The LoCo Experience

EXPERIENCE 88 | Margo Karsten on the Health Care Industry

November 07, 2022 Alisha Jeffers
The LoCo Experience
EXPERIENCE 88 | Margo Karsten on the Health Care Industry
Show Notes Transcript

Margo is the Western Region President at Banner Health and has her PhD in Organizational Development from CSU. Margo shares her inspiring journey from frontline nursing into management, developing a passion for education and training that continued throughout her later executive career. 

Margo pulls back the curtain on our healthcare system in this episode. She shares the challenges of the industry in general and specifically the efforts her organization made to keep their teams connected and energized during the grueling seasons of the Covid Pandemic.

💡Learn about LoCo Think Tank

 Follow us to see what we're up to:

 Instagram

 LinkedIn

 Facebook

💡Learn about LoCo Think Tank

Follow us to see what we're up to:

Instagram

LinkedIn

Facebook

My guest on today's episode was Margo Karsten. Margo is the Western region President at Banner Health and she has her PhD in organizational development from csu. Margo shares her inspiring journey from frontline nursing into management and developing a passion for education and training that continued throughout her later executive career. Margo pulls back the curtain on our healthcare system in this episode, sharing the challenges of the industry in general, and especially the efforts her organization made to keep their teams connected and energized during the grueling seasons of the Covid Pandemic. Margo's an expert on organizational development, which is one of my favorite topics, and so we spend a lot of time there as. She's a great lady, introduced to me in the local experience by a mutual friend, and I was charmed and pleased to have her on the show. Thanks, Margo and all. You all enjoy.

Curt:

Margot, so nice to have you here and it's so nice to meet you after a nice phone call earlier. Yeah. You as well. Um, so you are the president of the Western region of Banner Health. And what's the Western, I guess start there. What's the western region of

Margo:

Banner Health? Yeah. I always say we're the patchwork quilt of Banner Health. Okay. Um, we have 14 facilities and so I'll just kind of run through 'em. Sure. So people kind of know why I call it a patchwork quilt. In Colorado, we have Northern Colorado, which has three facilities, and then I have, um, East Morgan, which is in Brush, Colorado. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Sterling, Colorado. Then I jump over to Ogallala. And I have one critical access hospital there. Then if you go over to Wyoming, I have Casper, so Wyoming Medical Center, Wheatland and Torrington to Small Critical Access, and then way North Wash Key in Warland, Wyoming. Oh yeah. And then you jump over to Nevada. and I have Churchill, Nevada, just Critical Access Hospital. Then you go up north past Reno and I have Susanville in California and then you go down to Arizona and I have Page and Payson in Arizona.

Curt:

Okay. So I was imagining maybe Banner having almost more like a a full coverage thing, but you guys are really organic growth through specific community centers of need and

Margo:

things. Well, it's interesting. So Banner merged 20 years ago with Lutheran Health System with Good Samaritan. Oh yeah. So our biggest footprint is in Phoenix. And so if you went in Phoenix, you'd find another 12 facilities larger. Mm-hmm. and then Tucson we just acquired probably eight years ago, the University of Arizona. Oh. So with the acquisition 20 years ago, that's how they brought together the western region. Yeah. Um, they've always been part of Colorado, but now it's kind of how we all envelop Banner Health.

Curt:

Yeah. Yeah. Very cool. Well, so have you been in healthcare? For a super

Margo:

long time. I have. It's been interesting. I was a nurse. I graduated in 1984 from the University of Minnesota. Okay. And took the, my first nursing job at Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, part of the Mayo

Curt:

Clinic. Wow. So your whole career? Pretty much. And can we, like, outside of the footprint of your region, but let's talk about like, make sure people know what Banner does because I understand that not all health systems are the same. Yeah. My, my sister actually works for a Catholic Charities health system. Mm-hmm. she does all their contract work and

Margo:

stuff. Yeah. Yeah. Great question cuz we can be a confusing industry. What I love about Banner is we're a non-profit, so we, if we make a. we give it back to the community, or we invest in capital to make sure we're taking good care of wherever we are. Um, and then within the community, we do community needs assessment, and then we match our services for what they need. So if you went to Susanville, um, it's an interesting community, North California. Okay. That, you know, there's four correctional facilities that, uh, encompass around them and it just makes a. Composition of care that they need. Yeah. And then you come to Casper, Wyoming, again, they're kind of the hub of a very rural state. Mm-hmm. But they have a open heart program. They have a level two trauma, which means you can take care of pretty sick patients. Cause they're

Curt:

serving a super wide area. Yes. And so they have to have a more robust offering than they might otherwise. Yeah. And

Margo:

people are surprised that Casper offers so much, but they're just like ncmc in Greeley. Very busy emergency department, very busy trauma open heart program, um, at ncmc, then North Colorado Medical Center. And really we do level three nurseries, so very tiny babies. Our care for, um, great neurology program, uh, we brought MD Anderson, in which MD Anderson is ranked number one the country for cancer care. Mm. And so we started a partnership in Arizona and we watched it and really felt like that's a level of care we wanted to bring to Northern Colorado. So, Five years ago, I believe we did a full partnership agreement with them, which means if I get diagnosed with Cancer Houston, where MD Anderson is housed, they call in and they help create my care plan and they oversee the physicians and all our physicians or their

Curt:

faculties. So they can be the concentration of knowledge in this specialty area. But you can basically rent their knowledge concentration.

Margo:

Yes, yes. And for cancer, if I get diagnosed, I want the best in the country. Yeah. And so it was a really creative way to keep care in the local communities. Yeah.

Curt:

And you hear all the time, you know, people get some exotic disease and they go to Mayo Clinic or whatever. Yes. But yes, that requires a, a, a hoof Yes. Right. And you're going a long ways away and you're staying there and accruing a lot of expenses and things like that. Mm-hmm. so that expertise on. Cancers work or how this and that. Yeah. That's neat.

Margo:

Yeah. Yeah. And I really like Banner because we like, through Covid, uh, we're a small footprint in Colorado, but if you looked at a percent, so if we had a hundred patients, we took the most percent of Covid patients in the whole state. Oh really? And so we're very committed to, again, underserved high risk patients were open. And so it was interesting to look at the data. Was

Curt:

that kind of a game of like hot potato? You take 'em? I don't want 'em.

Margo:

It was hard time. Yeah, it was a hard time. So our little hospital in um, Nevada actually, and it was rare this would happen, but if we had openings here or in Arizona, maybe. A handful of patients got placed all the way over here. Hmm. So we were sensitive, we took care of our local community, but if needed, even Tucson took patients from our critical access hospital, which was

Curt:

awesome. And it wasn't for all the extra gravy you got for treating it. No. It probably was a tough way to make a living.

Margo:

Yes, yes. And it was the right thing. So that's, Yeah. I'm proud to work for them.

Curt:

Um, so we'll probably end up getting into some of the covid as it relates to medicine and stuff, cuz I imagine you've seen a lot more, and I'm, I, I'm a kind of a outspoken libertarian kind of leaning guy. The, the give me liberty or give me death. Mm-hmm. I'm like, you know, give me death before you take my liberty a little bit. And I'm not too apologetic usually. Mm-hmm. Although you'll probably make me more so at times. And this, um, so I don't want to go there yet though. Okay. I wanna, I wanna learn about Margot. Okay. Um, where, where did you come from? Are you native to

Margo:

Colorado? No. So youngest is six in Minnesota. Oh

Curt:

yeah. You said you went to the University of Minnesota, so

Margo:

Yeah. Yeah. So first generation college. Okay. Um, and decided my dad was a blue collar. He owned his own heating air condition stream business. Okay, great. And his wisdom was, get a job that, you know, they'll always need. Yeah. So back then I feel like I'm old. I'm 60. It was literally teaching secretary. Right. Or nursing. Yeah. And so I'm like, Well, nursing looks good. That's

Curt:

more interesting than teaching or secretary. Oh, I thought, I don't really like kids. Just kidding.

