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Advancing Women Leaders: A Q&A with Chris Hause

August 27, 2018 Jennifer McCollum

As many of you know, advancing women leaders is a mission that is near and dear to me—and our team here at Linkage. To that end, we always look forward to reading the stories (over 125 this year!) that pour in for consideration for our Executive Impact Award. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize leaders who have made this mission their own—and have had a remarkable impact on their team and organization.

In this blog series, we’ll be sharing leadership advice from the 2018 award recipients. Today, Chris Hause, Chief Sales Officer & VP Marketing, Sales & Business Development for Commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid Markets at Kaiser Permanente shares lessons to live and lead by—and why articulating who you want to be matters more than you might think.

Chris will be participating in a panel featuring this year’s award recipients at Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute on November 14, in Phoenix, AZ. This short video captures the impact of this unique immersive leadership experience.

Tell us a little bit about your role at your company.

I like to think of my role as more transformative and role-modeling. In this fast-paced world we live in, we need to constantly change to stay relevant. Every day, I am role-modeling desired mindsets and behavior; by making the change or transformation personal, it’s easier to get others engaged and to spotlight successes as they emerge. This also contributes to driving strategy and execution. Also, there is no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and getting personally involved, especially when there are big issues or opportunities at stake. Everyone has a role to play in a performance transformation.

Who has had the greatest influence on you, and why?

I have certainly learned from my parents and family, my friends, and my teachers, and my bosses… but I believe that my greatest influencers have been the employees whom I have had the opportunity to work with throughout my career. They’ve taught me countless lessons about life, determination and perseverance, risk-taking, forgiveness, and in my time in Hawaii—the importance of aloha. Aloha not only means hello, good bye, and love—it also means the joyful sharing of life energy in the present:

  • A, ala, observant
  • L, lokahi, working with unity
  • O, oia’i’o, truthful honesty
  • H, ha’aha’a, humility
  • A, ahonui, perseverance

My employees have taught me more about leadership than any one influencer. They have taught me the importance of diverse and inclusive thinking—a byproduct of the word “aloha.” It’s important to me that everyone have a voice—it’s what has allowed me to become the leader I am today.

What are you most proud of in your work advancing women leaders, and why?

As a woman leader, I have come to understand the importance of creating support structures for women. This includes creating new opportunities, encouraging mentors and sponsors, measuring progress, succession planning, and inspiring others to aim high through networking and relationship building opportunities.

I am proud of the work I have done with one of Kaiser Permanente’s business resource groups—KPWELL (KP Women Embracing Life and Leadership). I led the KPWELL work group for the Hawaii Region for several years, growing membership substantially. It supports the organization’s overall people strategy by providing women with opportunities for education, networking and the development of leadership skills that enhance their work and life experiences. I have seen the fruits of that labor—my team is about 70 percent women, and my leadership team of managers and above is 70 percent female. My team is also one of the highest-performing market-facing teams in the organization.

What advice would you offer someone interested in moving this work forward in their organization?

First and foremost, you need to articulate a vision of what you aspire to be. Then you need to make sure that everyone around you has that same or similar aspiration. I’ve been very inclusive with my teams—I allow them to participate and drive diversity and inclusiveness in a way that enables them to lead the work. It takes time to change a culture—so don’t expect that, just because you want to be advancing women or creating diversity, it will happen overnight. Once I had alignment on the vision, I then had to create the right support structure to create new opportunities.

Dark haired woman watches from audience of conference event

Women in Leadership Institute

NOV. 13–16, 2023 | Orlando, Florida, or Virtual
A 4-day immersive learning experience designed to equip women leaders with actionable strategies to overcome the hurdles women often face in the workplace.

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