Resilience by Sarah Bridges, PhD, MBA

Meet the Author

We can’t think our way out of stress or forget that we are biological beings. Resilience’s ground zero involves controlling our sleep patterns before anything else. Without this, we are more stress sensitive during the day, our hunger hormones spike, we overeat, and we are less prone to exercise. It’s a downward spiral, and the starting point is bedtime.

At its core, well-being is driven by brain chemicals. The good and bad news is that our behavior directly shifts the neurotransmitters in our heads. When dopamine is higher, we feel motivated. If we want to feel more driven, we can exercise for 30 minutes, take a two-minute cold shower, laugh, dive into the early morning, drink coffee, or get sunlight in our eyes first thing. All these activities raise dopamine and make hard things easier.

When we are pressured, our brains direct us in the wrong way and lie to us about what will make us feel better. Stress-caused spikes in cortisol are aimed at getting us moving forward. Instead of trying to eradicate the feeling, it is helpful to reframe it as a prompt to do something physical. Walking briskly (even for three minutes between meetings) calms the amygdala and diffuses cortisol.

Dr. Dan Gilbert’s research shows that we are terrible at predicting what makes us happy. We prioritize quick rewards and sell short the things that work. I’ve heard from clients lately that their drinking and overeating are up, and people feel stuck. One executive I work with tracked (but didn’t change) how he felt after drinking two glasses of wine with dinner each night. This was his “unwind” time, and he was sure it helped his stress. He found that after drinking, he slept less well and skipped his workout in the morning. In turn, the day was launched on a tense note and set him up to repeat the cycle at bedtime. These observations led to an experiment to limit drinking to weekend nights and substitute walking with his wife following weeknight dinners. The change allowed him to manage his bedtime and the morning exercise shifted the day’s energy. From here, he prioritized mentally taxing projects first thing (when dopamine is high), and the momentum affected the rest of the day.

Certain research findings crop up over and over. Increasing resilience begins by getting serious about our biological bodies and understanding that immediate rewards have a rebound effect.

Here are a few places to start:

  • Identify the bedtime that allows you 7-8 hours of sleep and stick to it for a month.
  • Move your body (even 15 minutes) before you start the workday.
  • Use the early day for the most demanding work when dopamine is naturally highest.
  • Get five minutes of outside light into your eyes soon after waking.
  • Do a mood tracker for a week and correlate your activities with your emotions.
  • Stand up between meetings and walk for a few minutes, even in your house.
  • Note the “treats” you offer yourself for stress management and how you feel after them (binging Netflix, drinking, dessert, social media, or other things).
  • Create a substitute list of pleasant actions that increase well-being. Conduct a “me-search” and find the ones that work for you.
  • Intentionally notice the positive moments in the day and savor them.
  • Focus on things you look forward to. Surveys show that Fridays are preferred to Sundays (even though the latter are days off) due to anticipating the weekend.
  • Emphasize choice and control in your life. Depression is linked to the perception of helplessness over life’s outcomes. Even minor changes to what you can affect can shift this bias.

ACHE-WI Early Careerist Spotlight: Riley McDade

Where were you at in your career when you joined ACHE?
I was a student at Carroll University starting my senior year when I first joined ACHE. I was a mentee in the Leadership Development
Program learning alongside students from UW-M and CUW. I saw all of the opportunities that ACHE provided, and knew that it was a
step in the right direction to furthering my career goals in healthcare.

Where are you now in your career?
I am currently a Data Scientist for BSG Analytics/Alliant in Pewaukee, WI.

How have you been involved with ACHE-WI?
Leadership Development Program

How has ACHE been valuable to your career progression?
ACHE has been valuable in my career progression by allowing me to meet other healthcare students when I was still a student as a
part of the LDP. ACHE also introduced me to various healthcare executives that have given me valuable insight on how to navigate the
healthcare field and start my own professional career. I attended my first ACHE-WI conference this year and gained valuable insight
into different areas of healthcare leadership on how to be an effective leader in an ever changing landscape which is valuable in my
current career as well as in my future plans. I am looking forward to attending future ACHE events and learning even more valuable

Who has been the most influential person in your career?
As an early careerist still learning about the administrative side of healthcare during my 4 years at Carroll University, Benjamin
Layman, MBA (COO, AdventHealth Hinsdale and La Grange), was very influential in my decision to learn more about analytics in
healthcare, explaining how important they are to gain insights within a hospital/hospital system.

