Kathy Golovan’s career at Medical Mutual of Ohio turned unexpectedly after Rick Chiricosta became CEO of the company in 2009 – and she hasn’t stopped spinning since.
In 2009, Golovan, a tax lawyer, had worked at Medical Mutual for approximately 10 years. Initially, she was a tax coordinator and Chiricosta, who always worked his way up the ranks, was her supervisor.
From the start, Golovan told Chiricosta that she wanted extensive experience in various departments of the company. Chiricosta has never forgotten this, even after the two separate paths within the company. Golovan eventually joined the legal department and was appointed director of legal affairs.
After being appointed CEO, Chiricosta remembered Golovan’s talent and career aspirations. He envisioned a new role for her – Vice President and Auditor General.
“I stood up for Kathy, but she was heavily suppressed by our board,” Chiricosta said. “She’s a lawyer, not a certified public accountant. But I knew she was capable of taking complicated problems and solving them.
Golovan impressed the board and won the job, but didn’t stand still. She became Chief Information Officer in 2012 and is today Executive Vice President and Chief Health Officer, ensuring that Medical Mutual clients receive quality health care. Each change of position was Chiricosta’s idea.
“I have to admit I said, ‘Are you sure? “More than a few times when the next opportunity presented itself,” Golovan said. “But Rick’s confidence in me and his willingness to take the risk of hiring non-traditional people in very different fields gave me the opportunity to have a diverse career path that I loved.”
As CEO, Chiricosta trusted several women from Medical Mutual. Of nine executive and senior vice presidents reporting directly to him, five are women, and later this year the number will likely increase to six. All but one were placed in the management team by Chiricosta.
“We certainly didn’t plan it that way,” says Chiricosta. “I never accepted the job with that in mind. We have always used women in leadership roles. At the time, the best person for these jobs happened to be a woman. “
Here are the other female members of the Medical Mutual leadership team:
Steffany Larkins, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. Like Golovan, Larkins joined the company in 1998 and has gained extensive management experience. His titles have included Director of General Accounting, Director of Financial Reporting and Vice President and Corporate Controller, and Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff.
As Director of Marketing, Larkins is responsible for sales, underwriting and customer relations.
“We give prices and rates to human resources managers, controllers and small business owners, and they want to make sure we understand how important health insurance costs are to them,” Larkins said. . “If the prices go up, they want someone to tell them why.”
Sue Tyler, Executive Vice President and Director of Experience. A member of the management team for 15 years, Tyler ensures that clients have positive experiences with Medical Mutual.
“We used to worry about the number of calls our employees took in a day,” explains Chiricosta. “Now we’re not so concerned with the call quota, but have we helped people? “
Tyler says she came up with the title of “Experiment Leader”.
“The rebranding as ‘customer experience’ has inspired a renewed focus on the customer and results instead of an internal focus on tasks and transactions,” said Tyler.
Dr Tere Koenig, EVP and Chief Medical Officer. Koenig ensures that customers receive the medical treatment they need in the most cost-effective way possible.
Since Chiricosta hired Koenig in 2015, she has helped the company expand its scope from handling claims to reducing costs and achieving better medical outcomes.
“It’s a whole different mindset,” says Chiricosta. “What’s the best way to treat this person, not just by numbers?” It helps us rethink the way we contract with suppliers and handle complaints.
Patricia Decensi, SVP, General Counsel, Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer. Decensi, hired in 1990, rose through the ranks of the legal department she heads today.
“She’s a good lawyer, but she also understands our job,” says Chiricosta. “It helps us to do business, does not prevent us from doing business.”
Decensi says Chiricosta respects its staff and their advice, and enjoys a heated debate.
“He’s open to hearing other opinions and isn’t shy about sharing his, so you know where you stand with Rick,” Decensi says.
Andrea Hogben, Senior Vice President of Strategic Communications. Chiricosta hired Hogben in 2016, having worked in sales and marketing for over 20 years at The simple merchant. She was also president of The simple merchant– affiliate Northeast Ohio Media Group, now called Advance Ohio.
At Medical Mutual, Hogben’s responsibilities include marketing, advertising and public relations. She will join the management team in August when Executive Vice President Jared Chaney retires and is expected to become Director of Communications shortly thereafter.
“Andrea really rolled up her sleeves early on and made an impact,” says Chiricosta. “She’s not a shrinking violet, and that helps.”
Chiricosta says that while Medical Mutual turns 83 in 2017 and remains a traditional company in many ways, there are many areas that show it is a progressive company too. “I think these talented women prove it,” he says.