Margo:

Yeah. So off I

Curt:

went. So I wanna go back far though. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So young. Did you say youngest of six? Yeah. And um, and are you talking the cities of Minnesota or the rural of Minnesota? Um,

Margo:

St. Paul, but, um, another important, the better of the twin cities really. I think so. I think so. Um, and then what I think is important, we were, we had, we were lucky, we had a lake cabin Oh fine. And, uh, Northern Minnesota. So that's a big part of my life. I have a cabin up there now. Cool. I just have really good memories. My,

Curt:

uh, My dad's sister got a lake cabin into Detroit Lakes area. Oh, yes. And uh, now all three of her daughters have married local boys, all of whom have family cabins. Mm. And so now we've got like this branch of the family tree that's got cabins that we can stay at when we wanna be up there. Mm. What was the town where, where, either where you were or were you keep residents

Margo:

now out there? Yeah. Um, it's cold Spring, Minnesota. Cold Spring, so super small. Okay. But I did my nursing internship right by Detroit Lakes. Okay, cool.

Curt:

Yeah. Um, and so, Your dad, uh, was HVAC self, not self-employed, but had, had a crew, I guess a small company, you know, small.

Margo:

Yeah. But what was interesting, I think he really gave me my work ethic. He, it's a 24 7 job. Yeah. And so 2:00 AM you know, 30 below, he'd get a service call and out he'd go So, um, I learned firsthand how hard, you know, what it looked like to work

Curt:

hard and there was no cell phones in that time or anything like that. Like it was just basically always on call. Did he have like a key helper or anything? Could you guys ever take a

Margo:

vacation? We did. He had a probably a staff of 10 guys. Yeah. So he, we, our vacations were the, like, we'd always go to the like, and then we took a couple crazy station wagon off. We go to Yellowstone. Yeah. All six in the car. Yeah. Um, but trips like that were rare. And

Curt:

was your mom strictly full-time home mom? I mean with six little, what was the age

Margo:

range? Yeah. Interesting. My oldest sister is, 11 years older. Okay. So it goes 11, 10, 8 year difference in me, five, two, and then me. Yeah.

Curt:

Very cool. I'm 10 years older than my Oh, interesting. My youngest brother, although we're only four. Okay. So, but you know, that big family dynamic is rare these days and had been getting rarer even in those days. Yeah, I

Margo:

agree. Yeah. So she was full-time mom. Yeah.

Curt:

And what was young Margo like? Were you, like, did you know you wanted to take care of people from a young age? You mentioned that, you know, it was like secretary or teacher or whatever. Yeah. I'm guessing you were smart all the whole time. And so something beyond like find a cute guy and have his children was always in store for you.

Margo:

Yeah. I, it's interesting. So I have two good friends from elementary school and we still get together and I've asked him that, like, what was I like when I was little? And they said, um, always joyful, always instigating. Maybe get in a little trouble in the classroom. Um, but always they remembered I got really good grades, but I studied hard. Mm. Um, so I think I was super social. Yeah. Um, and just love life. And they even said that's how I was when I was in first grade. Hmm. Very

Curt:

cool. And so, and any sports, any athletic competitions, any academic awards, things like that. Mark your career.

Margo:

Sort of, So I did dance line in high school, and then senior year we just decided to show people that dance line people are athletic and did track. We did Relay. Oh, Which was

Curt:

awesome. Like your dance team became the relay team. Yes. Oh,

Margo:

that's so fun. And we probably took it that serious. Right? Not too serious. So that was fun. Yeah. Um, I loved sports, I loved watching, but I got a D in Fayed because I talked too much so that was not where I was focused on, but a good, like academics. Yeah. National Honors Society. I got a couple scholarships, so I'm super grateful for that. And then U of

Curt:

M, um, I'm wondering, so both of my, my wife's parents went to U of M as well, and they would've been, Ish, early seventies. Yeah. Um, probably they're a little bit older than you are, but not too much.

Margo:

Yeah. Yeah. I graduated in 84.

Curt:

Yeah. So they were probably mid seventies even, actually. Okay. So, uh, I forget that my dad is quite a, my, my parents are quite a bit older than hers, even though I'm quite a few years older than my wife, so it's hard for me to remember how old they're Yeah. Anyway, the gophers. Mm-hmm. uh, finally have had some Yes. Just decent athletics teams themselves. The

Margo:

last few years we have that campus was interesting. You know, I went to a Catholic school from first grade to 12th. Oh, okay. And so then you go into a university setting. It was, it was eye-opening and very, It was overwhelming, I'd say. So did you

Curt:

go to a Catholic school Probably with all your brothers and sisters as well? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And then was it like a small, very patriarchal Yes. Then everybody, no, you can't get lost in the shuffle or get into too much trouble cuz they'll be pulling your ears way too soon. Yes,

Margo:

yes, yes, yes. To all of it. Yeah. Yeah.

Curt:

And you go to after college and there's nobody that wants to tell you what to do. And this, you said you graduated in 84? Yeah. And so late seventies, this was, you know, kind of the post Vietnam. Mm-hmm. uh, how it was through the, I guess you were in college during kind of the, the tough recessionary times for the egg and the farm economy was really in tough shape at that time. Yes.

Margo:

Yeah. It was interesting. When I graduated in 84, oh, there were five nursing jobs open at the Mayo. And I luck. I just like lucked out and got one. But it was a very different time in nursing. Um, there weren't many openings and so our profession has been cyclical anyhow. But I feel very blessed that I got in, yeah,

Curt:

right off the bat with one of the best organizations. I've been there for a tour when one of Jill's relatives was up there and pretty cool, like just the, I guess the legacy mm-hmm. Of quality and excellence and whatever else is baked into that culture up there. It's pretty impressive.

Margo:

Yeah, it was interesting as a new grad to go there as your first job, so I didn't know any different mm-hmm. so I just thought, oh, this must be how it is. Mm-hmm. Not,

Curt:

I mean, it wasn't always how it was. Yeah. They're awesome. So tell me about, kind of let's, you know, we don't need to spend too much time, but kind of bring, bring me through your career path. How does a young lady go from a, a young nurse to the president of a large hospital system? I know with

Margo:

a lot of good help. Yeah, for sure. Um, so I'd start back even in high school, in college, I was a certified nursing assistant. Okay. So I just loved it. I loved the work. I loved making a difference. I loved with being with people that were alone and scared. Yeah. And so when I got into nursing, I was working day nights at Mayo Clinic and it was interesting. I had a really hard night and we worked really hard together. The LPN and I, and the next morning our leader, like, was very critical and not very happy with a couple of things that we did. And I'm like, Wow, she didn't even thank us. And so I literally said, I want her job. Like she had this clipboard and a hat on and not very kind. And with that, not joking, the doors opened to leadership. So I was a frontline nurse for 18 months and then I went back to the Twin Cities, got a job as like a charge nurse. Then I went to a nurse manager, and then I'm like, Well, I wonder why I don't do two units. And so then I took two nursing units and then decided, decided was that not normal at the time? Mm-hmm. um, one unit per leader. But I've seen all these energies, like wow, two like units, if we worked together. I wonder what that would be like. Yeah.

