Video production: Andrew Kennedy Lewis
Kathy Gallo, senior vice president and CLO of Northwell Health, began her career as a staff nurse with an educational background in nursing and business. When she was offered the opportunity to become CLO for Northwell Health – the first CLO role in health care – she accepted. Now, she talks about her career path, how and why the role was created, and what she learned along the way.
Read the full transcript of Gallo’s interview below:
My background, my formal educational training, is both in nursing and business. For the first 25 years of my career, I was in emergency medicine as well as emergency management and emergency medical services. I spent many years on the front line and went from a staff nurse all the way up to a vice president. My name is Dr. Kathleen Gallo, and I’m the senior vice president and chief learning officer for Northwell Health.
Approximately 15, 16 years ago, my CEO offered me an opportunity to become the chief learning officer for Northwell Health. At the time, Mike Dowling, who’s the CEO, he actually brought the role of the chief learning officer into health care. As we’re well aware, it started out in Motorola as well as General Electric. We believed that with our growing organization we needed a strategic learning function led by a senior leader, and that’s how the role was created.
Coming out of spending years working in emergency medicine or EMS or emergency management, you have a tendency to collect your data very quickly and respond to it – and
you don’t need to do that when you’re a strategist. So, I had to learn about ensuring that the organization was ready for change. Also to build coalitions, to help you execute strategy. And to take feedback from key stakeholders. And that there’s not much we can do by ourselves – that we really need to work in a team.
In the beginning I never thought 17 years later I would still be the chief learning officer, but here I am today. It’s been quite a trip from my first nursing job over 40 years ago.