August 17, 2017 | (16) Comments

“We lead in our professional lives and in our personal lives.”

Leadership Maxim No. 3 is one of my favorites because it exemplifies what a true leader is  ̶  someone who leads not only at work but, even more importantly, at home.

See I don’t believe you can compartmentalize leadership. Of course we need effective leaders at work, but we also need people who lead at home, where it often matters the most. I’ve found the most valuable leaders are those who are leading in their families, within other organizations and in their communities. They are the people making a sincere and dedicated effort to have a consistent and positive impact on the people and the world around them. In turn, they bring that same sincerity and compassion to Texas Children’s. And that’s what makes the best leaders.

Deborah Parrott, a West Campus nurse at the Cancer and Hematology Centers, is a perfect example of someone who goes above and beyond at work and at home. Deborah’s co-workers say she always goes the extra mile for her patients and for her team, providing comfort and support or an encouraging smile at just the right time. These small things go a long way in creating a positive experience for our patients, their families and Deborah’s colleagues. Deborah is also a part of “West Campus Lead,” a year-long program that helps employees hone leadership skills. She applied for the program to build her confidence and expand her ability to impact others.

She demonstrates this same passion and initiative in her community. After work, Deborah pours her energy into her family and several volunteer efforts, such as fundraising for The Periwinkle Foundation, which provides support to patients and families at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. She participates in the Foundation’s Cycle for Life and its annual kickball tournament. Deborah also rides in the MS150, which raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

But her most beloved volunteer effort involves The Periwinkle Foundation’s Camp YOLO (You Only Live Once), a camp dedicated to Texas Children’s teen patients who are struggling with adolescence and life threatening illnesses. Deborah has volunteered at Camp YOLO since 2006, her most recent post being a cooking instructor. Over the years, she has witnessed the positive healing power the camp has on young people, and she says her involvement in Camp YOLO and her job at Texas Children’s are two of the biggest blessings in her life.

Deborah’s leadership philosophy is: “We’re all in this together. We all have the power to make a difference no matter where we are and what we are doing.” I couldn’t agree more and am truly honored to have Deborah and the countless others who are dedicated to leadership at work and in their personal lives as members of our Texas Children’s family.

I’d like to hear from you … how do you lead at home and in your community?

Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!

Over the next four weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will highlight employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section of the blog post. 

In September, the Corporate Communications team will collect all of your comments and draw the names of 100 commenters to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.

So make sure you respond to the question at the end of

Mr. Wallace’s blog post to be entered to win!

Click here to watch a video about how Texas Children’s and the Houston Texans are leading in patient care and on the football field every single day.

June 28, 2017 | (8) Comments

Our U.S. News & World Report rankings were released yesterday, and I’m proud to say that Texas Children’s again made an impressive showing in this annual survey. Eight of our pediatric subspecialities are ranked in the top 10, and the other two are very close and steadily climbing. Most exciting, however, is that we have again had another specialty rise to the very top spot – Texas Children’s is now ranked No. 1 in the nation in cardiology and heart surgery.

This is pretty amazing, and I’m thrilled to celebrate this tremendous accomplishment with the entire leadership team, staff and employees at Texas Children’s Heart Center. The Heart Center has held the No. 2 spot on the U.S .News list for the past two years and had consistently been ranked among the top pediatric heart programs since the pediatric subspecialty rankings began in 2008. This year, the Heart Center steps into the No. 1 spot, surpassing Boston Children’s Hospital, which had held the top ranking in this subspeciality for the past 19 years.

The Heart Center’s accomplishment is built on a rich history of expert and innovative pediatric heart care, exceptional leadership, partnership and focus on doing what’s best for our patients. Led by the late Drs. Denton Cooley and Dan McNamara, Texas Children’s Hospital started performing heart surgery on children in 1956. Dr. Cooley, a pioneer heart surgeon, and Dr. McNamara, a patriarch of pediatric cardiology, were among the first to demonstrate that small children could safely undergo heart surgery.