Curt:

You could have people swap a shift even or something like that to make it more flexible and better for

Margo:

everybody. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So I kind of started seeing concepts like that and wondered, Well, I wanna do that. And so then I'll get into my personal life. But, um, decided to leave and went to, um, First job was St. Joe's in Phoenix. Hm mm-hmm. So I'm a little bit of a maverick. I thought let's leave Minnesota in May and try the heat. And I worked at a level one trauma center downtown Phoenix. Didn't know a soul and that was good. Um, but again, the, I met my husband, went to Albuquerque and I just have been very fortunate. So when I got to Albuquerque, Presbyterian Health System is awesome. They were going through a leadership change. I was there for a year in like a support role, and the CEO left and the new one said, Hey, I need an interim chief nursing officer I'm like 28 years old. He, and we clicked. And um, to this day, Jim Hinton is a good friend and mentor of mine. Yeah. And he is like, Will you just do it? I'm like, Sure. I was getting my master's at University of New Mexico. Marriage. Right. And so I decided leadership really is about speaking your truth. Yeah. And trying to make a difference. Yeah. And so if I can do that, I'll do it. And so I loved it. I fell in love with leadership and I thank Jim to this day for my career. I'm

Curt:

guessing you, uh, became the actual, not the interim.

Margo:

Mm-hmm. No, I did not. Which was interesting. Yeah. Um, we hired someone and that was our deal. Cause I had just had a baby as well and I'm like, I can't doing this. Yeah. Wanted, yeah. I need to finish up my master's, be a mom and a wife. And, um, he was very supportive. So almost a year as interim. So I learned it enough to. I think I want that role later in life. But then I stayed there for five years, loved it again as a director of thinking nursing resources or something. And then my husband got transferred to Colorado, thought I'd be a stay at home mom. And I was ready to take. How old are your, your children I guess? Yeah, at the time. So my kids now are 32, 28. I miscarried in between and then I have a 19 year old. Oh, wow. So at the time I two, my boys were little. Yeah. And, um, thought I'd be a stay at home mom and then started to take over the preschool. I'm like, this isn't healthy for anybody. And so, um, took a job, achieved nursing officer down in Denver. Uh, did that for a couple years and really that commute was hard. Yeah. I came back up here and I worked at Puter Valley actually for eight years. Um,

Curt:

and circa me when this is now. Yeah,

Margo:

I was probably. Late thirties. Yeah, late thirties into my forties.

Curt:

Yeah. I doubt you're, You seem like a people first person, and I'm, I have a question that's flashing us back like a decade, but when you moved to Arizona, or even when you moved to Albuquerque, like when I moved to Fort Collins, it felt like. People were like, Hey, welcome to Fort Collins. We're so glad you're here. Yeah. Um, and just really felt embraced in Colorado Springs. It was not as much that way. Yeah. Um, and I'm wondering what your b both was. It, is it about you, the person and it is about the community and, and how was your experience going to those new places with No, not, no, no. People, great

Margo:

question. Phoenix was more distant. I felt like they're eclectic, independent individuals. But that was like, you think about it, like the Miami, the Southwest kind of, Yeah, yeah, yeah. And late eighties, so not really building community yet. Yeah. So that was very isolating. I, you know, I got a fitness club and ran a lot, but not a lot of good friends. Albuquerque was different. Um, we lived in the mountains a little bit out of Albuquerque. Mm-hmm. but very welcoming. And what I loved is the diversity. One of my closest friends was native Hispanic, Mary Bla, and she's passed away since, but she was like 15 years older than me, just took me under her way. Yeah. So I, to this day, still have friends from Albuquerque. Very kind. Yeah. Very kind. I can imagine. But then I agree, Colorado was home. It just felt home. Um, Potter Valley specifically. Even Denver. Yeah. I would say Denver is a little, but I still have good friends there. Yeah. Yeah. I like the community feel up here, but the people in Denver were awesome. Yeah,

Curt:

yeah. Yeah. And so how, how that experience, So when did you first come? Did you live in Fort Collins? Is it Windsor? Windsor. Windsor, yeah. Yeah. But Northern Colorado. Anyway, when. Finally you're home and, and how long? Yeah. How long has that

Margo:

been in? So I've been here, it'll be 30 years in March, which is, or it'll be 29 in March. Cuz my son turns 29 in March. Okay. Yeah. And we moved when he

Curt:

was a baby. That's awesome. Yeah. And so remind, take me back. Uh, I jumped off of my career path. Yeah. So

Margo:

Port Valley, eight years, loved it. Um, started my PhD program Oh. And decided I'm gonna step off. We were doing a lot of, like, we're building medical center Rockies and what I've noticed every time a system grows a dynamic changes mm-hmm. it's almost like when you watch families, It just shifts. Hmm. And I talked to Wike for one of our, um, recruiters, national recruiters about that, and they said if systems merge or change, people will usually leave. Cuz it's different than what you signed up for. Yeah. So I stepped off, um, finished up my PhD, did some, some consulting at PhD. In what? Oh, organization development. Okay. At csu. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Curt:

Um, any professors or people. Organization that you'd like to give a shout out to. And, and what was that because you saw your career progression becoming really helped or because you were passionate about organizational development and you wanted to

Margo:

study it more? Yeah. This will be insightful both. So I was watching my boys play play football all the time, and I was feeling pretty boxed out and I was reading all these leadership books. I'm like, Well, why not get a degree for heaven's sake? Like, Oh, my boys are good and I'm a ferocious reader. Yeah. And so at the time I do a shout out to two people, Brian Cobb and Nancy Hartley. Nancy Hartley was the dean at the time of applied Science health sciences and she was our board chair at Putter Valley at the time. And I told her I was eager to try a PhD program. And she said, Well, let's wait. School of Ed is gonna open up and do organization development. And, um, Dr. Gilley was awesome. He's not there anymore, but he was my chair of my committee. And I just love to learn and I love people. So I thought this will bring it nicely together. And so I, my dissertation was, Um, I built a quantitative tool measuring the theory called occupational intimacy. Hmm. And I studied physicians. Um, they were, they were having a hard time and it was right before people were employing them. Mm-hmm. and I really believe as a profession, they have one of our hardest jobs. Mm-hmm. And so I wondered about them. And when I did my lit review, a very hard life. They're perfectionists, typically they're top of their game. Usually they tend not to have a lot of friends. Um, and they, they give up their whole family in, in marriages. Right. Yeah. And I think people think, you know, they make a lot of money, a lot of

Curt:

alcohol abuse. Yeah. A lot of broken marriages. A lot, a lot, a lot of cocaine and

Margo:

whatever It was heart wrenching. Yeah. And so I thought as a leader in healthcare, the um, model I studied was. Do you love what you do? Do you find meaning in your work? And do you work in a nurturing environment? Hmm. So I developed a tool to measure that theory. Oh, that's so cool. And it was interesting. So one of my committees said, You're not gonna have any physicians do a survey called Occupational Intimacy. I'm like, Well, I interviewed the theorist and I'm not gonna change their theory. Yeah. I got my an size back in three months. People could, they, physicians would write me a note like, I can't believe you even care about us. I can't even believe administrator Wow. Is doing the survey. And it was really all about the lack of working in a nurturing environment. Huh. So I always say fundamentally changed how I lead. That's good for everybody.

