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  • 10/17/2018 3:58 PM | Deleted user

    Paul Fiore gains insight during the 2018 Tri-State Conference.Our industry is changing rapidly, with system consolidation, competition, price transparency, changing payment models, and data-driven decision making as some of the key driving forces.

    For healthcare marketing, communications, PR and strategy professionals, this means the roles we play are more important to our organization’s success than ever before, and the skill sets required to advance ourselves and our organizations are changing at hyper speed.

    Historically, our roles have included developing marketing plans, advertising executions, collateral material and internal communications, to name a few.

    But the evolving skill set of today’s (and tomorrow’s) marketing and communications professionals — driven by the needs of our organizations — involves a whole new set of skills.

    Seeking new expertise

    We must acquire expertise in a variety of areas, including (but certainly not limited to):

    • digital marketing tactics and how to effectively target our audiences;
    • customer relationship management (CRM) systems and marketing automation;
    • Google analytics and other analysis platforms;
    • embracing and understanding data sources and how to analyze data to our advantage;
    • website design, content creation, architecture and SEO;
    • customer experience analytics and management; and
    • demonstrating, in a meaningful way, return-on-investment (ROI). 

    After attending the Tri-State Conference: Adventures in Healthcare Marketing and PR, I drove home convinced that if we are to accept and embrace a new and vital role in our organizations, we must commit ourselves to change and continued advancement of our professional skills.

    Events, like this conference, help us share knowledge and ideas as a community and build our collective ability to respond to the challenges we face.

    We have other partners in this journey. The exhibitors and corporate sponsors of the conference, as well as our MHSCN sponsors, have deep expertise and insight into the challenges we face.  They can offer elegant solutions to help us achieve our objectives.

    Evolving our to-do list for professional development

    Book cover of The End of Hospital Marketing by Joe BeveloThe conference closed with a keynote presentation from Joe Public III: The End of Hospital Marketing. (A copy is on the way to my door from Amazon.)

    Chris presented key insights from the book, based on interviews with 12 of the top marketing innovators in our field. He explores the premise that hospital and healthcare marketing has finally arrived, and the best practices in our field have advanced to a level equal to other industries. In essence, great hospital marketing should simply be considered great marketing.

    Chris offered six new imperatives for marketing success:

    • digital dominates
    • marketing as a business driver
    • data-driven marketing
    • owning the patient experience
    • building “health” brands
    • low-threshold leadership and the willingness to adapt and change

    I came away from the conference with a long to-do list for professional development. And, fortunately, MHSCN is directing significant attention to helping our members acquire knowledge and master new skill.

    Wanted: Spring conference input

    In fact, we’re already talking about our Spring 2019 MHSCN conference. So, as we think about topic areas and speakers, I’m asking for your input. 

    If you have a content area that’s on your professional development to-do list, or a speaker you’d love to hear, send me an e-mail.

    Paul Fiore
    MHSCN president-elect, 2018

  • 06/22/2018 5:54 PM | Katie Johnson
    Katie's son and daughter jump off a dock and into a lake

    I realize summer has just begun, but given how short Minnesota summers are, this fall's Tri-State Conference will be here before you can say, “Go jump in the lake.”

    Registration is now open for the September 17-19 conference, and there’s no better time than right now to register. 

    Here are 10 solid reasons (in no particular order) you should block this time on your calendar before summer flies by:

    1. The Wilderness Resort. Our conference hotel is top notch and even has a destination spa. Need I say more?
    2. 12 breakout sessions + 2 keynotes = A lot of engaging content. We’ve hand-selected these high-caliber speakers and topics to help keep you current on the latest in healthcare marketing, PR, communications and strategy.
    3. An escape room. What better way to kick off a conference and get to know your peers than by attempting to solve an escape together? There will be bowling & pizza too, if that’s more your style.
    4. Me time. Taking time away from the office is about more than making you a better professional. It’s also crucial for maintaining a healthy YOU. Go ahead, book some me-time during the conference too. (See “destination spa” above!)
    5. Learn new stuff. Not just healthcare stuff either. As the linked article notes, learning trivia is good for your mental health. Did you know the Dells of the Wisconsin River, also called the Wisconsin Dells (from French dalles, or narrows), is a five-mile gorge noted for its scenic beauty, in particular for its unique Cambrian sandstone rock formations and tributary canyons?
    6. Waterparks. Duh. In case you hadn’t heard, Wisconsin Dells has the largest concentration of water parks in the world. Not the U.S. or North America – but the WORLD. P.S. The Wilderness Resort has eight waterparks.
    7. Goody Goody Gumdrops. With 1,000 different kinds of candy, it is the largest candy store in Wisconsin. The main store is in downtown Dells, but it also has a location in the Wilderness Resort.
    8. Build your network. Networking is a constant task and one that takes time and dedicated effort. With attendees from Minn., Ill. and Wis., this is a triple opportunity to establish and nurture long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet.
    9. Free stuff from sponsors and exhibitors. Admit it, you can always use one more pen, can koozie or stress ball!
    10. Interactive, relevant and fun from start to finish. We are sure these three days will fly by and you’ll leave full of new energy and ideas to fuel you through the last quarter of 2018 and into the new year.

