AOPO Helps Develop Emerging Leaders in Organ Donation and Transplantation

We’ve taken another step toward our commitment to help grow the number of diverse leaders in the organ donation community. The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) launched its first Leadership Development Summit in October. The Summit is an educational program designed to develop future leaders and increase diversity among senior leadership in organ procurement organizations (OPOs). Reaching our 50K annual organ transplants goal means we need to provide opportunities for new and up-and-coming leaders to help improve the organ transplantation system, ensuring that transplants and donations reflect our nation’s diverse makeup. Five core areas of focus were covered in the Summit.

Leadership Development

Dennis Wagner, Principle and Managing Director at Yes and Leadership LLC, hosted a fascinating presentation on what leaders can do to experience greater effectiveness in their roles using leadership principles and mindsets that help them thrive. He shared how applying these approaches can lead to improving organ donation and transplantation. One point I walked away with was Dennis’s quote, “The world turns when we do three things – make commitments, deliver on commitments we make, and secure commitments from others.” This is an important mindset for leaders, especially in the highly interconnected and collaborative donation and transplantation system.

Good Governance & Strategic Planning
Current OPO leaders discussed how to structure organizations for success by sharing strategies to create a climate of trust and candor around critical issues. Attendees learned that part of good governance is developing a strategic plan with meaningful goals. To be successful they learned how to build a comprehensive model of strategic planning to ensure resources are aligned with organizational goals.

Influencing Stakeholders
Donation happens through partnership. Experts discussed the importance of building relationships at all levels of the organ donation process from hospitals, to transplant centers, to align OPOs for the best possible success in facilitating the donation process. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)/United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) Interim CEO Maureen McBride discussed the history of the two organizations, the comprehensive policy development process, and how OPO leaders can get involved in policy making.

Leading with an Inclusive Mindset
AOPO’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant Donyale Padgette and colleagues discussed ways OPO leaders can create a more inclusive culture for their organizations and teams. The workshop highlighted the importance of mentoring and sponsoring others to help groom diverse leaders and provide opportunities for career growth. Participants also learned recruitment strategies to ensure greater diversity in their organization and among board of directors. The conversation pointed to the importance of our AOPO DEI assessment tool as a means to get started in identifying areas for improvement.

Multiple sessions focused on the administrative and operational competencies needed to lead an OPO. Experts discussed budget and finances associated with organ donation and transplantation, and human resource laws to incorporate into organizational practices.

In addition, AOPO hosted a Financial Management Meeting for members to collaborate on and learn about the regulatory landscape and new financial models for organ donation and transplantation. Presenters reviewed recently enacted regulations and questions raised by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in its requests for information. Also discussed was the potential impact in the upcoming CMS OPPS proposed rule which makes significant changes to organ acquisition payment policies.

Follow-up Resources
To ensure that our attendees walked away with the resources they needed to continue their professional growth, they received a Leadership Toolkit, which shares articles, books, podcasts, and videos on leadership development.

Other resources include “The Five Dimensions of Leadership,” an article by Mark Abramson and John Scanlon discussing hierarchical, subordinate, collegial, public and process leadership, as well as access to the insightful video, “What is Your Leadership Style?”, where current OPO CEOs share how they approach leading successful teams. Coming next year, look for our Leadership Development webinar series – the first one taking place on January 18th at 3:00 pm ET [register], with others to follow.

Our Leadership Development Summit is one more avenue to help us move toward a more diversified organ procurement and transplantation community. I look forward to continuing this important effort.

Steve Miller, MBA, CAE

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