Meet Joanne, the Chief Value Officer of Zyter – a sharp-witted, energetic, and empathetic person who helps to shape and hone the vision of the company. As a pioneer in value-based care, Joanne’s approach to leadership has led to Zyter’s success, and the success of their clients.
Recently spotlighted in the Top 50 Women Leaders of Jacksonville for 2023, Joanne is a star executive in all aspects of the healthcare industry. With an MA in accounting, a CPA, and a Carol Emmott fellowship, she is not only a seasoned professional but also a true believer in career-enriching education and mentorship. The skills she’s cultivated in her career are ones that others could emulate and learn from.
On a personal level, Joanne draws confidence and inspiration from her twin sister, a physician of her own practice, and these women are quite a powerful duo. Joanne says her supportive family is a huge driving force for her success, and encourages others to tap into their community.
Bringing Personal Strengths Into Leadership
Unlike some leaders who leave teams in the dust while chasing a grander vision, Joanne finds a way to keep Zyter’s employees on the same page. “You can have the ideas, but you can’t come in over the top as a leader and profess them to everybody. You have to help everybody in their journey, no matter where they’re at in their career or professional life.”
Joanne’s perceptiveness of her colleagues’ needs strengthens her team, the quality of their work, and the organization as a whole. “Not everybody is where you’re at on your journey either in their career or their personal life.” Being able to slow down during work and coach her employees is one of her greatest talents as a leader.
“I strive to have empathy for everyone, and put myself in other people’s shoes, understand their positioning, and I think that makes you more relatable. And I use it in business every day.” This is one of the most important components while building relationships, teams, and successful partnerships,” says Joanne.
A Chief Value Officer’s True Value
Joanne’s role as the Chief Value Officer changes the default transactional nature of finance into an enriching experience for all parties involved, even ones you might not expect. Joanne notes that the industry is changing for the better, and she’s on the cutting edge of those changes. “What I think every industry is pivoting to is the CFO role changing into somebody that everyone in the organization can leverage to help with strategic thinking. CVOs can make decisions that sometimes do not have the best impact on the return on investment, but you come back to the fact that sometimes it does have enterprise value.”
Secondarily, Joanne notes that career growth is important here too. The strategic thinking and tactical shifts that CFOs do is a great skill-building arena to grow into a bigger role, like that of a CEO. Expanding the scope of a CFO to be more than ROI-focused, and placing a value on all the investments such as wellness, social good, and brand strategy opens up the organization, its clients, and its employees to so much more.
“Every industry needs the CFO lens in their strategic thinking process. A lot of the CFOs are trained to have audit backgrounds so they can come in and do compliance, regulatory work, and help the organization with risk.” On top of that, Joanne notes that “some decisions that now have a multi-year impact can now be anticipated by the CFO to help the organization quantify and add not only a dollar amount but also help with risk too.”
“Being a CVO is all about strategic thinking. It’s placing a value on all the investments and that’s where the industry is shifting from CFO to CVO.”
A Woman in the C-Suite
As far as being a woman in the C-suite Joanne doesn’t feel a massive difference in skills or qualifications between herself and male peers, but there are problems with achieving upward progression because of the predominantly male industry. As McKinsey & Company discovered in a 2022 report, about 32% of C-suite members in the Healthcare industry are women, which is better in comparison to the 7.4% of women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. But, 32% is still a minority of which only 4% are women of color.
“I think often people joke about women’s ability to multitask. I think that makes us better at methodically sequencing events and being better at strategic thinking across functions. And that’s very much needed in an organization.” And Joanne’s instincts are right, Harvard Business Review reports that companies with more women in leadership roles “are more profitable, more socially responsible, and provide safer, higher-quality customer experiences,” among many other benefits.
The healthcare industry is ahead of the curve in comparison to finance, manufacturing, STEM, and most others, however, there is still work to be done. Aside from struggles with promotion and career development there is still pay inequality, says Joanne. Tackling this pay gap is the responsibility of all companies, but the hope that comes with more diverse senior leadership is for equitable hiring and pay practices to become the norm.
Zyter’s Investment In Others
Like many companies, growing their talent from within is beneficial for all parties. But, Joanne notes, women sometimes fall through the cracks due to sexism. Zyter on the other hand, has given many of its female employees the impetus to go outside of Zyter for training, networking, and skill-building. And the return on investment in Zyter’s employees shows.
“I was part of the Carol Emmott Fellowship class of 2019. This fellowship represented a diverse group of women. It was started to bring women into healthcare, whether they’re physicians or nurses or somebody on the business side of healthcare, and advance them into leadership roles.”
Networking of course is a benefit of these events, but it can be a bit isolating to be a woman in tech. Having a space to express challenges, triumphs, and shared experiences had a lasting impact on Joanne. “When I heard about the challenges that my other fellows experienced, I saw that I didn’t experience the same challenges compared to what they were because they are in an extremely male-dominated world, in healthcare, in the clinical side.” Now if you talk about technology, that’s a male-dominated industry as well.
Joanne could see firsthand that Zyter was ensuring their leadership pool was full of diverse candidates and making her environment feel safe. On top of that, Zyter was proving to their employees their commitment to upward promotion within the organization.
Leadership Always Expects the Unexpected
Often, senior management struggle with shifting priorities, industry upheavals, and managerial responsibilities. But Joanne doesn’t sweat this, she keeps her composure and rolls with the punches.
“You almost have to expect the unexpected. I think the most important thing, whether you’re a female leader or a male leader, is you have to anticipate a lot.”
Her outlook stems from a mentor she had earlier in her career. He was the CFO of a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, and he said, “Take charge of your own career.” And Joanne took that to heart.
“Whenever I was disappointed, whether from lack of promotion or being bypassed for promotion, it led me on a different track, and it was really a growth. All those disappointments have led to my ability to believe more in what I can bring to the table into an organization and it has ended up in career progression.”
Another aspect of taking charge of her career is being able to pivot quickly after disappointments. Joanne says that taking setbacks as lessons and coming back stronger is a must. Often she takes a moment to say to herself, “OK, what’s my next move?” She credits this outlook as a major reason for her professional development.
Accomplishments Forged With Family
Joanne set her sights on senior management early in her career at Arthur Anderson. At the time, she thought that was the highest she could reach. “The fact that I was a CFO at 41 years old was something that I’d never thought I could accomplish, but my best encouragement has been my identical twin sister, who is a physician and opened up her own physician practice.”
She and her sister built the practice from the ground up, which encouraged Joanne in her career goals and showed her that she had what it took to accomplish her goals. “It gave me confidence in where I was at the moment and where I was going and what I could bring to the table. Her success pushed my success.”
Joanne’s Advice to Women
A common thread amongst women’s careers is balancing their career goals with familial needs. Joanne assures women that “you can have a family and be a successful career woman.” It’s certainly not easy, she says. “If I didn’t have my husband and my surrounding family, I couldn’t be where I’m at today.” Having a healthy work-life balance, and knowing her career goals are attainable has been a contributing factor to Joanne’s success and overall well-being.
Additionally, Joanne says believing in her own abilities to do the things she sets out to do has served her abundantly. “Believing in yourself and making sure you see an end state vision of where you want to go and take those steps to be there, whether it’s additional certifications, advanced degrees, whatever it takes to continue the journey to do it, but you’re in charge of your own career, you cannot expect anybody to navigate it for you.”
Want more stories like this? Follow us on social media to read the next Women in Leadership Interview when it drops!