    So what are you waiting for? Registration is open online now. A full conference brochure is heading to mailboxes soon, so keep your eyes open for it, or print/view it here.

  • 05/18/2018 12:23 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

    Minnesota Health Strategy and Communication Network (MHSCN), a professional organization providing networking and educational opportunities for individuals in health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations and communications, announced the winners of the 2018 Award of Excellence at the organization’s spring conference in Minneapolis.

    The MHSCN Award of Excellence recognizes health care marketing, communications, web-based strategies and public relations providing valuable feedback and recognition for industry experts.

    The contest recognizes excellence in these categories.

    • Best Advertising Campaign
    • Best in Print
    • Best in Digital
    • Best in Communications/PR
    • Miscellaneous/PotPourri

    “There are some highly talented professionals in Minnesota’s healthcare marketing industry, and this year’s entries were a reflection of the excellent work being done around the state,” said MHSCN 2018 President Katie Johnson of Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls, MN. 

    “I am always inspired when I see the caliber of work done by my peers. This year was no exception, and they all have my congratulations and admiration,” she added.

    2018 Award of Excellence honorees

    Best Advertising Campaign - Allina Health for Hometown Care campaign

    In 2017, Allina Health’s Marketing/Communications team was charged with supporting the opening of primary care clinics in the distinct regional markets – Isanti, Buffalo, and River Falls, WI.

    Each clinic offers different specialty services alongside primary care. And each market has their specific challenges but also commonality in the opportunity to highlight a greater network of care that community members can access by coming to the new clinics. Each clinic is located near one of their hospitals so that patients can access a full continuum of care. All clinics were in growing markets.

    Campaigns were designed to reach target audiences where they live, commute, work and play through a mix of online, print and event-based marketing and advertising. The key messages, artwork and specific tactics were customized to address the challenges, opportunities and target audiences of each region.

    Best in Print - Constellation for Brink Magazine

    Brink magazine offers 22,000 policyholders and other readers through online access insights into the hottest topics and latest trends in patient safety and risk management.

    The 2017 Spring issue was a data-filled benchmarking issue entitled, "Improving the Diagnostic Process: Lessons from Malpractice Claims Data,” that was both informative and well-designed for ease of use.

    They followed up with a summer issue on "The Opioid Dilemma," focused on this health crisis from the perspective of the physician, hospital, and health systems.

    They culminated the year with an issue entitled, "The Call for Telemedicine,” in which we gave an overview, offered an infographic, and shared stories highlighting the latest developments in this emerging health care topic.

    Each issue featured original illustration as well as original articles, written by Constellation staff, including their Chief Medical Officer's column, "Meditations on Medicine," and other freelance healthcare writers.

    Best in Digital - Minnesota Hospital Association for video campaign featuring CHI St. Gabriel’s Health’s Controlled Substance Care Team

    Health systems, hospitals and physicians across Minnesota are on the front lines of the opioid crisis. From 2010 to 2016, the number of opioid-related emergency room visits in Minnesota doubled. Emergency room (ER) visits for mental health and substance abuse have substantially increased compared to overall ER visits.

    MHA identified an opportunity to raise awareness about the opioid crisis and highlight local solutions to substance abuse disorder and opioid misuse by profiling the work of a member hospital, CHI St. Gabriel’s Health. Serving the Morrison County population of 35,000 people, CHI St. Gabriel’s Health has helped over 340 patients taper off controlled substances completely through a community and clinic-based program. In a year, that translates to more than 382,512 fewer controlled substance doses entering the community.

