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Q&A: Kaiser Permanente CEO Halvorson on Retirement

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, October 5, 2012

HLM: Why wouldn't you work with Kaiser until you drop? You love this stuff.

GH: That's a good question, actually. Partly because I do want to spend some time with family. But I do have another agenda: [to grapple with] the issue of diversity and intergroup synergy and conflict...We're one of the most diverse organizations on the planet...with a very diverse leadership group. A lot of folks are finding that diversity creates stress and conflict, so I want to help and coach in those areas, not as a business, but as a calling. I want to turn diversity into a strength.

HLM: Are you thinking of diversity in other healthcare organizations?

GH: I want to help communities and schools deal with these issues. Inside KP, we've been a leader in these areas and won a ton of awards, employer of the year... We don't have a majority group within KP. We're 57% minority in our workforce.

HLM: Can you explain how you would measure that? Just by the number of minority employees? Or something more?

GH: I want to coach them and say what kinds of things do they need to do to be inclusive. What kinds of things do you need to do to be a meritocracy internally.  To be a meritocracy, it basically means whoever you are, if you join this organization you will be advanced on your ability.

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