Reflections on 25 Years of Leading and Living with Authenticity

Dobies Healthcare Group 25 Year Anniversary logoDobies Healthcare Group started in 1992 with the goal of creating healthier brands for our clients. Twenty-five years later, we are proud to serve as a thought leader and trusted strategic consult in the ever-changing healthcare environment.

Over the years, I have identified attributes that have allowed our firm to succeed and flourish. I have come to realize that these are integral not only to leading a successful business, but also to living a fulfilling and authentic life. As a business owner, I have found authenticity—that space where our words and actions intersect—to be indispensable. Following are five key attributes for leading and living with authenticity:

1. Be curious.

Curiosity solves problems. It sparks our imagination and feeds our ingenuity.

Changes in the healthcare industry are occurring at a stunning pace. Key to staying abreast of developments and answering the most vexing questions is having deliberate and boundless curiosity. One of our most valuable business tools is the seemingly simply question: “Why?” Ask it again and again. This will help you identify the problems worth solving. Follow it with “So what?” What is the significance of what you learned? Did you identify a new strength or opportunity? Did you discover a differentiator? This is the compelling part of your story.

Step out of your comfort zone. Be bold. Dare to ask the hard questions. You may unearth a hidden gem.

2. Be purposeful.

Purpose provides you with a specific place to go and a way to get there.

Our firm’s purpose is to make a difference in how people think about health. In 1992, my goal was to take healthcare marketing to the next level by delivering creative work based on sound strategic principles. Our work communicated our customers’ brand promises and conveyed authenticity. Leading with strategy continues to be our purpose. It differentiates us and drives our work.

Discover your purpose. Articulate it, make it your promise, and pursue it relentlessly.

3. Be absolute.

Conviction in your purpose keeps your batteries charged. It gives assurance you are on the right path and your direction is true.

In a world of large, big-box consulting houses and agencies, I used to be distracted by the fact that our firm was smaller than some of our competitors. I came to realize size does matter, but not in the way I expected. From the outset, I built a virtual network of exceptionally smart and talented professionals whose advice and counsel I respected. This virtual business model showed promise. I became confident that as a boutique firm we would have as much firepower—if not more—than our larger competitors. This has proven true. Our team of accomplished strategic and marketing professionals, coupled with a network of highly skilled independent associates, means we bring only A-team players to the table. We are agile and quick. We never lose sight of our mission; we live and breathe it every day. All of this translates to better results for our clients.

Lead with confidence. Be absolute in your convictions, and be confident in your direction.

4. Be passionate.

Passion generates emotion and intensity. It creates energy that is palpable and contagious. It feeds your mission and gives you staying power.

From the beginning, our purpose was to deliver decisive results for our customers. As our firm grew, it became evident that we were making an impact far beyond our original intentions. We were working for a greater good—to help people make better and more informed health decisions, leading to more fulfilling and productive lives. The power of that realization was significant. This became our passion and our mission. It motivates and inspires us every day.

Find your passion and evangelize it. Infuse it in your mission and make it the essence of your culture.

5. Be open to possibilities.

#ToutEstPossible – it means everything is possible. At Dobies Healthcare Group, we believe this to be true. It is more than a slogan; it is our guiding principle.

As we embarked on our 25th year this month, we paused to affirm our business plans and strategies, to validate our direction and purpose. We challenged ourselves to think beyond what is plausible to what is possible. This created a stark moment of clarity. Our mindset shifted. We discovered that everything is possible because we are unwavering in our mission and certain in our strategies.

Be authentic in work and life. Lead and live with curiosity, conviction, passion and purpose, and everything is possible.

Ambitious goals are more achievable when others share your purpose and passion. I am thankful for the bright, enthusiastic and dedicated individuals—mentors, staff and clients—whose advice and support are a continuous source of inspiration. Thank you for being part of our journey.

Carol Dobies is the CEO and Founder of Dobies Healthcare Group, where she has been bringing healthcare brands to life for more than 25 years. Share your thoughts with her by tweeting @DobiesGroup or by commenting on our Facebook page.

Dobies Healthcare Group Hires Strategic Marketing Expert

Maurine Kierl, PMP, Strategic Marketing Manager at Dobies Healthcare Group

Maurine Kierl, PMP, Strategic Marketing Manager

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dobies Healthcare Group, a healthcare-specialized marketing, branding and advertising firm now entering its 25th year, is pleased to welcome Maurine Kierl, PMP, as Strategic Marketing Manager. In this role, Kierl will co-develop and manage strategic marketing plans and initiatives for the firm’s clients.

