OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center’s Erin Rogers

Nov. 20—The new interim president at Urbana’s OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center has picked up pointers from a litany of leaders over the years — some world-renowned, others she’s fortunate to have called co-workers.

But if she had to pick one boss whose style she strives to lead like more than any other, put ERIN ROGERS down for our 16th president.

“The professional role model that stands out to me is Abraham Lincoln,” she says. “He was a fair, visionary leader, engaged with his constituents and has left us with sage advice for making good decisions.”

Like Honest Abe, Rogers’ central Illinois ties run deep — she’s a Bloomington resident and Normal University High alumna with a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Illinois State and a second master’s from the University of Illinois.

She and Shilo, her husband of 25 years, have two adult children (Braden and Tessa) and two furry ones (Joplin the dog and Macy the cat).

Rogers, who was in year 4 as OSF’s regional director of business development when she was tabbed to take over for retiring President Dr. Jared Rogers (no relation), took time out to answer questions from in the 155th installment of our weekly speed read spotlighting leaders of organizations big and small.

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I can’t live without my … family. My husband and two children, as well as my new grandson, are my world.

I’m frugal in that … I really dislike wasting food. Now that our kids are out of the house, cooking for two has been a challenge. I’m always trying to right-size my produce purchases to prevent waste.

The hardest thing about being a leader is … leaders are always balancing numerous challenges that vary by the day. That said, I believe on an ongoing basis, one of the most difficult things to do is to manage time in a way that ensures appropriate attention is given to long-term objectives that are critical for future success, while at the same time influencing a positive organizational culture and caring for people.

Leaders must build trust and mutual respect to support team cohesion and organizational success.

My single favorite moment of all-time in this job was … the 100th anniversary celebration for OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center with Bishop Louis Tylka, our sisters and committed volunteers in our community. I loved seeing the community come together to celebrate this hospital providing 100 years of care in Urbana.

I also appreciate any opportunity to speak to — and gain feedback from — our OSF mission partners (employees) at the medical center. They are truly doing God’s work, and their engagement and commitment to our mission and ministry mean so much to me.

The three adjectives I hope my employees would use to describe me are … approachable, accountable and pioneering.

On my office walls, you’ll find … photos of my family, a crucifix, a whiteboard, Abe Lincoln quotes, a clock and a hand-drawn sketch of our medical center.

My philosophy on meetings is … they are the structured way in which teams advance objectives. I believe meetings must be meaningful, intentional and must focus on driving organizational goals and objectives.

At OSF, that means our meetings focus on quality patient care and experience, the experience of our workforce and other key success factors.

My one unbreakable rule of the workplace is … always, always do what is right. Let our mission of serving with the greatest care and love guide action.

I wind down after work by … going for a walk or bike ride when the weather is nice, having dinner with family and friends or reading a few chapters of a good book.

The last luxury in which I indulged was … a trip to Cabo San Lucas with my husband to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It’s been one of our favorite destinations for years.

My other indulgence is really cute shoes.

The most beneficial college class I took was … Strategies for Negotiation during my Illinois State University executive MBA program. I’ve always appreciated working with people to identify collaborative opportunities that enable all parties to feel as though they are getting what they need to be successful.

The course provided me with some structure for the process that I have found to be beneficial for both preparation and discussion.

I’m up and at ’em every day by … typically 5 or 5:30 but that really depends on the day and when meetings start. I give myself time most mornings for some exercise.

My exercise routine consists of … rotating through the elliptical, weights, yoga and sometimes exercise classes throughout the week. I also enjoy walking my dog, hiking and bike riding on summer evenings.

As far as the worst job I ever had goes … I’ve always enjoyed working, and I’ve had several jobs. As a college student, though, I was a waitress in a higher-end restaurant with wine lists and multiple courses.

Growing up, we didn’t eat out much and I had no exposure to the processes associated with dinner courses. It was a struggle. I switched to serving lunches and my experience — and performance — improved immensely.

The impact of the pandemic has … changed and evolved; however, overall, I would say it has been a 10 out of 10 (on the severity scale). We know it’s been 100 years since the last life-altering, widespread pandemic. As a community and across the globe, we lost friends and family members, businesses closed, we spent months on lockdown and changed how and where we worked.

Professionals in numerous fields worked tirelessly to keep up with daily changes in recommendations to serve safely, including health care. Scientists developed a vaccine in record time to reduce the impact of the illness and increase our likelihood of survival. And our community rallied its support and recognition for health care workers during the most difficult times.

While the most challenging part of the pandemic is behind us, we cannot become complacent. While vaccinated individuals have less severe responses to COVID than those who are unvaccinated, the numbers do continue to climb as we enter cold and flu season.

Remembering all the precautions we learned will be important as we continue to live with COVID-19 variants as a part of the landscape of seasonal illnesses.