Putting BIDMC on the Map
Maps are useful guides to direct us from where we are to where we want to be. As chair of the Board of Overseers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Sidney F. Queler has designed his own “MAP” as a resource for being an effective member of BIDMC’s largest lay leadership group.
Queler’s version encourages overseers to focus on understanding the Mission of the medical center so that they can be better Ambassadors in the community and increase Philanthropic support to ultimately achieve the hospital’s goals. “It is critically important to my job as the leader of the overseers to educate and clearly define BIDMC’s mission so they feel comfortable going out and talking to others,” he says.
The mission that Queler is so eager to define is to provide extraordinary care, where the patient comes first, supported by world-class education and research. He has become quite familiar with that quality of care since his initial introduction to the medical center at a young age. BIDMC successfully treated both his mother and father for cancer. It was also where he and his wife, Terri, welcomed their three children, including twins who spent time in the Klarman Family Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. While not alone in having a connection to BIDMC
rooted in personal experience, Queler also believes that the innovative research and unique programs at the medical center could be the keys to unlocking a new pool of energized lay leaders. He encourages the overseers to understand and appreciate the work that is having an impact on the exciting but challenging world of health care today. “That is what is going to resonate with people and get individuals who don’t have an attachment to the hospital to the medical center,” he says.
Queler’s introduction to the business side of BIDMC came in 2006 through his mentor and friend Edward Rudman, a former chair of the BIDMC Board of Directors. After contributing to a number of committees and a stint as vice chair of the overseers, Queler took over as chair of the Board of Overseers when Jonathan Samen stepped down last year . Queler’s passion for the medical center is evident in his enthusiasm for the role. “I just love it,” he says with a smile. “The lay leadership group at the hospital is one of the best that I have ever been around. People want to work hard. We want to find cures. Everybody just wants to work together for a common cause. The challenge is so great, but we are all up to meeting it.”
In encouraging the overseers to be effective ambassadors for the hospital, Queler sees similarities to his work as the national director of business development at Atlantic Trust, a private wealth management firm where he spearheads business development planning and initiatives. “It is caring about people and learning about what motivates people and trying to find solutions with regard to their wealth and philanthropy,” he says.
Queler also sees parallels between the two organizations. In the realm of trust companies, Atlantic Trust is considered a boutique firm, with only around $20 billion of assets under management as compared to some of the larger trust companies nationwide. While among the top hospitals in the country, the smaller yet very personalized BIDMC is sometimes seen in the same light in the competitive health care landscape of Boston. “As the head of business development for the firm, part of what we have to do is really differentiate ourselves,” he explains. “Part of what I have done in helping to train our employees is to provide the three or four key differentiating factors that illustrate our value proposition. I concentrate my time not only on development, but messaging and how to get that message across to a broader audience.”
By similarly educating the overseers, Queler believes that he can ultimately broaden BIDMC’s reach. One of the ways Queler encourages BIDMC’s lay leaders and grateful patients to learn more about the medical center is to attend events, such as the overseers-hosted Critical Voices dinner. He wants to foster a lay leadership group that is passionate about the hospital and wants to connect to the medical center in a more meaningful way. “We want individuals who are excited to tell the story about the medical center and the exceptional things we are doing, and individuals who understand the greater context of what is happening, especially today in health care,” he says. “This is obviously a critical time. We can fall behind or we can capitalize on this opportunity. With the strong leadership of the medical center and our dedicated lay leadership group, I am confident that we can capitalize on what is in front of us.”