Since then, the Heart Center has continued to grow, push the envelope and pave the way to become a highly sought and respected center of excellence. Much as it was in the beginning, the Heart Center today is led and staffed by world-renowned pediatric cardiologists and surgeons: Surgeon-In-Chief and Chief of Congenital Heart Surgery Dr. Charles Fraser Jr., Chief of Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny, Chief of Cardiovascular Anesthesia Dr. Emad Mossad, Chief of Critical Care Dr. Lara Shekerdemian and Anesthesiologist-In-Chief Dr. Dean Andropoulos. It is because of their leadership that the entire Heart Center team remains dedicated to developing innovative cardiac interventions and surgical treatment options to treat the tens of thousands of children with heart defects who seek our care annually.

Our U.S. News rankings are a testament to the amazing leadership we have here at Texas Children’s. This recognition is not just about any one person being exceptional. This is about each and every member of the team operating at a level that is second to none. You know one of my maxims is “Leadership applies to everyone.” Everyone is a leader at Texas Children’s. This recognition is about the leadership that is demonstrated by everyone from the frontline to the executive team every single day. I know that a big part of our success is due to our culture of exellence, which challenges each of us to be our best, to think creatively and, most importantly, to consistently exceed our patients’ expectations.

Congratulations Texas Children’s Heart Center. We are beyond proud of your accomplishments.

Watch this video to see and hear people’s reactions when they learned about Texas Children’s No. 1 ranking in cardiology and heart surgery.

May 30, 2017 | (16) Comments

Today, I am wishing a long-time Texas Children’s employee farewell as she embarks on her next amazing chapter. Dace Reinholds, Director of Corporate Governance, is retiring after more than two decades of dedicated service to Texas Children’s.

Dace started at Texas Children’s Hospital in October 1990, some 26 years and seven months ago. When she arrived, we still just had one building – the seven-floor, 350,000 square-foot Abercrombie Building. Since then, Dace has helped us navigate more than 50 corporate organizational structures and restructures. As the Director of Corporate Governance, Dace develops and implements the governance policies, processes and procedures, which are basically the framework by which we operate.

In her role, she works closely with Texas Children’s Board of Trustees, the governing body of the organization. In the past 26 years, Dace has worked with 13 Board chairs, 13 Board presidents and an untold number of Board committee chairs. She has been a huge part of all of our growth and success. And she has been a big part of my success as well. Because of her insight, intuition, and deep understanding of our mission, Dace has always worked to ensure that our governance structure is in step with – and even ahead of – where it needs to be to support our next strategic move. Having thoughtful, proactive governance is critical to the success of a rapidly growing organization like Texas Children’s. And Dace has been integral to every single thing that the Board, leadership team and I have done during the past 26 years.

One of the contributions that I’m particularly appreciative of is the work Dace did with writer Betsey Parrish on Legacy: 50 Years of Loving Care, Texas Children’s Hospital. This book was published to celebrate Texas Children’s history on our 50th anniversary. Dace and Betsey worked on the book for nearly two years. Betsey was the author, but the book simply would not have happened without Dace. She was really the catalyst that pulled all of the ideas and information together, which was so important to documenting and sharing the incredible story of Texas Children’s Hospital. I will be forever grateful for her role in bringing this book to life.

I know that I speak for many when I say we are going to miss Dace, but no one will miss her more than I will. Thank you, Dace, for a job very well done. We are all wishing you a happy, blessed and adventurous retirement.

