Top Workplaces Top CEOs Share What Makes Their Leadership Success

CEOs don’t need to become BFFs with their employees, but it certainly helps if they’re BBFs – best bosses forever.

These senior executives have apparently found ways to do this – by leading, listening to, respecting, supporting, appreciating and valuing their workers.

They were selected by Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm and Salt Lake Tribune Top Workplaces partner, to receive leadership awards for large, medium and small businesses.

The 2022 winners are:

• Dan Burton, CEO of Health Catalyst, a healthcare analytics and data company in southern Jordan (now a three-time winner).

• Steve Sonnenberg, CEO of Awardco, a Lindon software provider for employee recognition efforts.

• Carrie Romano, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area, a Salt Lake City facility that helps families with critically ill or injured children.

Here’s what each leader had to say about their leadership style, how they’re trying to improve, and what they hope to leave as a legacy for their organization.

Dan Burton, CEO of Health Catalyst

(Health Catalyst) Dan Burton, CEO of Health Catalyst.

What do you think makes your leadership style successful?

At Health Catalyst, we strive to be principle-centered in our leadership, consistently applying timeless principles, which leads to positive results in any situation in which these principles are applied. These principles include love or respect for each member of the team, recognizing their immeasurable value; humility and attentive and active listening with each member of the team; and servant-leadership, recognizing that leaders must be effective servants and supporters of each team member. We did not invent these principles, but have benefited greatly when we apply them.

What would you like to accomplish during your tenure?

I hope every day of my tenure as CEO – looking back 11 years and looking forward in the months and years to come – that our company is still focused and dedicated to our mission, and having built a company with customer relationships that produce financial strength, scalability and sustainability, and that we continue to be the best place to work with engaging team members at the forefront of the industry.

Is there a leadership skill you are still trying to master?

I can always refine and develop greater humility and love for my teammates. I will never finish developing these kinds of characteristics.

Steve Sonnenberg, CEO of Awardco

(Awardco) Steve Sonnenberg, CEO of Awardco

What do you think makes your leadership style successful?

Creating an authentic connection, overcoming challenges and continuously innovating have greatly contributed to Awardco’s success. I enjoy being personally involved in the ongoing work – from conducting sales calls to meeting with my employees to get to know them on a one-to-one basis. I recognize that surrounding myself with people whose strengths are my weaknesses plays a major role in creating a culture of success.

The very idea of ​​Awardco was born out of a challenge that I recognized. I think taking on challenges is the best way to create something that will truly solve a problem for people. I also think having a mindset that expects change and innovation is really important. Your first iteration will never be perfect. In fact, none of them will. Create something, release it, then keep improving it.

What would you like to accomplish during your tenure?

Recognizing good is one of Awardco’s values ​​for a reason. I am passionate about recognizing, creating and sharing the good in all aspects of life, and I want to have a positive impact on the lives of my employees and customers. Ultimately, I want to make the world a more supportive and caring place through the technology we’ve created.

Is there a leadership skill you are still trying to master?

Pivoting quickly is the name of the game in technology, and it’s never easy, especially if you have a particular idea of ​​how something should turn out. I’m improving and proud to move forward, but it’s a conscious decision I have to continually make in this ever-changing industry.

Carrie Romano, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities in the Intermountain area

(Ronald McDonald House Charities) Carrie Romano, President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area

What do you think makes your leadership style successful?

My leadership style is driven by purpose and people, and I love my job. Ronald McDonald House Charities, Intermountain Area is a non-profit charitable organization that provides families of pediatric patients with very real, practical support and compassionate care. We are a mission-based company. Our mission inspires me every day to become a more fearless and passionate leader. Our team is our most valuable asset and I’ve kind of surrounded myself with a truly exceptional team of professionals and volunteers. Their leadership and hard work inspires me to be a more authentic and effective leader. I strive for a leadership style that is both courageous and vulnerable. I love working alongside a team of mission-driven people to achieve big, ambitious goals, and I’m not afraid to fail. I believe that leadership is ultimately a support function. My job, as a leader, is to inspire, support and develop the potential of the wonderfully diverse and gifted people around me – to create more mission and better mission.

What would you like to accomplish during your tenure?

We are working hard to increase the impact of our mission to serve thousands more families with hospitalized children. We are expanding our professional team with the addition of three new bed and breakfasts to our Ronald McDonald House and three new Ronald McDonald Hospital Family Room programs (with nine combined overnight rooms). We are also working to improve the quality of support we can provide to families of patients with newly staffed positions to provide skilled mental health and bereavement support, and connect families to needed resources. As we evolve [up] our organization, I would like to gain the philanthropic support to keep and grow the strong team we have. During my tenure, I hope to have helped build a strong balance sheet and a mission-driven culture of excellence, inclusion and compassion. In the end, I’d like to leave it better than I found it, which each of us can do.

Is there a leadership skill you are still trying to master?

Yes! There are so many leadership skills that I strive to master. Leading in a hybrid work environment has created so many new challenges and opportunities. We do most of our work (and charitable work) in person. I don’t yet know how to maximize technology to advance our mission. I’m still learning which meetings are more effective in person, virtual or hybrid. On a personal level, the leadership qualities I am currently working on are patience, humility, listening and time management. It’s a journey.

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