Curt:

Actually, I would invite you at some point, uh, if you get bored, Um, I think in February of 20 I wrote, uh, Love in the Workplace. Mm Or no, maybe it was 19. No, maybe it was 21. I bet it was just last year. Huh. Anyway, it was really, how do we show love in the workplace? You know, obviously not through inappropriate manners and things like that, but how do platonic Yes. Coworkers in particular, but also of the same sex, whatever, but how do we show each other that we love each other and how do, how do we receive it? What's that look like? Yeah. And how do we feel loved at this place where we spend two thirds of our

Margo:

time? Kinda so interesting. This you don't know me well, but you're probably picking up on me. Yeah.

Curt:

Well it explain, sounds like we're, we're, we're sniffing up the same trail.

Margo:

I tell people openly, we gotta love on each other. Like especially through C Yeah, well, and in general. And so I just, I was at a community event and they asked me to speak and I, and I think my colleagues would say, she commonly says, um, We need to love on each other. Yeah. So that was pivotal in my career. Yeah. I'm trying to like, So again, Oh, and I

Curt:

wanted one more question too. Yeah. You said you were feeling kind of boxed out. Uh, is that. Oh, like from a, a male, like the boys make the big money and run the places and the ladies serve people kind of

Margo:

thing. Oh. Or what was that? No, that was family like. Oh, okay. I felt like my kids were taking on their own lives. Oh, they were? Yes. So they didn't need the mom as

Curt:

much. Gotcha, Gotcha. Now, now I'm understanding. I didn't know if that was a way to pierce the glass ceiling or if, uh, it was otherwise more of a

Margo:

passion, but yeah. Truly it was just a passion. Yeah. Cool. I had no idea where it would take me. Yeah. I just wanted it. Cool. Yeah. So finish up my PhD. Did the consulting. I taught at Regis for a while. Oh yeah. In CU Denver Business School. Cool. Love that. Love that. Like, I think, you know, if I ever. Get tired of this job, I'll go back and teach. Yeah. The students filled me up. I just love

Curt:

them. And were you teaching, like organizational development, the stuff that your PhD was focused

Margo:

on? Yeah. Pieces at cu I did. Mm-hmm. um, their first leadership class in their masters of healthcare. Um, I did the organization development one, and then at Regis it was a blend. It was either in their Masters of Healthcare administration Yeah. Or nursing.

Curt:

Interesting. And like how does getting into education after having been in. For a while. How, how does that look? Cause I, like, when I was in college, I actually thought that it would be fun to be a professor. Yes. Someday or whatever. And you know, I've got like degrees in the School of Heart knocks, but yes. Not much else. But how, how was you, you've obviously got more cred, but how did, how was that, were they like outreaching to you, trying to find you? Was it an intentional decision on your part? You thought you might stay in education even? Yeah, it

Margo:

was both. I would say see you reach out to me and I was down in Denver working at the time and so I'm like, I absolutely, I'll teach evening class there. And what I liked. And I think all profession professors add value, but I was curious if you taught and you were in the field, you were teaching, would that even bring more credibility to students or not? Mm. And so I found the students really appreciated my lens through that work. Yeah. And then Regis, I was intentional. I love Regis, and so I wanted to get in and they, they

Curt:

brought me in in a way. Yeah. Yeah. Very cool. Um, okay, so take me a little bit into that. So consulting,

Margo:

teaching. Yeah. And then, um, when I was a consultant, I own my own company and what I learned was I couldn't watch, I would wa make recommendations. They'd call me in for culture And if the CEO didn't love their. it was so telling that nothing was gonna go forward, right? Like it was gonna be a bad culture, it was not gonna be a nurturing work place. So this was so crazy. Cheyenne actually, um, was going through a transition and um, I talked to the CEO and he is like, Hey, I wonder if they if you would do interim CEO up here. And so I was talking to my consulting company and I said, This might be interesting. Maybe we do interim placement. Happy to give that a try. And so I went back up there and I fell in love with them. I fell in love with the board. It was, um, it was a rough time. They had some issues they wanted to improve and I loved that work. Yeah. And so I loved it so much. I always wanted to know if you were a CEO and reported right to a board. how much could you really impact? Cause there's no layers in between. Right. And so I, Joe Evans to this day is a close friend of mine. He was a board chair at the time. Yeah. And then Fran, um, Kaz was our chief legal officer, and her and I were best friends. We didn't meet until I was up there and we just got a ton of great work

Curt:

done. Well, that's, I, my, my belief is, is that everything, you know, like with a good board Yes. Obviously that gives you some rain, give you some Yes. Willingness to fail and try new things. Yes. Cause obviously, especially in a turnaround situation, Yes. If it, or maybe I'm not saying it was a turnaround. Yeah. But there was some things that weren't working. Right. Yep.

Margo:

Yep. So that was probably my hardest work, but best work. But then I missed Colorado. Yeah. And my daughter, I had moved her, I went through a divorce, um, moved her up to Cheyenne and that was hard. So Windsor, Colorado, Cheyenne, Wyoming, and middle school. And so, um, she and I both wanted to get to Colorado and, um, you said, we'll talk about faith in a minute and she's, Go ahead. Um, so I really believe doors open for a reason. And, uh, down in northern Colorado, Rick Sutton, who is awesome mm-hmm. had been down here for eight years and he left and one of the surgeons up in Cheyenne had come from Northern Colorado and said, Hey, we love you. Rick just left. I'm like, Oh, I want that job, And so I reached out to um, Jim Fernando at the time who had my role and said, Hey, super confidential. I'm very interested. I could see my boys every day then, um, cuz they were still in Windsor. Sure. And sure enough, two weeks to the day, which is unheard of in these roles, I got the Northern Colorado, That's wild CEO job. And then Jim retired the next year and Banner asked if I could do both. And here we are. Okay.

Curt:

So one question I or one observation, I guess You mentioned that when you were a consultant that you would recommend all these great things and then like people would do the smile and nod and then nothing would happen. I was gonna observe that these, these think tanks that we do at local think tank, they're peer advisory. and we have a number of coaches and consultants and things, people in that line of work that either are members and love it or they refer to us a lot because their clients with the power of peer pressure, plus they're good ideas, um, can get the things done that they say they're gonna do. Interesting. Because there's a lot of non-compliance when you're telling people how to fix mm-hmm. their

Margo:

stuff. Yeah. Yeah. It was fascinating. It was driving me crazy because they were so close to do a breakthrough, like in their culture. Um, and, and it'd be like, Hey, I think maybe your exec team, including you, you should do a 360 eval. So you got feedback on where your blinds buds are. And when the CEO is like, I'm good. Okay, well then we're not gonna get all the way where you need to go. And so that's what drove me back to go into the field. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Curt:

So, um, what would you have people know, like pull the curtain. Back on the operations, a little bit of a, of a health system and, and especially with a lens on how can, can we the people best navigate our, our, our health life in some ways, because it feels like insurance companies have a lot of power right now and are almost deciding what the hospitals should order as far as panels and things like that. Mm-hmm. I, it just feels a very, very challenging system to navigate mm-hmm. and get good outcomes. And how are, how are you going about trying to do the best on

Margo:

that? Yeah. I'd say a couple things. Totally. Be your advocate and your family's advocate. Mm-hmm. You see something not going right. Yeah. Jump on in. So when my mom got sick, she had dementia and I could not find a model of care for dementia. So I literally, Cindy Luzinski is here in the community and she's doing good dementia work. I went to England and studied my own model and brought it back to my mom. That's how drastic I am if I see a gap. But I would encourage everybody, if you're not getting the answer for you or your loved one, step up and be an advocate study. Um, I think most physicians, even though they might not love it, they know their patients are coming in super educated and they want options. And so I would just say don't let 'em shut you down. Um, if we're rushing you through your appointments, stop us. Um, I do like telehealth. I use it a lot personally. Yeah. Cause we are trying to be convenient, um, lower level of care. So I don't know what my, the medical staff will think when I say this, but I love acupuncture. I think alternative options. Yeah. We need to stay open to that. And I would say try to take really good care of yourselves. Yeah. And so at 60, I'm trying to be in better shape than I was at 40. Yeah. And really paying attention to. What am I eating and making good choice and making good physical activity happen. But also I hadn't taken good care of myself. So I went in after four years of not having a well check and said, Oh, I better like it in So I would say, pay attention to yourself and if we're not meeting your needs just in

Curt:

front of us, you gotta raise, Raise your hand sometimes. Cause it's so busy, it's so hectic. Just, you know, doctors get old in a few minutes if it's gonna figure, you know, make it work generally, but just gotta grab their attention sometimes. Yep,

Margo:

yep. I like it. And I would say pay attention to, Well, I always tell people we just live through a pandemic. Right? And if you don't think that it took emotional toll on you.