“This is a very exciting time in the healthcare industry, and smart, strategic planning is essential for success,” said Carol Dobies, CEO and Founder. “We are thrilled to start 2017 with added strength on our core strategy team, and it is our pleasure to welcome Maurine to our company.”

Kierl is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with more than 20 years of experience in marketing, strategic planning, project management and client relationship management. In her most recent role as Strategic Program Manager for the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Kierl led strategic marketing, communications and rebranding initiatives targeted at healthcare and academic leaders nationwide.

Prior to her work at AAFP, Kierl managed strategic marketing and communications at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), where she collaborated with health sciences schools and other academic units to develop and execute integrated marketing plans. She also spent 15 years at Sprint Corporation, serving in a variety of managerial roles in marketing and project management. Kierl has a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in advertising from the University of Kansas. She has also held numerous board positions for organizations committed to health, wellness and education.

“I am excited to join such a highly talented and knowledgeable team,” said Kierl. “Having worked extensively with leaders in hospitals and clinics, academic medical centers, and health systems, I have a deep appreciation for Dobies Healthcare Group’s strategy-first approach to positioning clients for future growth in healthcare.”

About Dobies Healthcare Group

Since 1992, Dobies Healthcare Group has offered highly specialized expertise in healthcare marketing strategy, branding and creative communications. Our Kansas City-based company serves the marketing and branding needs of the entire healthcare industry, from hospitals, health systems and payers to medical device manufacturers, associations and certifying boards. We combine strategic marketing with creative communications to create healthier brands.

Dobies Healthcare Group Welcomes New Addition to Client Services Team

Alexandria Fenske, Account Coordinator at Dobies Healthcare Group

Alexandria Fenske, Account Coordinator

It’s the people that make the difference between good and great at Dobies Healthcare Group, and it’s always a pleasure to welcome new talent on our healthcare marketing team. Last week, Alexandria Fenske joined our ranks as Account Coordinator, and we are very excited to welcome her on board.

As Account Coordinator, Alexandria’s role involves working closely with our firm’s creative, digital and strategy teams to ensure timely, seamless coordination of client accounts and deliverables. She assists with project execution, search engine marketing, research initiatives and more.

“Alexandria brings the right mix of skill sets, dedication and energy to our client services team, and we know she will serve our company and our clients very well,” said Thom Ludtke, Vice President of Client Services. “Her commitment to excellence aligns perfectly with our mission to make a difference in how people think about health.”

Originally from O’Neill, Neb., Alexandria graduated magna cum laude from Hastings College with a B.A. in Web Communication Design (with minors in Communication Studies and Visual Media). Her previous experience includes digital and social media marketing, graphic/web design and corporate event planning.

As we do with all new employees, we sat down with Alexandria for a little Q&A we call ‘InFocus.” Here’s what she had to say…

What three words best describe you?

Ambitious, organized and adventurous

What drew you to Dobies Healthcare Group?

When I was younger, I thought I would go into the medical field. But as I grew up and began to explore other interests, I realized I was better suited for something in the creative space. That spark of interest in healthcare has stayed with me all these years to some degree, and I’m very passionate about making healthy lifestyle choices and encouraging others to do the same. By putting all those interests together, I found my path forward in healthcare marketing.

I am certain I found an excellent opportunity here at Dobies Healthcare Group. I may be the newest employee, but I can already tell this team is made up of smart, talented and hardworking people who take pride in the work we do and the results of our efforts – connecting people, places and products in ways that drive better healthcare and life care.

You recently got married in your hometown. How did you meet your husband and what brought you two to Kansas City?

I saw my husband for the first time at a rodeo in Burwell, Neb., but to be honest, the place where we actually made a connection was Facebook (a sign of the times, right?!). After getting to know each other a little on social media, he came to my hometown for a visit, and from there we really hit it off. Fast forward four years to our wedding a few weeks ago, and I’m still glowing. I feel like the luckiest bride in the world.

We came to Kansas City to pursue our passions professionally. I knew the city would offer more opportunities for my pursuits in marketing – and I’m so excited I landed a job at Dobies Healthcare Group! My husband is about to begin his first year of chiropractic college here. We are both so happy to be starting our new lives together in Kansas City.

What do you like most about life in KC so far?

Since I have not been here very long yet, I would say I am most eager about the opportunity to explore so many new, exciting things within such a close proximity to our home. Having grown up in a smaller community, I am definitely thrilled to explore everything KC has to offer – the entertainment, food, athletic events, outdoor activities and new faces.

Tell us a fun fact about you.