Board of Trustees Resolution presented to Dace Reinholds on May 8, 2017:

WHEREAS, since joining Texas Children’s Hospital in October 1990, Dace Reinholds has given generously of her time, providing invaluable counsel and unparalleled support to the organization’s mission and continued success;

WHEREAS, Dace, having served as Director of Corporate Governance and Corporate Secretary for Texas Children’s; Assistant Secretary of the Board of Trustees, and Assistant Secretary of each corporate Board of Directors, has imparted the value of quality governance and fiscal responsibility and impacted the success of the Board and overall performance of the organization;

WHEREAS, she spearheaded development of the corporate structure, from the Texas Children’s Hospital Integrated Delivery System to the current Texas Children’s corporate structure approved by the Board of Trustees in 2011;

WHEREAS, Dace has been an impactful, larger-than-life and resilient force behind Texas Children’s historic openings and expansions, including those of:

The West Tower;

The Mark A. Wallace Tower;

The Feigin Center;

The Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute;

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus;

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women;

And Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands;

WHEREAS, she has coordinated nearly 2,000 meetings of the Board of Trustees, Board Committee and Corporate Board, has written more than 100 Board of Trustees’ resolutions of appreciation and fulfilled innumerable other behind-the-scenes, yet critical needs;

WHEREAS, Dace is the trusted confidant, friend, counsel and right hand of Mark Wallace, a devoted and indispensable liaison to the Board, a generous advocate and ambassador for the hospital in the community, and an insightful, invaluable source of institutional knowledge to countless others throughout Texas Children’s;

IT IS NOW, THEREFORE, RESOLVED, that in recognition and honor of her 26 years of service and dedication to Texas Children’s, the members of the Board of Trustees of Texas Children’s express their deepest gratitude and sincere appreciation to Dace Reinholds for her tireless and continued commitment to the organization and the families we serve.

UNANIMOUSLY adopted this 4th day of May, 2017.

March 5, 2017 | (21) Comments

There are some things you simply never tire of. For me, one of them is driving into work each morning. I never cease to be both amazed and appreciative when I approach the campus and I see the gleaming pink granite of our Texas Children’s buildings.

Even after all these years, I can still so easily picture where we began. When I came to Texas Children’s Hospital in 1989, we only had the seven-floor Abercrombie Building. We had a great Board – some of those same members are still on the Board today. We had talented physicians and nurses, and the best employees. When I was recruited, the Board convinced me that we could do something incredible here. And optimist that I am, I believed that as well.

I would look at the unassuming structure that was Texas Children’s at the time, and I dreamed beyond those walls and the seventh floor. I was convinced and often spoke of the preeminent children’s hospital we would someday become. But even I could never have imagined anything like what Texas Children’s is today. We dream big here, and yet we keep finding ways to exceed our imaginations.

I have continued to think about that since the Board surprised me with last week’s announcement about the renaming of the Clinical Care Tower. I love the clinical building especially because of the story behind the purchase. As some of you might know, it sits on a piece of property called the S Lot, which is owned by the Texas Medical Center. When we were expanding the West Tower and building the new clinical building, we had to go to TMC President Dr. Richard Wainerdi to get the rights to build on the S Lot.

Board member Ben Brollier and I met with Dr. Wainerdi and laid out a comprehensive plan for the West Tower and new clinical care building. And it was pretty ambitious – at the time, the project was one of the nation’s largest building projects for a health care organization. When we started to discuss the cost of the purchase. Dr. Wainerdi said, “Mark, how about if we do a long-term land lease? How about 199 years for $1 a year?” Wow. I grabbed my checkbook and wrote the check right then and there.

I am convinced that Dr. Wainerdi was a believer like us – he could see our dream. We have been blessed with so many moments, supporters and believers like that. Board members, donors, staff and employees who embody and take ownership of our mission and find new ways daily to help Texas Children’s be better than the day before. I know I will always think of that when I see the newly named tower. I will be reminded that we did it – you and I, the Board. We did it, Texas Children’s. And the very best part, though, is that we are still doing it, still imagining and still exceeding.

Thank you. Not just for the name on the building, but for the journey behind it. I am so humbled, and I cannot adequately put into words just how much this means to me. This gift is a symbol of our success. Together, we have done amazing things, and we have done them because 27 years later, we still have a great Board, talented physicians and nurses, and the world’s best employees. And I think we keep growing because we simply cannot contain the boundless dreams and possibilities of Texas Children’s.

Click here for a video of last week’s surprise announcement.