of leadership.

The one and a half day, invitation-only leadership development program was designed for rising senior high potentials and newly minted top executives. The agenda for the event is detailed below.


MASTER CLASS: Do you have what it takes? Assessing and developing your capabilities for lxecutive leadership.


  • Justin Menkes - Partner, Ventura Partners; Global leader in talent assessment and CEO recruitment
Justin will describe the characteristics required to thrive in the role of CEO in today’s competitive environment. He will delineate the three most important characteristics they must display: Realistic Optimism, Subservience to Purpose, and Finding Order in Chaos. The session will both define each of the characteristics using real life examples, as well as explain how each of these characteristics can be further developed – so that you will be ready for top level leadership.

FIRESIDE CHAT: How to work with the media


  • Jonathan Rockoff - Health and Science Bureau, The Wall Street Journal
Jon, one of the leading reporters covering healthcare in the U.S. today, will talk about what works – and what does not – in relations between executives and the media. He will share insights about what makes a good story, and how senior executives can build effective relationships with reporters. And Jon will describe how journalists evaluate the leadership and effectiveness of top executives.

LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP: Becoming a high-impact leader


  • Rob Whitfield - CEO, Ferrazzi Greenlight; the recognized expert in leadership transformation
  • Pavan Cheruvu - CEO, Axovant Sciences
High-Impact Teams and organizations start with role model leaders. In a world where the rules of engagement have shifted, it is time to redefine how we behave. Rob will kick us off with a look at the shifting business landscape, and then ask what we need to change to be successful. The interactive session will help us understand our teams, senior executives, and board members, and solve real life challenges in a set of powerful practices that will give you deeper connections and problem-solving power.


FIRESIDE CHAT: Confronting reality - what winning leaders see, and do, that others do not


  • Deborah DiSanzo - General Manager, IBM Watson Health
  • Donato Tramuto - CEO, Tivity Health
Session leader
  • Jonathan Rockoff - Health and Science Bureau, The Wall Street Journal
  1. Why do so many top executives have an unduly rosy, or incomplete, picture of their business reality?
  2. What are the steps to take, and questions to ask, to confront the reality?
  3. Almost always, the most important reality is disruptive change in the environment. How do great leaders see ahead and see around the corners?
  4. How do you identify and prioritize what’s needed to get ‘in tune’ with reality, and make the tough calls?
  5. Lack of alignment among top teams and within the employee ranks is the biggest reason new thinking and new plans fail. How can you turn your new understanding of reality into execution?

PANEL & DIALOGUE: Succeeding with the active board of today


  • Cameron Durrant - Chairman and CEO, Humanigen
  • Mark Goodman - Partner, Debevoise and Plimpton
  • Tom Sabatino - EVP & GC, Aetna; past GC of Hertz, United Airlines, Walgreens, Schering-Plough, Baxter
Session leader
  • Matthew J. Meyer - Managing Director, Allwell Life Science Advisors
  1. How to work effectively with the new, more active and accountable board of today.
  2. How can top executives create an effective ‘social contract’ with today’s board?
  3. What are the right strategies to convert potential interference and disruption by board involvement in operations into value creating contributions?
  4. What are the best ways to expose the board to next generation talent in the organization?
  5. How do you get the best contribution from the board on strategy?
  6. What are the best strategies for dealing with the disruptive or interfering board member?

CASE STUDIES & TABLETOP WORKING SESSION: Creating a powerful employer brand: how the best leaders attract top people – and keep them


  • Glen DeVries - President, Medidata Solutions
  • Georgette Pascale - CEO, Pascale Communications
  • Michael Watras - Chairman and CEO, Straightline International
Session leader
  • Chris Bowe - C Bowe & Co; CEO Advisor
  1. What are the special qualities you need in leaders at top levels of the enterprise in the converging healthcare ecosystem?
  2. In flat organizations there are limited opportunities for promotion of top players. What can you do to keep them engaged and motivated?
  3. Are there new factors in leading millennial employees – or are the key leadership factors timeless?
  4. What is the right role of HR as a partner at the top of the company?
  5. It is often said that you should hire for people who are better than you at their job. Is that true, and what does it really mean?

WORKING SESSION: Leading across the converging healthcare ecosystem


  • Poonam Alaigh - EVP, Remedy Partners, Former Acting Undersecretary of Health
  • Shabbir Dahod - CEO, TraceLink
  • Karen Westervelt - Group SVP & COO, Regional Health Network, NYP
Session leader
  • Tracy Duberman - CEO, The Leadership Development Group
  1. Developing proven capabilities for cross-functional collaboration and leadership.
  2. What are the new capabilities that are required in C-Suite leaders to work across sectors in healthcare?
  3. What are the necessary new behaviors?
  4. Which sectors are succeeding at this? What can we learn from them?

DIALOGUE AND TEAM EXERCISE: Becoming an innovation leader


  • Bob Langer - Institute Professor at MIT, Head of the MIT Langer Lab
  • Ken Banta - Founder, The Vanguard Group
  • Calvin Schmidt - SVP, Worldwide Government Affairs & Policy, J&J
Bob Langer, The global authority on innovation, kicks off a session on how to innovate as a leader, and how to lead effective innovation across the enterprise.
  1. It’s become a cliché that innovation is a competitive advantage. What does that really mean, and why?
  2. What characterizes winning innovation, versus just fresh thinking?
  3. In a fast-changing environment, what does it mean to innovate in your leadership?
  4. It is said that some of the most important innovation in companies occurs outside the lab? Is that so and what does that kind of innovation look like?

DIALOGUE AND CASE STUDY: What today’s investors want you to know


  • Sally Curley - CEO, Curley Global IR, past SVP Cardinal Health
  • Glen DeVries - President, Medidata Solutions
  • Jonathan Palmer - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Bloomberg Intelligence
Session leader
  • Cameron Durrant - Chairman and CEO, Humanigen
A leading CEO, analyst, and Investor Relations expert explain the do’s and don’ts of interacting with your owners.
  1. What is the right role for top management in Investor Relations?
  2. How close should you become to your investors?
  3. How can you work with activist investors?
  4. What are the warning signs that a CEO has lost investor trust?



  • David Vied - Global Sector Leader, Medical Devices and Diagnostics, Korn Ferry
  • Deborah DiSanzo - General Manager, IBM Watson Health
  • Donato Tramuto - CEO, Tivity Health
Session leader
  • Peter Hopkins - Co-founder and President, Big Think
Top executives and a leading search consultant describe what they look for in new C- Suite leaders – and what they see as warning flags. (This session builds on the day 1 Master Class)
  1. At the C-Suite level, do leadership qualities become more important than sector or functional knowledge?
  2. EQ is widely identified as a ‘must’ for the winning top leader. But what exactly is that, and how do you develop EQ?
  3. Who are some of the best C-Suite leaders of the past ten years, and why?
  4. What are the three things to look for in selecting a C-Suite leader?


Attending a Vanguard Forum qualifies delegates for an ongoing curriculum of thought leadership and insights, as well as invitations to exclusive small group dinners with today’s top healthcare leaders.