“Never be threatened by brilliant people,” CHOC CEO says

By Mariah Casteneda

“A leader should have integrity,” Kimberly Cripe, the winner of Orange County’s most Trustworthy Leader said. “Not only do children demonstrate integrity, they demand it.”

The Paul Merage School of Business welcomed the Orange County Children’s Hospital’s CEO, Kimberly Cripe on Wednesday, Nov. 12 to UC Irvine. Cripe, a CEO with over 20 years experience in leadership roles offered advice to attendees.
Cripe encouraged future business leaders to surround themselves with people who will challenge and improve ideas. “Never be threatened by the brilliant people that surround you,” said Cripe.

In her own life, she fears the moments when leaders all agree with one another at a meeting or worse agree with her. Cripes explained that in situations where an idea is not challenged, growth cannot happen and small detail can be left unresolved. Constructive criticism, on the other hand, allows small and large problems to be addressed and fixed.

She emphasized the importance for the next generation of business leaders to be open to disagreements and criticism in the business because, these can lead to the resolution of issues and problems in a system.

Leaders should also be able to stand firm for what they believe to be right, according to Cripe. Authenticity, in her words, is imperative to one’s own ability to make the hard calls. Choosing right decision will sometimes times be unpopular and “you might find yourself eating at a cafeteria by yourself, but making a choice in the favor the future will pay off,” said Cripe.

Cripe also explained to attendees the importance of integrity in a leadership position. She explained that integrity meant being someone others could trust. This will help the future business leaders of America build long lasting and fruitful partnerships like her partnership with HOAG Hospital. Cripe spoke about the importance of vision and creativity. “[Vision] is not seeing things for what they are, but what they can be.”

Creativity is creating the concepts to make a vision a reality, according to Cripe. Both creativity and vision and are needed to tackle problems that can arise in a business. During the recession in 2008, she used this vision to help with a fundraising campaign which raised $174 million dollars for CHOC Hospital. She said about the campaign that part of her efforts involved “getting the community to rally” by telling a compelling story. The money raised allotted the constructed of a seven story patient care tower at the main hospital, including a trauma center and emergency room.

As for the future, Cripe wants to see today’s students to find meaningful work and for them to “to understand what mark they want to make on the world.”