If I could talk to my younger self… with Kathleen Golovan

15 minutes with Kathleen Golovan (LC2 2014, LC 2013, CBB 2005)
Chief Health Officer, Medical Mutual

What would you have done differently at age 18?
I would have enjoyed the moment more. Eighteen is an incredible age that I see as adulthood with training wheels. You are starting to really gain some independence and start down your path to adulthood but you still have the safety net of home and family. I would take the time to take more risks and gain more experiences.

What is a piece of advice you wish somebody told you when you were younger?
Do not think you have to have the next thirty years planned out. If you do, you may be too stressed to enjoy the journey and you may miss many opportunities and experiences because you have designed a rigid path to success. Now more than ever you are going to see many changes throughout your career around what you do and how you do it. The best way to take advantage of this reality is to try to learn from every experience and always volunteer for assignments outside your comfort zone.

How has your career shifted throughout the years? Are you doing today what you thought you would be doing early in your career?
I would have never imagined when I started my career as a tax attorney out of law school at Ernst & Young that I would be where I am now. Over the last twenty-two years at one organization I have worked in finance as a tax attorney, done general corporate legal work in the general counsel’s office, run an Internal Audit department, become the Chief Information Officer managing over a $100 million budget, ran all clinical programs for a health insurer with 1.6 million members and now I am the Chief Health Officer at Medical Mutual responsible for Provider relations and Pharmacy. It has been quite a wild ride but I believe my career goals and a finding a great employer who allowed me to pursue those goals have made it possible.

Who was a key influence in your life and how?
My grandfather was and is a key influencer in my life (he just turned 100). He was a successful corporate attorney who finally retired from his last not for profit board commitment in his nineties so the “youngsters” could have a chance to serve. He has taught me two major lessons. First, without integrity you really have nothing and second to whom much is given much is expected. Most of my jobs thus far have involved negotiating, whether as part of my formal job description as is currently the case or the constant informal negotiations that go on inside an organization. Being someone who is always honest and open and lived by my word has been a critical part of how I have approached everything I do. His commitment to service has led me to want to be involved outside of work to make my community better whether it is volunteering at my children’s school, at Church or in the community or through board service.

What do you think the next generation can do to ensure a strong future for Cleveland?
The next generation needs to educate itself about the issues facing the City and the strengths that the City has and then care enough to get involved to build on the strengths and help fix the issues. I have found it does not matter how young you are or how inexperienced you are if you are willing to ask “how can I help” you will be put to work and can make a difference.

Cleveland is, and why?
Cleveland is a hidden gem because it has so much going for it that many still do not know about. Between the natural resources of the Lake and the parks, the world class medical care, the arts and entertainment opportunities and food there is nowhere else I would rather be.