    MHA shared the story of CHI St. Gabriel’s Health through a series of short and full-length videos interviewing key players in the program - doctors, patients, hospital leaders, state and federal legislators and law enforcement partners. Shorter videos were also created and used as ads on social channels and various third-party websites to drive traffic to the website and the Minnesota’s Hospitals Facebook page. To focus the campaign where it would be most impactful, video advertising was targeted to reach healthcare professionals and issue activists.

    Best in Communications/PR - Allina Health Mercy Hospital for 'One Hospital, Two Campuses' campaign

    In 2017, the adult inpatient mental health unit moved from the Mercy Hospital campus in Coon Rapids to the Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus in Fridley. The move was part of the "one hospital, two campuses" consolidation for Mercy and Unity hospitals that was designed to strengthen services for patients.

    Prior to the move, the Unity campus had been the subject of a "save our hospital" campaign that was founded on and promoted falsehoods about the facility, including that the hospital was closing, was being turned into a mental health-only facility, that mental health patients were going to endanger the neighborhood, and more.

    Allina Health launched a public relations campaign to combat these rumors, using a community open house as one of the tactics featuring the new state-of-the-art mental health unit and showcasing other services being offered at the “not-closing” hospital and to reduce the stigma around mental health.

    The campaign included invitations, advertisements, news releases, posters, social media and web site messages and partnerships with local mental health organizations. Internal communication vehicles included posters, employee news articles, intranet promotions and in-house display screen messages.

    The event itself combined tours and interactive displays and a video on the importance of mental health treatment was also shown and ran on a continuous loop.

    Best in Potpourri/Miscellaneous - Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI) for Regenerative Medicine Campaign

    As part of CDI’s corporate strategy to offer new procedures to complement its pain management services, Center for Diagnostic Imaging added Regenerative Medicine Services to their St. Louis Park center.

    Regenerative Medicine uses a patient’s own biologic components to help the body heal itself. A referral is not required for this service, but engaging referral sources in educating their patients around this service was identified as an objective. 

    The product launch was targeted at physicians and patients.

    • The initial plan was focused on establishing an online web presence and digital pay-per-click advertising and outreach to key physician groups that refer to us for other services and have patients who could benefit from this service.
    • A fully integrated campaign was developed with physician and patient education materials, in-store signage and an online consultation request form. Videos were used for patient education.

    The next phase will be to partner with referring providers and do a larger scale advertising campaign aimed at generating consumer awareness of this service for those suffering from spine and joint ailments.

    2018 honorable mentions

    • Best in Advertising - Cuyuna Regional Medical Center for their “If things go south, you don’t have to…” campaign
    • Best in Print - Allina Health for Breast Cancer: A Survivor’s Guide to Hope and Endurance
    • Best in Digital - FirstLight Health System for Outsmarting Preventable Head Injuries
    • Best in Communications/PR - Inprela for their work with 3M to help bring vascular access care and bloodstream infection prevention to the forefront
    • Best in Miscellaneous/PotPourri - Allina Health Mercy Hospital for their Commitment to Care, Whole Person Care video.

    About MHSCN

    The Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network (MHSCN), is a nonprofit, membership organization. MHSCN provides networking and educational opportunities designed to improve the professional skills of those in health care strategic planning, marketing, public relations and communications. Learn more at mhscn.com.

  • 05/02/2018 10:39 AM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

    Engage! Influence! Inspire!During the MHSCN Spring Conference & Awards on Friday, April 20, more than 70 healthcare communicators, marketers and public relations professionals gained inspiration as they explored how to influence and engage on many topics. 

    "I love attending conferences. Good presenters, interesting people, compelling topics and new and creative ways of tackling problems get me energized and thinking about how to integrate new ideas into my work, " said Paul Fiore, MHSCN president-elect. "Two or three cups of strong coffee to get the day going doesn’t hurt either."

    Paul Fiore discusses topics with colleagues while seated at a conference table.During spring conference 2018, Fiore felt energized by the "diverse line-up of speakers covering a variety of topics. I can’t do justice in this space to try to recap all of the great information that was presented at the conference, but the following are a few nuggets I came away with."

    To download a presentation, select the topic title.

