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Posted 12.11.06

Savannah Barnett, program manager for Healthcare Executive Programs sat down with AlGene Caraulia of University Hospitals to discuss the Weatherhead programs. Read on to hear what he had to say.

Q:  Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is AlGene Caraulia and I’ve been working at University Hospital for 18 months. University Hospitals brought me on originally to facilitate a program called Performance Based Leadership. This program was designed for managers and above throughout the organization to develop the tools and resources they need to be effective leaders. Many of the tools and the information we brought to the table were foundational, while others were a little more complex. We found it necessary that everyone had a point of reference when it came to leadership and management of their team.

Prior to that and even at this time, I also own my own business. Fortunately, I’m in a position where the business can run itself. I’ve been able to turn it over to other people to run and operate. Of course, they get to collect the revenue but my name is still on the titles of the business. So, I come from private industry and contract work, as well as healthcare.

Q:  What drew you to Weatherhead’s Executive Education Programs?
I think the first thing that really got me interested was the great reputation of  Case Western Reserve University. It has a significant presence here in Northeast Ohio and when I have the chance to talk to people around the country, it always amazes me to hear, “Oh, you have Case Western Reserve,” and it’s that kind of visibility that makes you feel good to know you have a great resource in your backyard.

About Weatherhead specifically, my wife had previous experience being a graduate of the Organizational Behavior program and receiving her master’s. So I had prior knowledge, not only through having contact with past graduates, but also living vicariously through her experiences. I often tease her that some of the best writing I ever did was when she was in her master’s program. Of course, she says you’re not allowed to say things like that, but that’s my style.

Once at UH, we already had an existing relationship and one of the things I had an opportunity to do is take a look at what was available here, not only to UH’s staff and our physicians, but also for my own personal development as an individual as well as someone who is a healthcare professional. When I had a chance to see the offerings and availability, I knew that I wanted to take advantage of those opportunities immediately.

Q:  How were your expectations met at Weatherhead?
I think that I came in pretty blind. I knew that there was a great reputation. I knew that the faculty was nationally and internationally recognized. What really impressed me was the quality of care that each person received while they were here.

As the administrator for the healthcare education program at University Hospitals, I knew that I needed to make sure that I had people registered and that their particulars were taken care of. It was impressive, to say the least, when I was able to turn that information over to Weatherhead and know that the individuals who were representing UH were welcomed. They were cared for and received quality, cutting-edge information and knowledge they could bring back to their units or back for discussions with colleagues, and start to envision not only what the possibilities were, but also start to consider some of the latest thoughts about healthcare, leadership and management and how it applies to our everyday role now, as well as looking to the future.

Q:  Tell us about your colleagues in the program.
The mix of professionals was impressive. I have to say, there were times when I sat in the room and I asked myself, “Do I really belong here?” The caliber of people in the room was impressive; people from the highest levels of academia to senior leaders within various healthcare organizations. We had contact with these great professionals and an opportunity to listen to their thoughts and ideas which created an environment of learning -- not just of information delivery. I think that was something that really stood out in my mind when it came to my experience with Weatherhead.

Q:  What did you think of the faculty facilitators and their involvement with your programs?
I think it was a learning environment. For the most part, the faculty wanted to have an engaged, interactive session. It was not just “I’m going to talk about this and you’ll sit and listen to me.” They really encouraged an exchange of ideas. Of course, as experts in their field, they came to the table with a great deal of knowledge and experience. These are people who have experience not only in academia but also in the real world.

J.B. Silvers was really impressive and he’s a former UH associate. Eric Berkowitz stands out in my mind as a facilitator whom I enjoyed. The ideas that he brought to the table were things that I took back to UH and started asking questions with the purpose of challenging not only our department but also our leadership. Such as, “Where are we headed? What types of things do we want to consider for our organization as a whole, as individual contributors, as well as from the leadership level? What kinds of things do we need to start preparing for?” We are starting to see some of that fruit develop. Some of those initial questions are being responded to because of the ideas that Dr. Berkowitz brought to the table.

Q:  Is there anything else you would tell people who are considering taking Executive Education Programs at Weatherhead?
I think that the wide variety that’s available is one of the greatest attributes the program has to offer. Without question, the department of Organizational Behavior is recognized as one of the best in the world. Business today is recognizing that the management process and procedure is not as important as the way we lead people. I think these are some of the foundational ideas around leadership. We know that they exist but now we have a great core of professionals who can break down the information and give instinct some form and some organization that someone can bring back to their everyday life and apply.

Q:  Where have the Executive Education Programs you’ve taken led you?
Well, several places. First of all when I saw there was an opportunity for the certificates, I jumped all over those and tried to make the most of it. As a matter of fact, I’ll be finishing my last certificate in Appreciative Inquiry next week.

That initial exposure also gave me the opportunity to consider additional pursuits and I am currently involved in the Executive Master’s in Business Administration program. The EMBA program is without question is a tremendous challenge. It’s gratifying to sit in the room with a core of people that are impressive in their own right. It’s exhilarating to have an opportunity to hear their thoughts and ideas. It’s pretty impactful when you have to opportunity to contribute to that experience. It has given me a chance to pursue the EMBA program, something that I really had not considered when I first started coming to Weatherhead School of Management. I actually imagined I would pursue the MPOD degree but it eventually became clear that this was the better fit for the things I wanted to accomplish in my personal career and it has been spectacular.


For more information about Healthcare Executive Education Programs, please visit http://weatherhead.case.edu/hsmc/hcee_overview.cfm or contact James Van Doren, 216.368.5169; james.vandoren@case.edu

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