Curt:

You might need to talk, you might be, Yeah. I, I have this, uh, we call it the Thrives test. It's a self assessment on your business function. It's like the truth of your economic conditions and financial conditions, the how are your relationships, how is your health, you know, these different things. Yeah. And, uh, and if somebody, uh, ranks themselves too high, like basically a, a nine out of 10 or above on everything, then it's like, um, Sounds amazing. You're either like delusional or killing it. Mm-hmm. uh, ask a friend if you've got a distorted view of reality. Yes,

Margo:

yes. Yeah. So I think your emotional wellbeing is as important as your physical. Yeah.

Curt:

Um, talk to me about, I wanna noodle on that, uh, you mentioned acupuncture. Mm-hmm. So you're generally I've been kind of more eastern medicine than western medicine. Yeah. Thankfully. Yep. Um, in, in effort to kind of avoid. Yeah. The health system, if you can. Yep. Um, so tell me about your own journey in that regard. Does that go way back to your hippie days

Margo:

at college or, No, this is crazy. So I'm a orthopedic nurse. Okay. Never ever did I think I'd use acupuncture ever. Okay. Right. During Covid, I have a new Finland, 150 pounds. Mm. And he pulled my arm and I literally thought I tore my rotator. Mm. I'm like, I'm not going in. It was right during Covid. And so a friend of mine recommended someone here in Fort Collins and eight months later I had full range of motion. And then fast forward to Daniel. Do you wanna give that person a shout out? Frequent, Rachel? Yeah. Hugh is awesome. Okay. Hugh caster is awesome. And so he does a, a screen on you. He's super gentle and kind. Um, I hate needles and he is awesome. So then fast forward, I was running, I was prepping for a half marathon and two weeks ago I couldn't run a mile. I was up to 13 the week before I changed my shoes. And who knew? That's a big deal. And so I went in to see Hugh. I hadn't seen him in like a year. And I pulled my it in hamstring so I couldn't run the half. So that's, I'm going in right after here. I go in at six and he's, he, I'm telling you what, I could not run a mile. Yeah. Two weeks ago. And I did a half a mile yesterday, so I am, But he would, I think he'd say, You know why I love him is he will refer when he needs to. Yeah. And so I do think peop I, at least for me, I am staying open minded Yeah. To different approaches. I have

Curt:

a, a prospect, actually not a member right now, but a prospect that does chiropractic and she also does animal chiropractic. Hmm. Interesting. And she's like, One of the reasons I do it is like when people see their horse like changed from barely being able to walk to like walking good. Yeah. Like they change their whole mind about chiropractic. Yeah. Cause horses don't lie. Yeah.

Margo:

I think we all have to figure out what works for us. Yeah. With no judging. Yeah.

Curt:

Fair enough. Um, let's talk about Covid a little bit, shall we? Yeah. Always a favorite subject. Yeah. Um, so I guess like, talk to me about the, pull the curtain back on the lines. One of my, So I'm, I'm, I was a, and I stand by it. Like I, I, I chose not to get the vaccine because I. In my category of risk, I've encouraged my mom to get it. Mm-hmm. even though she was a little, she was, we're from North Dakota, right? Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, but she was in a health category in a, in a weight in class that I felt like, well, probably for you, but for me, I'd rather fight the disease and have kind of the shotgun immunity approach instead of the laser focused that probably won't be focused on the right spot on this bug. I read hundreds and hundreds of things before I came to that conclusion, but, So talk to me about the ethics around vaccine mandates and for healthcare staff, because that's one of the things that I really had a rub against with mm-hmm. With the administration, was these people that had almost certainly contracted the disease, recovered from it because they were serving frontline early before there was a vaccine. Losing energy jobs. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, talk to me about that general theme and that, that space. Yeah.

Margo:

So I think it's interesting when you go into healthcare, you, you are asked to make different decisions. Mm. To protect yourself and our patients. Yeah. And so early in flu shots, big controversy. Mm. And we mandate flu shots. Oh really? And people didn't understand that. Yeah. Um, and you can get waivers, so there's always a process. And if you get a waiver, then typically with flu, you'd wear the mask all the time. Oh, right. Even now. Oh, wow. And so mandating isn't uncommon. I think the controversy with C felt very different to people. Yeah. So I stand by banner's decision. Um, I was seeing people just go down and our calling is to take care of the community. Yeah. So if we would not, And workers go down, Yes. If we would not have mandated. We would not have had the care team to take care of y'all. And so, again, as long as a health system offers a waiver process and what we did in Banner, and I think all of all the facilities did this, If you did not wanna get it, you needed to say why. Yeah. And there were some religious reasons. Absolutely. Some physical reasons. Yeah. Physician wait on,

Curt:

I'm just scared that this isn't the right thing for me. Yeah. I mean, I, I don't know if you've been paying attention, but I'm, I'm not. I think the jury's still out on it for young people. Do you, do you

Margo:

disagree? I probably disagree. I think it's too early to tell right now. Yeah. And it's interesting cuz I have good, lively debate with my own kids. Right. Um, I still think it was right that we, as long as we had a process Yeah. To get a waiver we had to mandate.

Curt:

Fair enough. Well, and I guess the other question I had was, Wasn't the bulk of the challenge. No, I guess not. Cuz the, like the first wave was that fall of 20. Yes. And then again, there was another wave kind of with Delta 21, that was probably the heavier challenge.

Margo:

I'd say. March, 2020, we got our first patient in northern Colorado and that was hard. That went all the way to Easter and then, um, it was cyclical for a while and then the last surge was last November. And so it was a, this has been a long go. And I would say the last one was to me almost a, uh, scariest one to watch because we were seeing younger people. So I say young being me mm-hmm. And, um, I just remember, and I wish I would've done more of this, so this is not about me, but what helped me is last November I asked all exempt people, so people that typically aren't at the bedside to pick up a couple shifts, four hours. And so I did ICU at McKee on a Friday night and Saturday morning and that was unbelievable. Mm. There were people my age on ventilators and that was hard to watch. Mm. And I think that's the other thing, just from this side looking, you know, in it, it hadn't this variant and all of 'em, you never know who's gonna get sick and who doesn't. Yeah. And so I, I would see super young, 38 year old runner, Oh, you have cardiac myopathy that's chronic. So I'm a single mom with asthma. Done. I'm getting it. So it was all interesting to watch. Yeah. And I almost wonder if we are at an advantage cuz we got to see the inside and, and it's so controversial.