    Bridging Worlds: The Future Role of Healthcare Strategist

    Holly Sullivan, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Spectrum Health and Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) Board member offered a compelling look at the future role of the healthcare strategist, based on the SHSMD publication Bridging Worlds

    Within her presentation, Holly reviewed a number of dynamics that are reshaping healthcare delivery, such as consumerism, advances in technology, new competition, behavior change, and many other factors. These emerging trends result in five significant implications on how we position our organizations, and ourselves, for the future.

    • Be nimble and exceed the rate of change.
    • Create consumer experiences, and tell powerful stories.
    • Integrate and co-create.
    • Erase boundaries of business.
    • Generate data-driven insights.

    Holly offered an overview of how the insights gathered to create Bridging Worlds can be used to help your organization succeed, lead your team, and also serve as a personal roadmap for growth and development.

    Holly Sullivan

    Holly Sullivan is a healthcare executive with nearly 20 years of business development experience.  Holly currently serves as director of strategic partnerships for Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich., where she identifies and develops external partnerships that will offer both traditional and non-traditional strategic growth opportunities for the organization. She also helps to analyze and develop solutions for the organization's (twelve hospitals, health plan and medical group) most complex opportunities/challenges.

    Prior to this, she was senior vice president for Hammes Company, a national healthcare consulting firm, responsible for business development and marketing activities nationally. 

    Holly currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) of the American Hospital Association.

    "Our Best Begins with Me" - CentraCare Health

    Culture can be a make or break proposition in healthcare. Somewhat intangible, and tough to measure, a strong culture can turn good care to great, and engage employees to go above and beyond for their patients, colleagues and organization. Wendy Jerde, Meghan Dingmann and Dawn Koeniger from CentraCare get this, and so does Ken Holmen, CentraCare President and CEO, who identified this project as the organization’s #1 priority.

    The CentraCare team provided a great overview of their employee culture campaign "Our Best Begins With Me." 

    • The challenge – engage over 12,000 employees located at 64 sites spread across Central Minnesota 
    • The solution – a well-developed campaign with common themes delivered across multiple platforms throughout the organization

    The use of frequent messaging, relevant content and engaging communications carried their message. They also utilized internal Culture Champions, facilitators and leaders to consistently assist in implementation. Of their many tactics, I thought the closed Facebook group and microsite for employees were great elements leading to shared engagement.

    Meghan Dingmann

    Meghan Dingmann, marketing specialist, CentraCare Health, holds a BS degree in marketing communications from Bemidji State University, and an MBA from Southwest Minnesota State University. She has been with CentraCare Health for three years and supports the marketing work of the CentraCare Health Foundation, Kidney Program, Home Care & Hospice and the Our Best Begins With Me culture campaign.

    She enjoys Starbucks coffee, long strolls through Target (alone), wrangling her toddlers and coordinating their school and social calendars. In her next life, she wants to be a cake decorator with her own TV show on the Food Network.  

    Dawn Koeniquer

    Dawn Koeniguer, marketing specialist, CentraCare Health, is a native of Monticello, Minn. She holds a BS degree in mass communications from Bemidji State University. She has been with CentraCare Health for 18 years, and she supports the marketing work of Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Rehabilitation, Behavioral Health, Emergency Room, Urgency Center and the Our Best Begins With Me culture campaign.

    In addition to her full-time health care work, she moonlights as a mother to three amazing daughters and spends many hours chauffeuring. In her free time, she enjoys a hot shower and a cold glass of wine. In her next life she wants to be a pirate.

    Wendy Jerde

    Wendy Jerde joined CentraCare Health in 2017 as director of communications. She has more than 20 years of healthcare communications experience, most of which was spent leading public relations, executive communications counsel, community relations and service line support for North Memorial.

    Wendy also knows the media side of communications, where she served as a producer for KARE 11 News for five years.

    Smarter Better Health Reform? Influencing State and Federal Policy

    How are Americans' views of health care changing? Where is reform occurring? Congress, the states, Trump administration? Staying informed of legislative issues involving health care can seem daunting. Our speaker took us through some of the more significant legislative issues that we need to pay attention to in the coming months. 

    Scott Keefer

    Scott Keefer, vice president of public affairs and policy/legislative affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, leads Blue Cross’ engagement with key stakeholders. This includes outreach to state and federal legislative and executive branch officials, thought leaders and interest groups. He is responsible for developing integrated public affairs strategies to influence public policy, build a strong reputation and advance the organization’s mission of making a healthy difference in people’s lives. 