I love creating things with my hands – especially wooden crafts…that’s what I find most relaxing these days. I’ve even been known to ask for saws and sanders as Christmas gifts! I’m still honing my sawing skills, but decorative signs are my favorite things to create in my free time right now.

Meet the rest of the team at Dobies Healthcare Group.

About Dobies Healthcare Group

Since 1992, Dobies Healthcare Group has offered highly specialized expertise in healthcare marketing strategy, branding and creative communications. Our Kansas City-based company serves the marketing and branding needs of the entire healthcare industry, from hospitals, health systems and payers to medical device manufacturers, associations and certifying boards. We combine strategic marketing with creative communications to create healthier brands.

Dobies Healthcare Group Names Chief Strategy Officer

Julie Amor, MHA, Chief Strategy Officer at Dobies Healthcare Group

Julie Amor, MHA, Chief Strategy Officer at Dobies Healthcare Group

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dobies Healthcare Group has appointed Julie Amor, MHA, as the firm’s Chief Strategy Officer. In this new role, Amor will engage in the development of market-leading strategies for health industry clients and lead innovative growth scenarios for Dobies Healthcare Group, fostering long-term partnerships for the firm.

“This is an exciting time for our company – we are forming new relationships that allow us to define strategies essential to our clients’ success in the ever-changing healthcare environment,” said Carol Dobies, CEO and Founder. “Julie is a dynamic leader with decades of industry experience and knowledge to help us realize our vision of creating healthier brands across the entire healthcare industry.”

Amor’s healthcare background includes more than 25 years in strategy, marketing, branding and operational intelligence. In her most recent role as Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communication at The University of Kansas Hospital, Amor led strategic and operational execution for the hospital’s corporate communication, internal branding, affiliation-related integration and employee engagement, serving an instrumental role in the strategic transformation of the hospital’s brand identity. Other former employers include New Directions Behavior Health and Tutera Group. Amor has a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Park University and a bachelor’s in Marketing Communications from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also earned a Certificate in Gerontology. In addition, she has served on the Board of Directors for Kansas City Public Television since 2009.

“Healthcare marketing strategy is my passion, and I am thrilled to join this exceptional team, where our strategy-first approach positions us as a fierce competitor among the nation’s most prestigious healthcare marketing firms,” said Amor, adding that Dobies Healthcare Group is superior in its ability to position clients for future growth. “Having spent my entire career in healthcare marketing, I know it is here that I can apply my experience in meaningful ways to truly impact future health.”

About Dobies Healthcare Group

Since 1992, Dobies Healthcare Group has offered highly specialized expertise in healthcare marketing strategy, branding and creative communications. Our Kansas City-based company serves the marketing and branding needs of the entire healthcare industry, from hospitals, health systems and payers to medical device manufacturers, associations and certifying boards. We combine strategic marketing with creative communications to create healthier brands.

Continuous Process Improvement Goals Lead to New Agency Project Management System

Project managementIn business as in healthcare, it’s important to stay on the lookout for new processes and technologies that streamline operations, improve outcomes and enhance customer experience. Our healthcare clients are certainly no strangers to the importance of continuous process improvement – nor to the role that technology plays therein – and neither are we. As a healthcare marketing and branding firm, we know our own role in supporting our clients’ success must involve an equal emphasis on continuous improvement.

To that end, part of my job as Finance Manager at Dobies Healthcare Group involves looking for new ways to simplify our business processes for maximum efficiency – which recently led to our investment in new project management software. Using a new system tailored for our business, we now have a more effective system in place to ensure our team stays on time, on budget and on strategy for every project.
This new system upgrade benefits us internally as much as our clients.

By enabling our strategy, creative and account service teams to access and input reports, status updates and project details in one centralized location, we can all stay one step ahead in our workloads at all times – while managing client expectations. With the right tools for effective and efficient project management, we spend more time developing smart strategies and engaging content, and less time managing tactics and project information.

We are known for taking a strategy-first approach on everything from planning to creative execution, and we feel strongly that our operational systems should reflect and support that one thing that differentiates Dobies Healthcare Group. By continually assessing available resources and investing in “work smarter, not harder” technologies, we ensure a more productive workflow for healthy returns on our clients’ marketing investments.

InFocus: Meet Melissa Coon

Melissa Coon, Public Relations Manager

Melissa Coon, Public Relations Manager

“InFocus” showcases the unique personalities and talents on our team at Dobies Healthcare Group. This week’s Q&A is with Melissa Coon, Public Relations Manager.