Curt:

It really is. And I'm sorry to put you on this spot. No. And I think you know more about

Margo:

it, the topic than most. Yeah. And I think what's important is no judging Okay, good. We make options. And if you work in healthcare, We're gonna ask you to get vaccinated, but flu and others,

Curt:

I had no idea that if you didn't want the flu vaccine, you had to wear mask a before that even. Yeah,

Margo:

yeah. Interesting. Cause again, it, our calling is to protect and care for our community. So if we get sick, we can't be there for you and we don't wanna give you it either. Yeah. I mean, so, but not a lot of people know that. And I think as healthcare leaders, we could have done a better job explaining that. Well, I think one

Curt:

of the, one of the important reasons to stay healthy is so that you can recognize when something aint working,

Margo:

right. Yes. Yes,

Curt:

yes. Yeah. I got tested, uh, every time I was exposed. Yes. And every time I didn't feel quite right. And I have 15 negatives in a row, you know? Yes. So I took

Margo:

it seriously. Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. Yeah.

Curt:

So, um, I guess in, in retrospect, are there things that Banner would've done differently? Like had it played out different or, or is it, We did the best we could with what we had, and I don't, Yeah. Regret. Certain things. I don't even know what that would be. I'm just curious about what, reflecting back on, on an organizational, I guess taking the brunt of the Yeah. The, the Viking attack. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Or whatever and, and having repulsed it largely I think. Yeah. Yeah. I think overall we do. Okay.

Margo:

Yep. Yeah. I think, um, and we tried maybe more community education on what we were seeing. Um, visitor restrictions hard, that was hard decisions. Mm-hmm. and I felt like Kevin Onger and I would meet with the health department directors. So Kevin, Mike, counterpart at U c and the two health department directors, Lair County and Weld, we met every Friday morning. Um, it was Gonzalez on LA Skin, sorry. Um, Oh, Mark on, um, on the well county side. And I think that worked well, I think, but I don't think the community knew that we were that aligned in that tight mm-hmm. understanding what was happening where. So I, and I hope, and we're trying, we're trying to keep connected. Yeah. Because of that, I'd say communication, even internally, we, we always could do different. And then I'd say, um, the other thing I would've done different internally is had exempt people like me out frontline more often. Mm. I think that was so helpful.

Curt:

Troops or whatever that were

Margo:

there. Yeah. And you could see, you could see the emotional toil, but you also could see, oh, this is what they. You mean? I I would've done that differently. Yeah.

Curt:

I have a phrase, a motto I've been sharing for over 10 years now. It's one of our values at loco. It's, uh, ask of your needs and share of your abundance. Yes, yes, yes. It's hard to do both. Yes. You know, and in your case, I love that you actually, Hey, we have way too many gaps. We're gonna burn these people up. Yes. Some of us exempt people, especially if we have nursing skills in, in retire and whatever that are, you know, on hold right now, let's go use 'em.

Margo:

Yeah. Yeah. Love that. Yeah. So I would've done that different.

Curt:

Yeah. Um, oh gosh. I had a really amazing question and it just slipped my mind. It was about that season again. Mm. That's gonna, it's gonna escape me. That's okay. Um, anything that you would like to just have? Oh, that was the, that was the thing is it's so hard to get people's attention now. Mm-hmm. like if you're city of Fort Collins and you need everybody in Fort Collins to know something. like it's impossible. Mm-hmm. like, you really can't do it in this fractured media world. And not that you ever had a chance to get everybody. Yep. But like when I moved to Fort Collins, probably the Colorado one Yes. Was something that 80% of people read on a, at least occasional basis. So if you had a big public health announcement and you put it in there for a week, you'd hit most people. Yep. Yep. Now it ain't that way. Yeah. And ain't that way. Mm-hmm. At all. Mm-hmm. like even, you know, you couldn't even like let people know you two is coming next week. Right. Right. You are right.

Margo:

It has to, it has to go viral or something, right? Yes, Yes, yes. Yes. You know what's interesting? So I do two things. One, I would love to do a shout out to the health department, um, for Lair Coney, honest to God, they were amazing. And their state health board or their health board for Lair Coney. Amazing. To your point, you know, you wonder going forward if TikTok isn't the way or how do you do multimedia Yeah. To get messages out. And I think it's gonna take us three to five years to rebuild credibility in our industry. Mm. And what I always, people are like when they know what I do, very, um, open with what we should have done different. Mm. And I just calmly say back, We've never led a pandemic. Yeah. And so I stand by it. You can take your shots. At cdc, we've never ran a pandemic and so we did our best and all good intent. And so I think going forward, I just hope we can start neutralizing and coming to the middle and start really paying attention to humanity and people, And I always, people would tell you better, my favorite value is grace and let's be grace filled. Yeah. Um, because there was no malicious intent in any of this. I remember Kevin Unger and I would go to their, um, health department board meetings and I would, and we would just get beat up at the board and the health Right systems. And I would say we have no motive to not be honest. We have no motive. Yeah. Um, and so I think if we can start thinking good intent again and really reentering us as a population and then figuring out how to communicate we'll get there. Well,

Curt:

yeah. I think there's definitely a lot of opportunity to, to reconnect mm-hmm. and, and have that kind of, uh, that that budding of heads. Mm-hmm. go away. But I do think that that is a major challenge of. of governments and of citizens is just, if you have things that everybody should know mm-hmm. how do, how do you make that happen in today's world? And so, yeah, I don't know. It's gonna be interesting. Well, one thing I wanted to spend a little time on, because you have such an expertise in organizational development and kind of culture building and, and that stuff is like spill your knowledge into our world just a little bit. And from that element, especially like what do leaders need to know about how to, how to build high functioning, high trust, high love.

Margo:

Teams. Yeah, so I'd say I was down in Denver at a big facility and this was before, you know, go be that secret boss. You could feel the fear, like no one would talk and no one would put their hand up. And so I decided to rotate my office, best thing I ever did. And so I'd end up in a cubicle for a week and that was so insightful at first. They can't fake being nice for a week, so you're gonna know what's going on cuz you're stuck with me for a week. And they were super quiet the first day. I'm like, All right you guys, you can't be this quiet like I'm here. And so I would say, don't underestimate that. Um, and then I went down to facilities and they put me in a little office. And so key departments that were like integrated is where I'd go. Um, ended up in the med staff lounge and never left because that was, uh, interesting place to just plant myself is so you just

Curt:

really gotta know. You gotta be there. Yes. Understand. Like it's not, What I'm hearing a little bit is when you think about organizational culture, it isn't just one thing. Mm-hmm. like the, the janitorial staff has a different culture to some extent than the nursing crew and the doctors. And they all have to be friends, but you won't know what those things are unless you spend a little time with him. Yeah.

Margo:

In fact, I was at ncmc probably it was before, maybe it was during Covid. I went with the, uh, housekeeper and he, he does the garbage, the trash. Right. He has his master's degree. He worked at Kodak and he just wanted to do meaningful work. Yeah. And so I'm like, Okay, we might wanna tap into you Um, so, And he was happy where he was. Yeah. Yeah. But wow. So you, if you're curious and open and listen, you'll learn a lot.