    Scott joined Blue Cross in 2010 after working on public policy and health care for 15 years in Washington, D.C. He served most recently as Vice President for Policy at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). Scott also worked as a congressional staffer for 10 years, including as the legislative director for U.S. Representative Harold Ford, Jr., and served in several health-related positions in both the private and public sectors. 

    Scott is a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, and received his law degree from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, PA.

    The Art of Tactful Self-Promotion: How to Get the Recognition You Deserve

    And for those of us that are so Minnesota nice we can’t admit we are nice, Richard Dodson presented The Art of Tactful Self-Promotion: How to Get the Recognition You Deserve.

    Richard helped the audience rethink how we present ourselves, including reframing how we reference ourselves in conversations. A couple examples:

    When someone asks you what you do, don’t just provide your title. Tell them what you actually do, by identifying how you add value to your organization and identify your unique gifts and the contributions they allow you to make.

    When someone asks you how you are doing, don’t respond with, “Well, OK, I guess.” Tell them how excited you are by the results of a recent project, or how enthusiastic you are about what you are currently working on.

    These simple strategies help position you as someone who is making things happen and fully engaged in your work and the outcomes.

    He tactfully mentioned that his book, Power Your Career: The Art of Tactful Self-Promotion at Work, co-authored by Nancy Burke, is available to purchase online.

    Richard DodsonRichard Dodson uses his writing, speaking and consulting skills to empower careerists and entrepreneurs to raise their visibility, unlock opportunities and earn more recognition and reward. 

    After years as a vice president with Lee Hecht Harrison, where he coached more than 1000 clients through tough career challenges, he recently launched Artisan Digital, an agency focused on digital publishing, e-commerce and launching experts into the digital space to increase their impact and income. 

    Richard’s career began at age 14 with his first paying job as a magician!

    Bootstrapping Research

    Professional communicators know research represents a critical resource in developing and delivering effective audience engagement. Unfortunately, the time and budget to conduct communication research evaporates before anything can be done. 

    Based on his experience with nearly 300 student research projects, many from major local corporations, our speaker covered ways to leverage tools and resources already within reach. 

    Mike PorterDr. Mike Porter, APR, serves as distinguished service faculty and faculty director of the Master of Health Care Communication program at the Opus College of Business, University of St. Thomas. He previously was director of the Master of Business Communication Program. 

    Prior to joining the University of St. Thomas, he spent more than 25 years in business, marketing and communications. Mike has participated in creation and implementation of a broad spectrum of successful strategies and tactics, primarily for entrepreneurs, and continues to consult. He also sits on the boards of both profit and non-profit organizations. 

    Mike holds a doctorate in leadership, policy and administration from the Graduate School of Education at the University of St. Thomas. In addition, he has an MBA in marketing from the University of St. Thomas and a BS in mass communication from Bemidji State University. He also earned accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America.

    Active Shooter Awareness and Preparedness

    Sadly, active shooter awareness is growing in this country. We need only open the pages of our newspaper, turn on the television or log onto a news feed to find new evidence of active shooter activities. 

    A security expert from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shared how to prevent, protect, mitigate, and respond to the possibility of an active shooter at a healthcare facility in our communities.

    Glenn Sanders, protective security advisor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security represents the DHS in Minnesota. He also serves as a liaison between the DHS and the private sector, as well as with federal, tribal, state and local mission partners. 

    As DHS’s on-site critical infrastructure specialist, Glenn provides assistance and support as appropriate for all-hazards prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery to enhance infrastructure security and resilience. 

    Glenn retired from the U.S. Army after a 24-year military career that included 18 years in Special Forces.

  • 03/22/2018 11:32 AM | Deleted user
    Kathy Hollenhorst moderates discussion with panel of experts.

    Stand out in the job search, even when you're not looking

    MHSCN teamed up with Creatis to host a great networking and educational event at the beautiful Creatis headquarters on March 20th.

    An expert panel provided great insights and answered questions related to career transitions and building your professional network. The panel also addressed key concepts related to job seeking, interviewing skills, how to stand out in the crowd, and much more.  

