Linking the XX ecosystem

Grassroots group connects and empowers female innovators, visionaries and leaders in the healthcare industry.

By Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman

A new group in Louisville plans to empower and connect women and shake up the local healthcare industry while doing it. The group, called XX in Health, is an initiative of San Francisco-based Rock Health, a 501c(3) nonprofit that supports entrepreneurship at the intersection of health and technology.

Alicia Heazlitt, director of strategy for Louisville-based International Center for Long Term Care Innovation (InnovateLTC), and Dianne Timmering, vice president of spirituality and culture for Louisville-based Signature HealthCARE, are organizing the group in Louisville.

The way Timmering describes it, “XX in Health is a movement, even a force in which encounters are edifying and productive, positive, competitive and tactical in maneuvering the healthcare landscape.”

XX in Health will connect leaders in Louisville with others around the country. XX in Health groups are active in Boston, Washington D.C. and Chicago.

XX in KY
Heazlitt and Timmering’s introduction to XX in Health occurred when they were nominated to join XX retreats. “It was such an honor to join the 200+ women ranging from academics, startups to Google to Kaiser Health etc.,” said Heazlitt.

Then they were selected to serve as XX in Health Ambassadors in Chicago this past October. After these experiences the two decided it was time to create a Louisville chapter.

“The XX ecosystem needed to link to Kentucky’s cluster and strength of healthcare organizations, and health-related entrepreneurial burst in products, services models that intersect with technologies,” said Heazlitt. “!e connection to other innovative cities that have chapters, like Boston and Chicago, are imperative to learn from each other. This is an historic time. We have to collaborate to make the change, empower women to seize the moment and opportunities to take leadership roles as this industry is transforming before our eyes.”

Hub for Healthcare Growth
Female leaders in healthcare, Timmering believes, can empower other female leaders in healthcare—if only they had the chance.

“Kentucky, and specifically Louisville, is a hub for healthcare growth and innovation for providers and payers where women play a large role in many facets from leadership, to management, to frontline, to clinical, to CEO,” she said. “Kentucky is ripe for such a movement of cause and effect where solutions lie not only in the captive mind but in our cultural fabric, to move from idea into the relevancy of healthcare need.”

“Women have unique perspectives,” Heazlitt added. “We experience and navigate the healthcare system from a personal perspective very early in our lives, by having children and taking care of parents and grandparents. Our lens is unique.

When women coach, mentor and sponsor younger women it provides that path to the advancement of leadership that is currently under represented in the industry. XX provides an authentic and collaborative platform for this to happen.”

The group hosted its first event, an invite-only Inspiration Dinner, this past November. It featured speakers Lara MacGregor, founder of Louisville-based Hope Scarves and Dr. Deb Clary Gmelin, corporate director for the Leadership Institute at Humana. Participants included leaders from large organizations such as Norton Healthcare Inc. and KentuckyOne Health Inc. to smaller startup companies.

Empowering Each Other
Heazlitt and Timmering only see XX in Health growing. “XX is already an integral part of the healthcare transformation,” said Heazlitt. “Women leaders that are a part of this grass roots group are already making great imprints on what our industry will look like tomorrow. I imagine in ten years it will be the place where true collaboration and action with women from all over the world will solve systemic issues globally.”

Timmering predicts XX in Health evolving to become a premier organization, which intersects women in leadership to the inventiveness of a mind and heart, concept and care, product and service, with the scale and finance to go from germination to being.

“Female leaders in healthcare can inspire other female leaders with the innovative spirit of boldness,” she said. “Innovation thrives on the creative, so we empower each other, recognizing that a quick failure is a new learning jewel and a ‘try again,’ not a defeat but an opportunity to celebrate what didn’t work but what will. It is about recognizing that we are problem-solvers, wrapping the creative around the solution and igniting a revolution at the core of customer experience within the essence of compassion along  the continuum of care.”