Curt:

Yeah. Fair enough. Um, so. Like, how are things now? You know, it feels like the, the medical system is kind of a, a not to a terrible reference, but a, a a woman that's been in a, a, a abusive relationship, I mean, a very traumatized state right now and probably understaffed. And we've got my blog last month was, uh, Labor Takes a Vacation. So hiring and finding people. Um, what's, what's the state of the industry in, in healthcare in general at Banner, more specifically,

Margo:

appropriate? It's so interesting with our culture talk, we're, I think as an industry, we're broken, We're broken hearted, we're broken spirited, and again, it's gonna take us, I've had three years to mend, um, because you can't just forget what you just lived through. And although we brought as much help as, as we could, they were so expensive, we can't keep doing that. And so it's finding that balance of. Your soul recovering at the same time. We're asking them to keep taking care of patients. Yeah. And so it's almost like if you fought in the war and they come back and recover. I don't know if veterans ever recover, but we're asking veterans to go back in a war. You know what I mean? Like, it's not as bad as C but it's stressful right now. And so I literally am using much more love language and compassion and appreciation and trying to figure out this workforce challenge. So I would say from a community, I would literally be grace filled right now. Hmm. Um, and that's, and people would tell you, that's what I say to them. Um, we gotta love on each other right

Curt:

now. Yeah. Fair enough. Um, anything else from the kind of career journey that feels necessary or should we take a little quick break and before we get the Yeah,

Margo:

I think I would end with the career. I get questions like, it's so interesting. College kids will say, I want your job. Well, they probably want my lifestyle And so I always am curious about that. So people will ask me, Hey, how do I get, you know, how do I move up and make a difference? Just make a difference, right? And I think if their hearts are good and they're authentic and they're shown up that way, if you want leadership, people are gonna find you versus you find them. Yeah, that's what I, I think people get glamorized by these roles. I'm like, Mm, I'm like responsible for 6,000 people in a lot of people's lives. And so I'm grateful and if people want these roles, we need you. But be authentic, curious. and just, we'll seek you out if you seek us help. Yeah. That

Curt:

was like, I guess my next question is, is if if somebody's in that, you know, 18 year old mm-hmm. Margo place mm-hmm. Of like wondering what they should do as the next step, and they're thinking about healthcare mm-hmm. As a field, like, is that, is that gonna be a good choice 5, 10, 20, 30 years from now? Always.

Margo:

Always. Because I think for me, I never thought I'd have this job ever. Right. But people sought me out. We will always need people and there's such

Curt:

diversity. And who are the best kinds of people? Like when you think about all the great employees and mm-hmm. leaders, mid managers, Cetera, cetera. Like what are the consistent characteristics of a, of a great healthcare professional? Yeah.

Margo:

I just told somebody this, I had a barista up in Wyoming, Jackie, she was a barista, had her mba. Um, she was connected, engaged. Authentic, genuine, and just wanna make a difference. Boom. I'll hire you and put you anywhere So if you're in that category, we were just joking. I said if I see someone fun in a, like a literally Starbucks, Oh, have you thought about healthcare? Because you need that energy and engagement. Yeah. And then technically, of course it's a lot of schooling depending on what you wanna do. But I'll take someone with courage, honesty, integrity, and a thirst to make a difference. I'll teach you the technical side. Sure. In a

Curt:

minute, all of us can learn that kind of stuff. Mm-hmm. I love that. Thank you. Yeah. Um, let's just come right back in a little bit. Awesome. So we've been having some fun conversation off camera here, but just about, uh, various topics and I'd like to say I'm an inch deep and a mile wide. Mm. I don't, I know a tiny bit about a lot of things. Mm-hmm. But not too much about much. Um, wonder how would you, would characterize your stuff? What are you most curious about?

Margo:

So I just had this conversation with a colleague. I think it's important to know that my heritage is a gypsy. Oh, really? Yeah. Oh, cool. And so my great grandma was from Sylvania and my great grandpa dad's side, um, from Bohemia. And so when I said that to Con and my colleague, he's like, Could you just lead with that going forward? Because that kind of just puts you all in a good visual So I'm much more like. I'm eclectic. Yeah. Like I like all, Well I'd say I d I'm deep in OD organization development. Sure. And I have a million and I'm a Gemini. I probably should add that too. Um, I have a million interests. Yeah.

Curt:

Yeah. Um, I have only had one run in with gypsies in my life. Okay. It was when they picked three of our five pockets when we were in Rome on the subway. Yeah. Sorry. Anyway, but I was so impressed. It was like they were amazing at their craft. Interesting. Two stops on the subway, they got three five of us peaches and who knows how many other people. Like we remembered who it was and you. Interesting. But we didn't feel it. We didn't notice it Anyway. Interesting. At digress. Um, and what do you know about gypsies? Cuz I don't

Margo:

know nothing. So it's nothing. So I, so I was on a board and the board members from Ukraine and I told 'em, you know, my great-grands from um, Uh, Sylvania. He's like, Oh my gosh. That like totally summarizes you. I'm like, Well, tell me more about this. So ethnic, like, wanna learn more?

Curt:

Yeah. Yeah. No, it's definitely a, a very, like, aside from the Jews, the gypsies are one of the more unique. People ethnic. Yes. Groups of, and I don't know anything about 'em of all. So yeah, I would like to learn more some my to do. So, um, we always talk about faith, family, and politics, um, but I do give you options as to which is first and, and how deep we go. Okay. Um, we've talked about faith a little bit already. Mm-hmm. would you, is that kind of in your inkling to start there? Or where do you like let's

Margo:

end there cuz that's kind a fun topic. Let's go politics first. Okay.

Curt:

I like it. We got an election coming up in about a month. Mm-hmm. this podcast will probably come out too late for your endorsements to make a difference. Right. So, but where would you, do you put yourself on the spectrum? Are you independent person?

Margo:

I would say I moderate, so I like to vote. Character values are important more than policy actually. And that's where my son and I get into crazy debates. Yeah. So, as a mom, I like to teach respectful dissent and how to be respectfully disagreeing. Mm-hmm. and so, I just, I'm a moderate, sometimes I'll vote Republican, but very, I'd be a very, uh, liberal or a conservative. You're

Curt:

a closet libertarian too. Like everybody, a lot of eye members are in my, in my guests, you know, they, they, they're tend to be socially more liberal and they want a smaller government that like ensures both more freedoms and, and less debt. Yeah.

Margo:

I think we're trying to find our way, right? As a country. Yeah. I just, you know, I think about our forefathers and being sincere, like we've lost our way. And so I just hope whoever gets in, wherever we come to that middle ground and just look out for the people, the greater people and quit putting parties in it. Yeah. Um, I'll tell you who I loved, and this might be controversial, Angie Patone, I have never helped fundraise. I helped her because she always would walk the aisle. I don't know who that is. She's awesome. She was probably in the late nineties. Okay. She was a state representative in Fort Collins and then she ran senate against Marilyn Musgrave. Oh, okay. And, um, Andy would walk the center and she would really look at policy and impact. And now she's actually on Governor S'S cabinet as, um, education

Curt:

I saw a terrible, I watched the, uh, debate between governor pulls and, uh, Heidi Gnal the other day. And afterwards I was checking out the Facebook comment threads, cuz that's, that's where you really see the good stuff. And there was somebody that, there was a couple pulls actually that were giving Heidi a hard time because she had served on Bennett's cabinet and in a different capacity for another Democratic governor. It's like, Yeah. I consider that a mark of honor, not, Yeah. Whatever. But it, we, people are untouchables these days.

Margo:

Yes. I wish we would suspend judgment and just really, Vote who you want is best and quit being so mean about it. Like Right. I think a poor Cheney, I'll just say that. Like Right. She's trying to do, she's in her mind Yeah. What's best. Right. Let her be and don't go after people's families. Right. Like, what are, do right here?

