Dear DMC Employees:
I’ve got many special memories at DMC, but none more special than from the farewell parties you hosted the last few weeks.
I experienced my first flash mob at the Surgery Hospital, had a rousing send-off with a wonderful children’s choir and the Tigers’ mascot Paws at Children’s Hospital, and received several very “imaginative” gifts at Harper/Hutzel.
The celebrations ran from the humorous “roast” at Sinai-Grace, to the boisterous campaign rally with the corporate staff at Orchestra Place, to a great video from the team at Huron Valley, to a memorable serenade from Bill Restum and Julia Libcke at RIM (thank God that one’s not on YouTube), to the very personal and emotional goodbye from the staff at Receiving.
And I was very touched when Vanguard CEO Charlie Martin and many of the management team from Nashville came down for the final event.
In saying goodbye, I kept thinking that I’ve spent the best 9 years of my life with this team and it’s really hard to see it end. Many of you understood my decision. You likely joined DMC, not because you thought the job would be easy, but because you had something inside you that made you want to help others.
When I see Detroit’s problems, I just can’t sit by and watch the decline any longer. We have a City a half-step from bankruptcy and the only other candidate with a realistic chance of getting elected has never successfully financially managed anything. His admits this, but promises to “hire someone smart” to figure out the finances if he gets elected.
Can you imagine at my hiring in 2004 when DMC was near bankruptcy, if I had said my turnaround plan was to “hire someone” to help me understand the finances? I hate to think where DMC would be today?
I’ve listened to people tell me I can’t get elected because I’m white. I’ve listened to those same people say if I do get elected, it won’t matter, because most Michiganders won’t ever support Detroit’s recovery because most of our citizens are black.
It can get really demoralizing if you believe that stuff.
But I’ve experienced something they haven’t. I got to work for the last 9 years with a team of 14,000 people who were Black, White, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, and every other ethnic group. We worked together to treat patients just as diverse. And working together, we did what most thought was impossible: we succeeded financially by embracing Detroit and building in the City.
I won’t tell you we’ve overcome all America’s racial problems at DMC. But I believe our success has been built around a quality that’s truly inspiring: the great majority of DMC employees see people’s souls first, and see the color of their skin second. I see it every day in our employees as you interact with each other and as you interact with our patients.
And I can’t help thinking: what if Detroiters and our fellow Michiganders came to see each other as souls first? How much better off would our City and State be if we got past the division and distrust and worked together as true partners?
Is this too far-fetched? I’ve just spent 40 evenings in living rooms all across this City and will do 200 more in 2013. As we talk about how to get the violence down, the streetlights on, and the abandoned houses occupied, I find that in every neighborhood in Detroit, distrust and skepticism melt away . Night after night, they’re replaced by hope and enthusiasm.
We start the night interacting as black and white and end each night relating to each other as people.
This experience is deeply inspiring so, starting tomorrow, I’ll be pursuing this full-time. I’m off the DMC e-mail system, so if you have thoughts or advice you want to share, please write me at (redacted). As always, I’ll do my best to answer every e-mail.
As I write this on New Year’s Eve, Washington is allowing us to head over the fiscal cliff, creating another round of financial problems for hospitals. I’m just really glad that Joe Mullany has taken over as CEO—he’s succeeded every place he’s been. I’m glad he’s keeping our outstanding management team and I’m glad we’re part of a strong national company like Vanguard.
But mostly I’m glad Joe is backed by those truly responsible for DMC’s turnaround—the 14,000 employees who never lost faith in what DMC can be.
I can’t tell you how much your kindness and support has meant to me over the years. I won’t ever forget it.
Happy New Year and God bless you.