    McKaela Baldus answers question while other panelists listen.Our panelists included:

    • Michele Vig, Founder and Chief Organizer of Neat Little Nest (previously President of Caribou Coffee)
    • Maureen O’Malley Rehfuss, President and Owner of Career Partners International Twin Cities
    • McKaela Baldus, Managing Director of Staffing, Creatis, Inc.
    • Dan Ness, Founder & Owner of Ness Communications (previously Marketing Director at UCare)

    The session was moderated by Kathy Hollenhorst, President and CEO of Creatis.

    Panel discussion synopsis

    Below is a synopsis of the panel discussion.

    What are the key concepts that have contributed to your success?

    Maureen Rehfuss: Working hard, and stepping up to take on new challenges that allowed me to grow, hone my skills, and build confidence. It’s also about being visible and recognized as a leader within and outside of your organization.

    Michele Vig: My three keys are being focused on the work that I’m doing, bringing passion to my job, and perseverance in getting tasks accomplished – no matter how difficult.

    Dan Ness: I’ve found curiosity to be a key element of my success. Also being able to listen and taking the time to understand processes I’m involved with.

    McKaela Baldus: It’s important to be authentic and relatable. People run into challenges when they try to be something they’re not. 

    What sets some candidates apart from others?

    McKaela Baldus: Candidates that can clearly identify why they are interested in the position and are passionate about the opportunity stand out. Given two candidates of equal ability, I’ll always go with the candidate that demonstrates their interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity.

    Maureen Rehfuss: Make yourself relevant. Demonstrate how you can make a difference and what you can do for the organization to help them achieve their goals. Focus on the organization’s needs and not your own. Focus on personal branding and identify your top three accomplishments and what they meant to the organization you were working for. Bring that difference to life by showing past results and metrics.

    Dan Ness: Emotional intelligence and situational abilities. In interviews, I ask candidates to identify what others would say about them to get a feel for how they have related to others in past employment situations.

    Michele Vig: When in transition, remember what makes you great, why you believe in yourself, and what makes you amazing. Demonstrate that in the interview.   

    What is the biggest mistake you have seen people make in managing their careers?

    Michele Vig: Don’t get locked into one career or industry. Broaden your experience, especially at a young age. It gets more difficult to change industries the deeper you get into your career or when trying to attain a higher level position.  

    Dan Ness: Don’t be afraid to fail. Follow your passions and do what you want to do. 

    Maureen Rehfuss: Be real about who you are and what you want. Some jobs are not a good fit and typically end poorly. Be authentic and create a vision of what you want for yourself in a job and career.

    McKaela Baldus: The biggest failing I see is not leaving a job with grace. Don’t burn bridges. Leave an organization in the appropriate manner. The Twin Cities is a pretty small marketing community, and a poor exit can follow you for a long time and impact your future opportunities.

    What are your top interview tips?

    McKaela Baldus: Do your research to understand who will be interviewing you and their background. Find areas and past experiences where you can relate to your interviewer in a meaningful way. Have relevant questions ready that will help you determine if you would accept an offer if one was made.

    Maureen Rehfuss: Dress appropriately, and turn off your cell phone for in-person interviews. Practice answers to anticipated interview questions in front of a mirror so you can visually see how you are responding. Work on your presence and confidence as you practice your responses. 

    If you are participating in a phone interview, walk around as you are on the call to be more energetic. Smile on phone interviews. It will come through in your voice and inflection and energy. Conduct phone interviews in quiet spaces where you won’t be interrupted, especially by barking dogs. 

    Michele Vig: Be sure to communicate the unique reason they should hire you. Communicate the three top accomplishments in your career and be sure to communicate the results!

    Closing thoughts?

    McKaela Baldus: Don’t be afraid to express your true interest in a job.  Eagerness will go a long way.

    Maureen Rehfuss: Stay relevant and understand what new technology is emerging and what it can offer in the marketplace.

    Michele Vig: Be kind to yourself in transition.  It’s hard, and sometimes you need to treat yourself with a little tenderness.

    Dan Ness: Network, and be direct about why you want to connect with someone. People like to respond and help if they can. Actively look for new people to network with outside of your typical circle.

    Book recommendations

    Panelists recommended these books:

    Thank you

    A special thank you goes to Anna and Gardens of Salonica in NE Minneapolis for the delicious food!

