Ten years ago, Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ascension, made a commitment to personally prioritize the development and succession planning of the next generation of leaders. In a recent column for Becker's Hospital Review, he discusses how Ascension is growing and shaping healthcare leaders of tomorrow and challenges his colleagues across the healthcare landscape to do the same.

"Just as our vision calls us to ensure service that responds to the needs of individuals throughout their lives, we recognize that we must also attend to the changing needs of our associates as they grow and develop in their professional and personal lives," Tony says.

Tony describes the Ascension Leadership Academy curriculum, which includes a visit to "lean" startup organizations in Silicon Valley to inform the design, testing and implementation of academy members' innovative pilot projects. They also visit Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and form valuable relationships with legislators from their own communities as they advocate for policy change. In addition, they spend time in solidarity with those who are poor and most vulnerable, engaging them on a personal level to better understand the unique challenges of those Ascension is called to serve every day.

"Through our Ascension Leader Institute, we are creating a platform of integrated programs and resources that combine formative development with practical and experiential learning," Tony says. "While classroom and online instruction are foundational in any learning platform, we believe that meaningful immersion experiences that build community, test assumptions, reinforce applied theories and encourage self-discovery are critical in the formation of leaders."

Tony's vision for leadership development encompasses leaders at all levels. In the Becker's article, Tony says he spends a significant portion of his time – 30 percent – dedicated to the spiritual formation, leadership development, personal energy management and talent stewardship of Ascension's 150,000 associates.

He says it's crucial to empower the leaders of tomorrow to grow a vibrant healthcare industry and transform care delivery, for the benefit of U.S. healthcare today and for generations to come.

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