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RLI Summit 2018: In the Spirit of Collaboration

Vincenti Kerri

The moderator laid out the terms of the exercise: turn to a partner, ask them the following question, and then…listen. The charge seemed like such a simple request, but as I sat alongside my partner, intently hearing each word she said and watching her reactions to her own words, I realized why we had been given the task and the power that such a simple question holds: “What would you say has been the highest point in your life?” I was enamored by the expressions on her face as she described her own personal marvelous moment. She glowed with pride and an unexplainable calm came over her face. In describing that memory, she was reliving it, and I was with her as she did. I too was sensing her emotions, her motivations, and her connection to that point in time that clearly meant so much to her.

Shortly after we exchanged stories, the moderator continued, “How many of you have ever been asked that question by someone you work for?” The room was still except for the turning heads searching for a sole participant who could tell his or her story. “How many of you who currently lead others have ever asked that question to one of your employees?” Surely this time, at least one of the 130 participants in the room would raise a hand; surely someone had thought to do this. Alas, the question was met with only one thing: silence.

This exercise set the tone and became the foundation for me for the remainder of this year’s Radiology Leadership Institute (RLI) Summit in Boston:

Listen. Challenge yourself. Be authentic. Build relationships.

To be among so many leaders in the field of radiology was truly an honor for me. As a senior radiology resident, the only reason I was able to attend the summit was through the generous support of a state chapter scholarship. At times, I almost felt like an imposter. I would think to myself, “they couldn’t possibly want to hear what I have to say; after all I’m just a resident.” But my fears couldn’t have been farther from the truth. My perspective was not only welcomed but explicitly elicited. To some of the participants, many of whom had been in the field for decades, my ideas seemed fresh and unique. And for those who may have had some misconceptions about the millennial mindset coming into the conference--I was able to enlighten their perspective and enhance their understanding through open communication. My voice was not drowned out by perspectives from “the good old days” but rather echoed and magnified by the collaborative spirit of the conference attendees. Our conversations focused on how to redefine opportunities and develop strategies to innovate within our own environments.

To that end, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend and participate in this year’s summit. I aim to use the skills I learned and continue to build on them as I grow as a leader within the field. As an example, when I returned from Boston, I set aside time for “chief check-ins,” with my colleagues. I started with all of the current first year residents and asked them about their high points in the last three months of residency: five different people with five completely different responses. That one simple question opened the door for me to learn about key motivators for those I work with and for. I feel more connected to them because of that knowledge, and I understand another principle that I learned at this year’s summit:

Leadership=relationships, not results.

I still have much to learn, and I look forward to the relationships that will continue to grow when I hopefully return for next year’s summit.

By Kerri Vincenti, MD, PGY-5, Chief Radiology Resident at Pennsylvania Hospital. You can reach her at @KVincentiRad.

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