    We also thank Creatis for hosting this event with us.

    creatis logo
  • 02/25/2018 5:58 PM | Deleted user

    Paul tells a storyI’m reminded of a conversation my wife and I had when we were first married. In fact, she reminds me of it several times each year – for the last 30 years.

    She had been unusually quiet for an hour or so, and I began to wonder if I had touched a nerve. I soon found out when she inquired, “How come you never ask me what’s wrong?" 

    I paused for a beat (should have been longer….much longer) and somewhat flippantly replied, “Because I know you’ll always tell me.” 

    And, in an immediate and instinctual act of self-preservation, I added, “And I promise I will always listen and try to do something about it.”

    Well, we recently asked you for some feedback, and promised to listen and do something about it. The results of the member survey have really focused our discussion and planning within the MHSCN Board.

    MHSCN President Katie Johnson summarized the results of the survey in January, highlighting your interest in advancing your career and professional development through education, networking and recognition of your work. 

    Opportunities for you

    Over the next several months, we have a number of opportunities to engage with MHSCN and your colleagues in healthcare marketing and communications. 

    Engage! Influence! Inspire!

    Our 2018 Spring Conference is aptly titled Engage! Influence! Inspire! 

    The conference also highlights our 2018 Awards of Excellence. And now is the perfect time to nominate your projects for the award. It’s an easy process and offers recipients great recognition in our professional community and within your own organization. 

    In addition to the beautiful award, we’ll provide the winning entries with a press release and LinkedIn recognition to help spread the word even further.

    Mix & Mingle

    You also requested more opportunities that combine networking and industry expertise. Mix & Mingle in March is your next opportunity to do just that. The educational networking event is hosted by Creatis, Inc.

    We're listening

    I often think how fortunate I am that my career path has been focused in healthcare marketing and communications. Our professional community is filled with talented and caring individuals who’ve chosen healthcare for the right reasons.

    We’re glad you told us what’s on your mind, and guarantee you that we are listening and will continue to work hard to make MHSCN a vital part of your professional life and career development. 

    I encourage you to take the time to engage with us, and your colleagues, at these upcoming events.

    Paul Fiore
    MHSCN president-elect, 2018

  • 02/23/2018 5:33 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

    Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network thanks Tate Leferink for adding his expertise and energy to the MHSCN Board of Directors. 

    Tate Leferink, our new communications co-chair, shares a bit about himself:

    I am a Regional Territory Manager for Professional Office Services.  We are a Healthcare Communications Company that specializes in helping medical practices improve their patient communications through print and digital materials. We offer practices ways to improve their patient billing and payment solutions through statement processing, online bill pay, digital messaging and implementation plans.

    I have been in the medical field for 20 years and have been with Professional Office Services for five years. I graduated from Iowa State University but have been a Minnesotan my entire life. Born and raised in Rochester, MN and currently live in Cottage Grove, MN with my wife of 17 years and our lovely daughter. In my free time I follow the local sports teams, watch movies/tv, read and when the weather cooperates play as much golf as I humanly can. Connect with me by email

  • 01/22/2018 4:19 PM | Katie Johnson

    photo of highway exit signphoto of Katie JohnsonGrowing up on a dairy farm meant trips out of town were few and far between. "After all," Mom would say, “the cows don’t just milk themselves, you know.” 

    Three-hour road trips to visit aunts and uncles in the Twin Cities were a big deal. Wide-eyed in the back seat, anticipation would build as we approached the city. 

    The increasing frequency of green exit signs, coupled with Mom’s increasing anxiety and passenger-side-braking, indicated good times ahead. The first time “Bass Lake Road” appeared on an exit sign, all passengers were on high alert to ensure we didn’t miss the off-ramp.

    The green exit signs I saw on my way home from our January MHSCN board meeting brought back those feelings of childhood anticipation. I left this meeting and strategic planning session knowing good things are just ahead for MHSCN.

    To everyone who took the time to complete our recent survey, thank you. Your feedback gives us direction to better serve our members and prospective members and will be valuable in shaping our future. I'd summarize the highlights of our findings and next steps this way:

    1. MHSCN matters. We serve a niche in the healthcare marketing, communications and strategy space that no one else does. We will update our Mission Statement and Board Structure in 2018 to better reflect and fulfill this purpose.
    2. Content is king. We hear you loud and clear. MHSCN needs to deliver more:
      • content for higher level professionals
      • short-format events that include both learning and networking
      • opportunities at different times of the day or days of the week
      • places to get content – webinars, case studies, virtual conferences and out-state locations
    3. Members want to engage. We hear you loud and clear. MHSCN needs to deliver more. For members who can’t or prefer not to serve on the MHSCN board, we’ll identify more opportunities to engage you in the work of your chapter, including small project subcommittees, conference volunteer options or networking through volunteering.

