Name: Ryan Vega
Title: Chief Health Officer
Dr. Ryan Vega serves as the Chief Health Officer for Vantiq where he leads their global healthcare efforts focused on designing and deploying software systems and applications that leverage real-time data and artificial intelligence. He is the former Chief Innovation Officer for the Veterans Health Administration where he led enterprise innovation efforts across the largest integrated health system in the United States. He work has spanned large-scale digital modernization efforts, design and deployment of innovative care and payment models, and early design and development of healthcare software focused on improving health care delivery and experience for patients and providers. Dr. Vega also currently sits as the Physician in Resident for the Digital Medicine Society and holds academic appointments as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Administration at Georgetown University as well as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at George Washington University. He possess broad expertise on leveraging emerging technologies to transform healthcare delivery and experience and is the recipient of many awards for his work in healthcare innovation and has published numerous articles on the topic.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Ryan's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Balance. Balancing the pursuit of visionary goals with the practical realities of current organizational limitations and individual team member needs...Balancing the need for personal growth against the need (and requirement) to serve others...Balancing the demands of work and personal life...Finding balance is necessary yet a constant challenge.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I said yes to new opportunities. I do not believe there is one concrete path to becoming a leader and realistically, we all have the capabilities to be leaders irrespective of titles or positions. Throughout my journey, I was open to new opportunities and willing to take risk - I had to learn how to fail (we all inevitably will at something) but I've been able use setbacks and failures to grow. One story I often share is the time I was not initially selected to be a chief medical resident. I thought that role was absolutely necessary for me to become a leader and in truth, I may have wanted that role for all the wrong reasons initially. That led to an opportunity to take a position at the VA spending a year focused on healthcare quality and safety (something I knew little about) and for me the rest is history. It did not hurt that I did wind up serving as a Chief Medical Resident but I certainly would not have had the career I have should I have been initially selected.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
That's a tough one - I wish I could find more predictability from day to day but such is life. A few things I try to make sure I do every day: exercise, spend time outside, put down my phone, and read.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
The power of humility and personal forgiveness. You are going to have setbacks and failures - some of these self-inflicted. It is important to grown and learn from every experience and be willing to forgive yourself for mistakes you make.
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?
Clarity by Jamie Smart. I cannot recommend this book enough to leaders. I believe Clarity is one of the most important - and overlooked - qualities of sound leadership. In short, before I read this book, I didn't fully appreciate the impact my own thoughts had on ability think clearly (as defined in the book) and that impact on my ability to lead.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Leadership is a journey - I do not believe there is a magical endpoint. Embrace the journey and all the ups and downs that come with it. Every success and failure is an opportunity to grow personally and professionally and it is vital - at every point along the journey - to be open to new growth.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Less of a story, but more of a learning experience: Sometimes you need to lose everything you think is important to learn what truly is important.