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Published on April 29, 2021

Cagle Gives National Audience Secret to Building Diverse Leadership

It began with what she learned from a doctor when she was three.

Cone Health Chief Operating Officer Mary Jo Cagle, MD, has a simple way to bring more diverse talent into health care leadership roles. “Look and see who is being successful where they are, getting things done, and invite them in,” says Cagle. The invitation is an approach she uses to build diversity at Cone Health.

Dr. Cagle made her remarks in The Academy Table podcast , How to Invite Diverse Talent to Lead. (Available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify.) The concept clicked for Dr. Cagle when she visited a doctor as a 3-year-old. Dr. Cagle told the physician that she planned to be a doctor. “He picked me up. And he said, ‘Well, let’s talk about what you’re going to need to do if you’re going to be a doctor when you grow up,’” Dr. Cagle recalls.

That invitation stuck with Dr. Cagle. She went on to graduate medical school and helped build a large, successful OB/Gyn practice at a time when few women led practices. She later became a health care administrator because, Dr. Cagle says, other leaders saw potential in her and invited her in.

That’s a philosophy Dr. Cagle carries today. She told the podcast audience that health care is simply too hard to leave anyone out. “And when we eliminate 50% of the talent to be considered, we’re robbing ourselves of some of the smartest people available,” Dr. Cagle says. “I just want the best talent in the room.”

On the podcast, Dr. Cagle also talks about supporting diverse leaders and Cone Health’s work on reconciling its history around race with the community.

The Academy is a member-based organization that brings together health systems and related organizations to discuss shared issues.

S2:Ep01: How to Invite Diverse Talent to Lead, featuring Mary Jo Cagle, M.D. | The Academy Table with Renee DeSilva