What is something that you are working on recently that you are excited about?
As a data scientist I have been challenging myself to learn more analytical skills. I have been teaching myself how to code in the
Python programming language so I can translate those newly learned skills into bigger projects within the BSG Analytics/Alliant team,
and further excel my career.

Tell me about your dream vacation.
My dream vacation is to go to Ireland and Italy to see exactly where both sides of my family came from and immerse myself in those cultures.

NALHE Annual Leadership Summit Recognizes Outstanding Leaders

The Annual Leadership Summit, held in Milwaukee from September 28-30th, was a huge success. The sessions were engaging and timely and the attendees had the opportunity to connect through volunteer efforts, social events, and general networking. NALHE National also recognized several outstanding leaders within the organization for their contributions to NALHE and the Latino and Hispanic communities at large. We are already excited about next year’s summit, which will take place in Seattle, Washington in the fall of 2023.

Teaser on Upcoming Podcast about Breaking Down Silos

This week we bring you a short teaser segment we couldn’t fit into next week’s podcast release.  This month’s topic is Breaking Down Silos, and our guest is Mike Grubich, President and Chief Talent Officer at the LAK Group.  In this five-minute conversation, Mike responds to a real-world example of siloed leadership experienced by one of the co-hosts, Brian.  We hope you enjoy and tune in for the full episode next week.

Message from your ACHE Regent – Summer 2022

Greetings ACHE-WI friends and colleagues,

The 2022 ACHE WI Chapter Annual Conference is right around the corner, scheduled for September 19-21 at the Osthoff Resort, in Elkhart Lake, WI. The agenda this year is as impressive as past years, as is the number of individuals participating as speakers, moderators, and panelists. Better yet, it is returning to in-person so we can all network and reconnect live. If you have not registered yet, time is running out, don’t delay any further. Register here.

Over the past year, the ACHE WI Chapter’s work towards ACHE’s justice, diversity, equity and inclusion goals has grown tremendously. Our President of the Wisconsin Board of Directors, Christina P. Orr, Assistant Medical Center Director at Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, has been a strong champion and advocate for the justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts of the Wisconsin Chapter. As an ACHE Wisconsin Chapter initiative, Chapter members have been instrumental in the formation of the Wisconsin chapters for both National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives (NALHE) and the National Association of Health Serves Executives (NAHSE). This has afforded cross-membership opportunities, networking, and greater engagement with the diverse healthcare leaders in Wisconsin. I am also proud of the diversity of the current Leadership Development Program in Wisconsin. The efforts of our Chapter members are making a difference.

Providing awareness and education to the Chapter on various aspects of diversity has also increased in frequency and depth over the past year. Some of the recent Chapter events which feature topics on diversity and/or included a diverse group of speakers are provided below:

In April, a Face-to-Face presentation titled “Health Disparities in Wisconsin and Lessons from Leading Community and Health Organizations.” was conducted by Deborah Hagen, Primary Care Division Manager, with Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, Dominique Morgan, Market President, VillageMD of Michigan, and Joanne Holland, CFO with Access Community Health Centers. James McLain, FACHE Deputy Director (COO) with Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center served as moderator.

In June, a Face-to-Face presentation titled “Behavioral Healthcare: Approaches to Increase Value for the Organization and Meet Community Needs” was conducted by Kirsten Johnson, MPH, Commissioner of Health, City of Milwaukee Health Department, Toni Simonson, PhD, FACHE Executive Director – Behavioral Health, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and Jessica Small, PharmD, BCPP, MBA, VP Operations – Behavioral Health, Advocate Aurora Health with moderator Nick Jaworski, CDE, CEO Circle Social, Inc.

Additionally, Chapter podcasts have also been active in featuring topics on diversity or included diverse groups of speakers, a few examples are offered below:

July 28, Episode 16: “Culturally Competent Care,” with Richelle Webb Dixon, FACHE, SVP and COO of Froedtert Hospital explained how many health care organizations are working to ensure they provide culturally competent care. Richelle focused on the need for patient population data, the engagement with customers and relationships with communities.

March 21, Episode 14: “Quarterly Spotlight with Damond Boatwright,” Damond Boatwright, FACHE President and CEO of Hospital Sister’s Health System (HSHS) spoke on patience, lessons learned from listening, setbacks and taking risks.