Welcome Melissa – time to get InFocus!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I am extremely passionate about healthcare and have always considered myself a “niche” marketer. I graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism and an emphasis in strategic communication, as well as a minor in business administration. Throughout college, I remained focused on healthcare and took numerous courses on health communication and policy. The summer after my freshman year, I interned at Agri-Pulse Communications, where I wrote and edited a variety of content on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Child Nutrition Act. I also interned at Paris Communications and helped promote many local clients. After graduation, I moved to Kansas City to pursue a career as the Marketing and Digital Media Manager for a local physical therapy company. During this time, I worked with many providers and key thought-leaders in the industry, which ultimately led me to Dobies Healthcare Group.

You’re originally from West Des Moines, Iowa. What brought you to Kansas City, and what do you like most about life in KC?

I grew up traveling to Kansas City a lot as a child. My dad works in the insurance business and often brought me along for work. I immediately fell in love with the Plaza area and houses along Ward Parkway. I knew this was ultimately where I wanted to end up because it’s close to home but also big enough for me to spread my wings.

There are a lot of things I love about Kansas City—the professional sports teams, Plaza lights, strong focus on healthcare and innovation, as well as the number of Fortune 500 companies, distinguished hospitals and well-known providers. It’s a perfect city for young professionals and a great place to raise a family.

As a healthcare writer and marketer, what helps you infuse both strategy and creativity into the communications you develop?

My creative talents come naturally, but I understand that in order to exceed expectations, as a marketer I must uncover key objectives and differentiators to set clients apart from others in the industry. 

What three words best describe you?

Organized, outgoing and active

Tell us a few fun facts about you.

I serve on the Board of Directors for The Call KC, a local outreach organization that strives to bridge the gap between volunteers and the community. In my spare time, I find new ways to challenge myself through physical fitness and active adventure. I’m a big travel buff and enjoy learning about new cultures through experiences abroad. I also teach spin classes at a local health and fitness club.

Why Dobies Healthcare Group?

Dobies Healthcare Group is the perfect place for me to make use of my interest in healthcare and background in strategic communication. Everything I have done up to this point has been in hopes of pursuing a career at a healthcare-specialized marketing firm like Dobies Healthcare Group.

InFocus: Meet Darcie Mundy

Darcie Mundy, Client Finance Manager

Darcie Mundy, Client Finance Manager

“InFocus” showcases the unique personalities and talents on our team at Dobies Healthcare Group. This week’s Q&A is with Darcie Mundy, Client Finance Manager.

Welcome Darcie – time to get InFocus!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I’m a CPA with an accounting degree from the University of Kansas. I started my career as an auditor before moving into the private sector in 2011. My family recently moved back to the Kansas City area after living in Philadelphia for four years, and I’m now working within the healthcare marketing, branding and advertising industry, which is new for me!

What’s been the most enjoyable part of your job at Dobies Healthcare group so far?
I’ve really enjoyed learning about this industry and leading the implementation of our agency’s new management software. The new system streamlines our accounting function and project workflows, so it’s been an exciting process to be part of!

After living on the east coast, what do you like most about being back in Kansas City?
Being close to our family again! We have a 10-month old daughter, and it’s nice to have her growing up in Kansas City along with her cousin, and spending time with her extended family.

What three words best describe you?
Hard-working, compassionate and restless (I love to travel!).

Tell us one fun fact about you.
I’m Canadian. Before moving to the Kansas City area with my family, I was born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario.

Why Dobies Healthcare Group?
I was looking for a challenge, and a workplace where I had the opportunity to make a difference in my position. I’m excited to see where Dobies Healthcare Group is going in 2015!

InFocus: Meet Thom Ludtke

“InFocus” showcases the unique personalities and talents on our team at Dobies Healthcare Group. This week’s Q&A is with Thom Ludtke, Vice President of Client Services.

Welcome Thom – time to get InFocus!

Thom Ludtke

Thom Ludtke, Vice President of Client Services

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Twenty years ago, I would have told you I was on a career path to become a creative director. A few months into my first job, however, I realized my true passion was creating clever solutions that delivered results for my clients. Since then, I’ve worked as an account and strategic leader in many fascinating and diverse industries. I still exercise my creativity through integrated marketing plans to help clients find success. My mantra is to earn the right to play again tomorrow by delivering results today.

What helps you infuse creativity and strategy into each marketing project?
I believe focus is what makes creativity and strategy in marketing great. The focus comes from asking three universal questions:

  • What is the objective?
  • What market place issues will help or hinder our ability to achieve it?
  • How can we overcome or leverage the most critical issues identified?

Answers to these questions define the landscape and allow relevant, highly effective strategic freedom and creative ingenuity.

What do you like most about life in Kansas City?
The climate is much more temperate than in my hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska. I love the seasons of Midwest living, but I like the shorter winters here.

