Our Stories

Learning the Business Skills to Lead

Mentor to research scientists gains knowledge he applies every day (even at home)

Bernard Rousseau
Associate Vice Chair for Research, Department of Otolaryngology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt MM Health Care 2016

During more than a decade at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Bernard Rousseau built a distinguished career. As Director of the Laryngeal Biology Laboratory, he is actively involved in the training of pre- and post-doctoral research fellows, residents, medical students, graduate students in the hearing and speech sciences, and undergraduates interested in academic careers. In 2014, he was the recipient of a prestigious award for mentoring graduate and medical students in the research setting. He is one of only 10 Associate Fellows ever elected to the American Laryngological Association.

But his years of mentoring had also taught him something: He needed new knowledge. “As a faculty member in an academic medical center, one of the things you learn quickly is that all your prior clinical and research training fall short of delivering the core business fundamentals and leadership skills you need to manage budgets and people,” Bernard says.

He saw the MMHC as a great opportunity to expand his skills “so I can more effectively lead my own teams and better understand how large health care organizations operate.” The Leadership Development Program, which enabled him to gain his first experience working with an executive coach, was a particular draw.

Bernard credits the program with helping him gain not only new leadership abilities but analytical and problem-solving skills that have prepared him to contribute more effectively to the medical center. “There is not a day that goes by that I am not in a conversation with colleagues, family and friends and applying something I’ve learned from the MMHC,” he says. “My wife jokes that the program has even helped us better manage our own finances!”

“There is not a day that goes by that I am not applying something I’ve learned from the MMHC.”