February 22, Episode 13: “Addressing Social Determinant of Health: Marie Barry.” Rural WI Healthcare Cooperative (RWHC) Director of Economic Development, Marie Barry talked about creating synergies between rural hospitals and rural communities. She also talked about how the program acts as a “bridge” between the hospital and community and works to ensure that diverse representation is at the table when discussing economic development.

ACHE is committed to promoting and preparing highly diverse and qualified healthcare management leaders. As WI Chapter’s diverse healthcare leaders continue to grow and serve our communities, it is my hope that many will participate in the six-month Thomas Dolan Executive Diversity Program. Dolan Scholars are empowered through a structured curriculum and activities that:

  • Cultivate strong leadership presence
  • Sharpen expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Build critical leadership skills across the 10 healthcare management knowledge areas
  • Expand capacity to navigate career opportunities and challenges

Our entire Chapter should be proud of this enhanced growth and engagement is the area of diversity. It also reminds me that the sky is the limit when we collaborate and work together toward a common goal. Thank you all for your efforts, enthusiasm, and continued support of our WI Chapter.

Proudly, Your Regent

Thomas N. Shorter, JD, FACHE
Regent for Wisconsin


ACHE Leadership Development Program Site Visits at Froedtert Hospital and Children’s Hospital

ACHE-WI Leadership Development Program (LDP) cohort XIII met with leaders from Froedtert Health and Children’s Wisconsin during site visits co-hosted by cohort members Hannah Byford and Megan Ose.

A full morning at Froedtert Hospital included: Breakfast with the President, Eric Conley; Specialty Leadership Discussion: Solid Organ Transplantation, with VP Leigh Anne Mixon; Froedtert Hospital Tour; Froedtert Hospital Executive Leader Spotlight, with SVP Susan Campbell; followed by Lunch and Networking.

The full afternoon at Children’s Hospital featured: Children’s Specialty Group Panel, with President Scott Turner and COO Aaron Kinney, FACHE; Children’s Community Health Plan, with COO Mark Rakowski and CMO James Slawson, MD; Leadership Development Program (LDP) Alumni Panel, with Jason Mattern, Kyle Landry and Mike Flaherty; followed by a Tour of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Members of LDP Cohort XIII include: co-hosts Hannah Byford and Megan Ose; Nikeya Bramlett; Andrea Harsh; Bill Kehl; and Daniel Wall who will all be recognized at our ACHE-WI Annual Conference along with their administrative champions who support their involvement in our Leadership Development Program.

Nominate a Leader for Our Gold Medal Award

The Gold Medal Award is the most prestigious award ACHE bestows on leaders who have made significant contributions to the healthcare profession. This award identifies Fellows who best exemplify leadership at the organizational, local, state/provincial and national levels, and who continually contribute to the improvement of the delivery of healthcare services and community health. We may give up to two Gold Medal Awards each year: one to an outstanding executive in a healthcare delivery organization and the second to an executive in a nondelivery healthcare organization, such as an alliance, association, university or consulting firm. The deadline for submission of the nomination packet is Aug. 31.

Visit the News and Awards section of for full details on the nomination process, award criteria and past recipients. If you have questions, please contact Jennifer L. Connelly, FACHE, CAE, at (312) 424-9320 or

Save the Date: Virtual Leadership Symposium

Save the date for the Virtual Leadership Symposium, Oct. 10–11. This premier virtual event includes featured faculty, cutting-edge sessions and integrated networking.The event qualifies for 6 ACHE Face-to-Face Education and continuing clinical education credits.

The two-day agenda is aimed at recharging your leadership potential, with virtual live sessions, as well as on-demand presentations available to registrants at their convenience. Register today.

Advancing Diverse Executives

Meet the 37 scholars selected for ACHE’s 2022 Thomas C. Dolan Executive Diversity Program and Career Accelerator Program, who come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.

This year, the Executive Diversity Program will consist of e-learning, including webinars; self-study materials; and three multiday, in-person sessions. The Career Accelerator Program is exclusively virtual. Dolan scholars are empowered through a structured curriculum and activities that cultivate strong leadership presence; sharpen expertise in diversity, equity and inclusion; build critical leadership skills; and expand one’s capacity to navigate career opportunities and challenges. Both programs are six months in duration and are wholly funded by the Fund for Healthcare Leadership.

We hope you recognize these exceptional leaders at an upcoming event and include them in your chapter’s DEI efforts. For more information, visit to learn more about the Executive Diversity Program, Career Accelerator Program, and other diversity and inclusion resources.