What three words best describe you?
Energetic. Curious. Creative.

Tell us one fun fact about you.
I led the way for Alex Gordon to play baseball for the Royals! You see, I played third base at Lincoln Southeast High School more than a decade before Alex played there. I went to the University of Nebraska…Alex followed. Then I moved my professional career to Kansas City and, well, so did Alex. So clearly I paved the way for him. (But don’t say anything to Alex – he has no idea I exist!)

Why Dobies Healthcare Group?
There are three primary reasons I joined Dobies Healthcare Group:

  1. The industry – my experience is very diverse, but healthcare is where I belong.
  2. The quality staff – first-class, talented and hard-working people. I greatly respect Carol Dobies and the culture she has created.
  3. The product – Dobies Healthcare Group is a top-tier healthcare strategic marketing and branding company. We share a philosophy of developing long-term client relationships by crafting data-driven, strategic solutions that deliver results.

Learn more about Thom and the rest of our healthcare marketing team at dobies.com/people.

InFocus: Meet Jacqueline Kueser

“InFocus” showcases the unique personalities and talents on our team at Dobies Healthcare Group.
This week’s Q&A is with Jacqueline Kueser, Strategy Leader.

Jacqueline Kueser, Strategy Leader

Jacqueline Kueser, Strategy Leader

Welcome Jacqueline – time to get InFocus! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I’ve worked in academic medical center strategy for 20 years, primarily with hospital executives and clinical researchers conducting market and health services evaluations.

Why did you choose to work at Dobies Healthcare Group?
Dobies Healthcare Group excels at strategy and is always on the hunt for new knowledge.

What types of things are you watching on the horizon for the healthcare industry in general?
I see three major trends that will take time to assimilate into benefits for the industry:

  1. Predictive analytics – once we know more about the commonalities in patients’ health trajectories, we will be able to better anticipate needs and gain efficiencies.
  2. Crowdsourcing – particularly for research, this will enable more rapid acquisition and dissemination of knowledge for specific health and wellness issues.
  3. Evidence-based medicine incorporated both within current information systems and as a reflection of quality – patient outcomes must be measured at the individual level, but the approach to providing appropriate care can be measured by adherence to standards.

What three words best describe you?
Analytical, deliberative, achiever

What do you like most about life in Kansas City?
My husband is a die-hard Kansas Citian, so I stay here with him. It’s the livable city.

Tell us one fun fact about you.
I was the Women’s Missouri State Water Ski champion in 1984.

Learn more about Jacqueline and the rest of our healthcare marketing team at dobies.com/people.

InFocus: Meet Jessica Myren

“InFocus” showcases the unique personalities and talents on our team at Dobies Healthcare Group.
This week’s Q&A is with Jessica Myren, Account Coordinator.

Jessica Myren, Account Coordinator

Jessica Myren, Account Coordinator

Welcome Jessica – time to get InFocus! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I grew up in Northwest Indiana, a little less than an hour outside Chicago. I moved to Kansas City and started working at Dobies Healthcare Group shortly after graduating from Indiana University Bloomington.

As an Indiana native, what do you like most about life in
Kansas City?

The winters aren’t as bad here – no lake-effect snow and far fewer days where the air hurts my face. Plus, there’s a lot to do in Kansas City. It seems like every weekend in the summer we have some kind of fest going on. I live in the River Market area, so there is some great walkability, which I wasn’t expecting when I moved here.

What’s the most enjoyable “new thing” you’ve experienced since joining Dobies Healthcare Group, and why?
I like working with a close-knit team. Once during a snowstorm, everyone but Carol Dobies and I had to work from home. I was still somewhat new on the job, so when I told my friends about it, they all said I should use it as an opportunity to better “introduce” myself to the owner. I just kind of laughed and said she already knows me – I know everyone at the company. It made me realize the work environment here is pretty cool.

What three words best describe you?

  • Adaptive
  • Curious
  • Carol often says I’m “analytical,” so I’ll go with that, too

Tell us one fun fact about you.
I was the teaching assistant for Indiana University’s Middle Eastern Dance class (a.k.a. belly dancing) for two semesters.

Why Dobies Healthcare Group?
In college, I interned with a large medical device company, where I developed an interest in healthcare marketing. When I moved here to Kansas City, I found this position and it was a great fit. I get to wear many hats here. We serve a broad range of clients with diverse healthcare marketing, branding and advertising needs. There is always something new to learn about, and I work with a great team. My short commute is also a plus.

Learn more about Jessica and the rest of our healthcare marketing team at dobies.com/people.