    We are also exploring Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) Chapter Affiliation and believe this will be a partnership that will strengthen MHSCN’s content, connections and overall value. Stay tuned.

    Finally, a quick shout out to welcome our new board members. Allison, Amy, Martha and Erika have joined the ranks of the bright, dedicated, forward-looking professionals who volunteer their time to keep MHSCN relevant. 

    Our eyes are on the road, and the signs will lead us on a really great trip in 2018.

    Katie Johnson
    MHSCN president, 2018

  • 01/18/2018 8:01 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

    The Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network thanks these members for adding their expertise and energy to the MHSCN Board of Directors:

    They started their two-year terms on January 1. 

    Interested in joining our great group of volunteer board members? Contact Mary Beth Schwartz.

    Membership Co-Chair

    photo of Allison Bendickson

    Allison Bendickson

    Communications and Fundraising Coordinator

    Senior Community Services


    I graduated from Bethel University with a bachelor's in marketing in 2011. I went on to volunteer/intern at numerous nonprofits, including the MS Society, Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota and the Arthritis Foundation. 

    I began at Senior Community Services as the communications and fundraising assistant in April of 2015 and moved into the coordinator role at the beginning of 2017. I recently completed the fundraising certificate in the Executive Education School of the University of St. Thomas.

    In my personal life, I volunteer with the Maple Grove Community Organization, helping to put together the city's biggest event of the year: Maple Grove Days. I live with my boyfriend of two years in Golden Valley along with Allie, our 1 year old standard-size, dachshund mix puppy. 

    Awards Co-Chair

    photo of Amy Martin

    Amy Martin

    Wellness / Community Engagement

    Hutchinson Health


    I am a wellness program coordinator for Hutchinson Health, with whom I have been employed with for over 10 years. 

    My education background includes a bachelor of science (BS) degree in medical technology and a master of science (MS) degree in community health.  

    I am married with three children (ages 14, 16 and 20). I live in Winthrop, Minn. 

    Networking Co-Chair

    photo of Martha Parsons

    Martha Parsons


    Parsons Communications LLC


    As owner of Parsons Communications, L. L. C., I help clients uncover, shape and tell their stories. 

    I'm a communications strategist, writer and editor accomplished at marketing, public relations and public affairs. I help organizations ask tougher questions to better understand how their communications can hit home.

    Program Co-Chair 

    photo of Erika Peterson

    Erika Peterson

    Relationship Manager

    Creatis, Inc.


    I studied classical music in college and ended up with a business degree. Every role prior to Creatis was either in music, the arts - places where I could flex my right brain. 

    The part I always excelled at was “people.” Whether helping leadership teams get the right people in the right seats, helping entrepreneurs write process, recruiting, or running a start-up, it all comes back to WHO is doing the work. The team must gel, and it gives me great satisfaction to help build great teams and successful relationships every day. It’s the people who give a business its heart. 

    I say it all the time, "If I’m not helping or learning, I’m not fulfilled." What I do allows me to do both of those things every day; we help a lot of people match up with great clients around the Twin Cities. Based on the sheer number of people I meet every day, I’m always learning something new.

  • 12/19/2017 7:27 PM | Rebecca Kindall Nelson (Administrator)

    It's a great time to Join MHSCN – or renew your membership!

    Now until Friday, Feb. 16, we're offering a 25% discount on our already affordable $60 membership rate for new and renewing members. 

    And, we’ll send you a beautiful MHSCN thermal mug.  

    You'll be the envy of your department coffee klatch! 

    It's simple. Here’s what you do:

    1. Go to mhscn.com/membership.
    2. Select your membership level. Enter your email address, and complete a security check to advance to the application form.
    3. As you complete your application, be sure to provide your address. 
    4. Enter MHSCNmug in the discount code field. The membership fee will go down $15 to only $45.
    5. When a membership co-chair confirms your membership, he or she will make sure an insulated beverage mug is mailed to your address.
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