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7 Questions with Kori Novak
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7 Questions with Kori Novak
Name: Kori Novak
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Novorries Consulting
Dr. Kori Novak is an accomplished Senior Executive with more than 18 years of success spanning healthcare and criminal justice. Leveraging extensive experience as a CEO for various organisations Dr. Novak’s broad areas of expertise include elder care, hospice services, healthcare strategy and public affairs.
Dr. Novak attained her Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Ethno-Geriatrics and End of Life from Stanford University School of Medicine, her Ph.D. in Human Services and Gerontology with Summa Cum Laude honors from Capella University, her MBA with a concentration in Marketing, Public Relations, and Healthcare Administration with Magna Cum Laude honors from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, and her BA in International Relations and Russian with Cum Laude honors from the University of Denver.
She currently lives in Southern California with the loves of her life, her rescued Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu Winston and Abigail.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
When changes occur, it is much more difficult to pivot the organization. For instance, when the COVID-19 began it didn't seem we could move fast enough or get people on board fast enough. Changes had to go through what felt like mountains of committees etc. before we could take care of things. As much as you want to do what is best and you are the final say as CEO, without doing through the channels you can't get buy in...and those channels can take time.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was assertive and made sure I lived by the mantra "turn the lights on and turn the lights off". I was never afraid to share my opinion in an appropriate way and always asked for constructive criticism. This caught notice of my supervisors and they saw leadership qualities in me. I was slated for a management growth program. I went through that but when I knew I needed to make a move to grow, I would. B y listening to my own intuition and knowing myself, then taking risks based on that, I was able to become a CEO.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up and spend time with my dogs. Just petting them or walking them, it gets my day started well, I make a cup of tea and grab a yogurt or fruit and head to the office. Once I'm there I have more tea, and go through my calendar to see what the day will hold. I have a meeting with my assistant to see what has changed or what needs to change. I start my work day and just go with the flow. My assistant usually has lunch with me in my office and we do a mid-day touch base. The important thing for me is that I rarely schedule meetings before 9am. Not only am I not a morning person so that gives me time to wake up but it also gives me time to get organized and/or change my schedule if I need to. I also make sure that I end meetings at 4 so that I can do the same thing in the evening. If I have an event to go to in the evening, I make sure I have an least an hour at home to prepare, I guard these times pretty faithfully as I know I need them to make sure I am organized and calm.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
That you simply can't make everyone happy and if you are leading correctly, you will experience resistance.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. Not a traditional leadership book - but it helped me to remember that I can't be a good person, or leader without standing my ground. Setting boundaries doesn't make me bad or harsh, it makes me effective and provides the opportunity for understanding what I will tolerate within my management style.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Not only do you need a good succession plan...that's a given, but as a leader you need to always be on the lookout for talent at every level of the organization. this means paying attention, getting to know folks at all levels and being open to various types of leadership.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
I had an employee who had been discharged from their duty. They were not in the c-suite or even management but somehow (as is typical) as the CEO, it was personally my fault that they were let go. After a campaign of them harassing me, defaming me in the local and social media and picketing me at my home and office, I went out and talked to them face to face. I told her that I found it unfortunate that she was so angry at me (note I wasn't "sorry"), and what did she purpose I do to make it right. She was speechless. She admitted that it was easy to bad mouth me when I was just a name on paper, but when I confronted her, with kind firmness not only was she taken back but she confessed she was just angry about her job and fearful she wouldn't be able to get another. After that the harassment stopped. It is important that everyone can see you as human....that the words they say can and sometimes do hurt, but that at some point you will not tolerate nonsense.