Leading Impact Through Trust, Safety, and Wellbeing

As a self-employed consultant and coach, my work typically spans multiple worlds. From time to time, I like to reflect on how the threads of my recent activities as an impact leadership advisor and public interest advocate have woven together into a meaningful whole. This time, I decided to share some of the highlights of my Summer of 2023 more widely so that you can get a glimpse of how I attempt to contribute to helping health and social change leaders thrive in a complex, uncertain world.

In late May, I attended the Nobel Prize Summit in Washington, DC. The theme was “Truth, Trust and Hope”. Speakers and panelists delved into the truths behind the manipulation tactics employed by technology and autocratic regimes. However, amidst the darkness, a glimmer of hope emerges through the power of trust. As Nobel Prize laureate and journalist, Maria Ressa passionately emphasizes, “without facts you cannot have truth. Without truth you cannot have trust. Without that we have no shared reality.” https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel-prize-summit-2023-key-highlights/

In June, I returned to HEC Paris to join the current cohort of the Executive MSc in Change Leadership for a five-day Group Dynamics workshop facilitated by Debra Noumair of Columbia University. Based on the Tavistock Group Relations approach, this experiential program is exhausting and transformational. I learned a lot about how in group situations we bring our anxieties into the room and behave irrationally. An awareness of the roles and behaviors we bring to groups can help us make sense of what is happening and become more effective in collective action. https://www.hec.edu/en/executive-education/executive-masters/executive-msc-change-leadership#programme

Also in June, I joined the Safety working group at the Coalition for Health AI (CHAI™), a community of academic health systems, organizations, and expert practitioners of artificial intelligence (AI) and data science. These members have come together to harmonize standards and reporting for health AI and educate end-users on how to evaluate these technologies to drive their adoption. Our mission is to provide guidelines regarding an ever-evolving landscape of health AI tools to ensure high quality care, increase credibility amongst users, and meet health care needs. I’m one of several “public” contributors. I’m enjoying thinking about how the principles of safety and risk that I learned working at Consumer Reports can be applied to this effort and offering recommendations around public engagement. https://www.coalitionforhealthai.org/

In July, I participated in a gathering of leaders focused on wellbeing in social change education. Hosted by The Wellbeing Project in beautiful Caux, Switzerland, participants from around the world exchanged knowledge and ideas to catalyze a culture of inner wellbeing for all changemakers. The community is focused on strengthening the research case for inner wellbeing at the heart of social change, accelerating the growth of wellbeing initiatives around the world, exploring the intersection of inner, organizational, societal and planetary wellbeing, and mainstreaming a wellbeing and social change narrative. My working group has been focused on identifying and addressing institutional barriers to wellbeing. We’re now discussing how to help students identify a vocation at the intersection of individual passions, strengths, and the world’s needs. And we’re listening to youth who have a vision for reinventing education to align with the Sustainable Development Goals. https://wellbeing-project.org/

In late July, I was invited to the ABIM Foundation Forum to join leaders from across health care to learn more about historical causes of mistrust and skepticism of science, to develop a deeper understanding of the connection between mistrust and misinformation, and to identify strategies that stakeholders across the system could employ to build trustworthiness and reduce the impact of medical misinformation. During three days of meetings, participants heard from a range of experts and worked together to develop new ideas for addressing the lack of trust that has undermined American medicine and the clinician-patient relationship. The Forum conversations enriched my thinking about how I can help health leaders reflect on trust and collaborate with the Foundation’s Building Trust Patient Advisory Board to advocate for more trustworthy relationships between patients and health systems. https://abimfoundation.org/what-we-do/abim-foundation-forum/2023-reframing-trust-a-path-to-address-misinformation

In September, I was honored to begin a second academic year as Executive in Residence at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. I just returned home from an inspirational community convening in Oxford with the Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship, where I hope to focus much of my residency as an academic practitioner, exchanging insights about social innovation in health and social impact leadership with the research community and sharing experiences on collaborative leadership and the centering of wellbeing in the social change community with the new cohort of emerging social impact leaders at the Skoll Impact Lab. https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/research/centres-and-initiatives/skoll-centre-social-entrepreneurship

Finally, as a Public Member of the Board of Directors of ABMS (the American Board of Medical Specialties), I’ve been busy bringing a public voice to conversations about the value of board certification to patients and the public and helping the boards community in its work to combat misinformation in medicine and science and address threats to the freedom of physicians to practice medicine according to the highest standards of their specialty without interference. I will continue to make the case for the public accountability of physicians while defending their right to perform abortion care and offer evidence-based care to transgender patients. I wrote about these issues in this commentary piece: https://buildingtrust.org/2023/01/why-standards-matter/#:~:text=Tara%20Montgomery%20is%20Founder%20%26%20Principal,American%20Board%20of%20Medical%20Specialties.

So how does this all fit together? Almost seven years ago when I decided to start Civic Health Partners, I wanted to help leaders to connect the dots between healthy people and healthy democracies and in the process, champion civic engagement in solutions to help all of us thrive. I believed that conversations about trust were vital and that these conversations needed to include perspectives from patients, citizens, people in leadership positions, and experts across the domains of health, education, technology, and social change. In my work over the summer, I’ve felt like an ambassador moving between these worlds and translating knowledge to help generate new insights and identify shared goals and stories. As all of us navigate the fourth year of a devastating pandemic and its accompanying effects, fueled by misinformation and social inequity, I sense that a lot of people aren’t really thriving. The communities I work in want to talk more—and do more–about wellbeing. The mantra “Wellbeing Inspires Welldoing” resonates. In the coming months, as I engage with leaders about building cultures of trust, I will be talking to them about building a culture of social, emotional, and physical wellbeing at the same time. 

The summer has refreshed my sense of purpose and sparked new ideas for how I can use my strengths as an accredited coach and change agent to help purpose-driven organizations thrive. I plan to join forces with other coaches I admire to grow my business as an executive coach. I want to onboard new clients who are curious about the topics mentioned above or who want to explore their own ways to have impact grounded in trust, safety, and wellbeing. If you want to talk about working together, please reach out

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