Curt:

Like, I think that's probably the biggest thing that I, that cuz I, I, I, I've never voted for a, a major priority presidential Okay. Yeah. Candidate. I voted for Kanye last time. Seemed to be even more of a protest vote than the libertarian. Yeah. Um, but like, if I had of a, a major act to grind against Trump mm-hmm. because I, I don't have that many, but that's, that kind of Yes. Small madness, um, was probably my biggest ax to grind in, in doing things like excommunicating, because frankly that's my biggest ax to grind on the, the, the severe left. Uh, front is that kind of cancel culture kind of thing. And, and he was trying to do it without the media on his side, so it doesn't really work as good. It just makes him look like an

Margo:

asshole. Yeah. And I, his level of disrespect to people, again, percent, this is where my son, the handicap, right. Like women, like what and what I learn in roles, the higher up you go the more perine you better be in your values. Mm. And so, yeah, I think it'll be interesting. It's an interesting season. Yeah. And I just hope we get back to what we're really supposed to be about in this

Curt:

country. Yeah. There was a season early in my, I guess in the Clinton days and stuff where the, the parties were kind. Um, trying to say who could be more moderate. Yeah. Right. Yeah.

Margo:

You know,

Curt:

today is not

Margo:

that day. No, it is not. We gotta come back a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Both of us. Yeah. Fair

Curt:

enough. Yeah. Um, anything else on that you run for someday? No, I, No, no, Never. You'd really be good at it. You though a lot about organizations development and I,

Margo:

so I do a lot lo well, I, so I have, in this role, I'm in a lot of legislative issues and we have a VP of government liaison, Jason Zoso, who's awesome and does this for a living in Banner. And I told him, be my whisper because I could never do this for a living. Um, I think I'm, I think I'm too idealistic maybe. Hmm. I like to influence, I like to influence policy.

Curt:

So if. Could just like snap your fingers and you were governor without having to go through the whole process of trying to be governor. And you were in either Heidi's shoes mm-hmm. or Doc or Paul's shoes For the what? 2023 to 27 season. What were, what would be some of your priorities to make Colorado work better? Cause mm-hmm. I do think there's some opportunity to get better.

Margo:

Yeah. I take a hard look at education. What are we doing and what do they need? Cuz that is truly the core of who we are. Long term transportation. I'd wanna really understand what in the world are we doing for our infrastructure? Cuz I think that feeds business. And then, um, how could I not say, look at really healthcare? What do we want? Um, what do we want as people? Like what, what's our goal? And then work in a collaborative partnership to achieve.

Curt:

Fair enough. Okay. Yeah. Um, you said you wanted to save faith for last. Yeah. So that leaves family here. Yeah. Mm. Um, do you wanna like, jump in the way back machine and talk about your first marriage? Was that still a hap Yeah. Yeah. You, you know, haven't canceled him or anything necessarily. Yeah.

Margo:

I think it was the hardest decision I've ever made in my life, really? Um, yeah. So I met him in college and we had a lot in common. Yeah. Um, three beautiful children and then a lot happened that I just wanna protect him. But, um, yeah, I think I take commitment super serious. Yeah. And I could tell it wasn't healthy for me to stay. So a lot of counseling, a lot of commitment to try to make it work and it didn't. Yeah. And it probably, you know, if you do, if you listen to any Brene Brown work. I think for, for me, divorce caused the most shame in my life. Hmm. And so I've done some, lots of therapy, lots of personal healing around it. Yeah. And I do believe all of us deserve, um, a life partner. And so I wish him the best. And, um, I haven't found anyone, but I do think that. Right. Yeah. I think, and I'll talk about,

Curt:

um, no later marriages, long term relationships after that.

Margo:

Mm-hmm. nothing. Mm-hmm. Yeah. We were married 25 years and then I had, so custody for my daughter raised her and I wanted zero distractions. Yeah. Um, and. And I love my kids, so I always tell them, if I knew now what I knew, then I'd do it again. Yeah. Cause I love my kids. Right? Yeah. So a 30 year old or 32 year old who's awesome, All of their souls are good. Um, so that's Steven. He lives in Windsor. Joe is my middle. Love him. Big heart. Big, big heart. And they went to Windsor High School. Mm-hmm. They went to UNC for their communication, um, degrees. Steven got a master's in coaching.

Curt:

Is there, then the daughter is the youngest. Yeah. And then

Margo:

Emily is 19. Sorry, I didn't mean to sidetrack. That's just trying to remember. Yeah. Yeah. And she, um, she's at St. Ben's in Minnesota.

Curt:

Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I ask people, if you haven't been listening to my podcast for too long, for a one word description of their children, Are you up for the challenge? Yeah. Old souls. All of them. All of them. All of them. I wanna differentiate them. Let's do one word for each. It was Steven, Joe, and Emily.

Margo:

I'd say, I'll start with Emily. I need a hyphenated word wise, Sage.

Curt:

Yeah. That's pretty strong for a young lady.

Margo:

Yeah. Joe Empath. Mm mm He's so good. Oh my God, he's so good. He's so

Curt:

lucky. Is this the one you argue

Margo:

with the most? Mm-hmm. They all literally, I'm blessed. Not that

Curt:

you argue, but you mentioned that you were having

Margo:

opinion on something things, So this might be a little mom tip. We would have debates in our house. That's fun.

Curt:

Yeah. Yeah. Oh, and last one before we, we forget

Margo:

Steven. Um, I'll give him the old soul.

Curt:

Okay. Yeah. Um, so tell me a little bit more about each, each of these, these persons and was that old soul, was that like, is that from. Their dad is, It doesn't seem like you, you seem like a a Mm. Maybe you were an old soul. Yeah. It's hard for me to tell. Yeah. You might not have changed much since

Margo:

you were 18. That's interesting. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I think they would say so. They are loving, kind, non-judging, accepting of everyone. Um, they do anything for me. Yeah. And what that looks like is I was scared to death up in, um, Cheyenne. So I always had dogs and I didn't get, I didn't get the dogs and as me and am up there and I heard a noise, 2:00 AM I called Steven my oldest, he and a friend drove up. Like, what are they gonna do? Like if someone was coming after me, they would've been done Right. You got there. Right. But each of them would drop anything for me. Yeah. Mm. I

Curt:

love them. That's pretty cool. Yeah. You know, I think, uh, if you do it right, that's the way it should

Margo:

be. And they've never turned on me. I think I was hardest on Steven, so I feel bad about that. Mm-hmm. and I, but I've owned it all. Like I told 'em I was a workaholic and I missed. Uh, some of their like, big into lacrosse. I miss some of their most important games. Is that

Curt:

part of what, you know, it sounds like there's some things you don't want to talk about necessarily. Yeah. But was your workaholic this part of the challenge of, of having a, a longer

Margo:

marriage even? No, I would say, um, he had some, I don't think he'd, he had some behavioral health issues, so, um, what I would've done different though, and I tell my nieces this, no matter what, I think we would've came to the same outcome. Yeah. But what I try to do as a leader have date nights, make sure as a leader, employer, encourage family time. Make sure work isn't their most important thing. Yeah. If someone's sick at home, come on, let's work around this. Let's figure it out. Mm-hmm. So I do think from a life impact, it has made me a better leader.

Curt:

So tell me about this Impath. Um, Yes. What's, what's he gonna do with himself?

Margo:

This is amazing. He is teaching. So, I don't know if you've heard this, but if you have a four year degree and you pass your criminal background check, you can pick up in sub. Oh, cool. And he's done. Awesome. That's fun. He's done awesome. Yeah, he takes me last week and he's doing awesome. And they would love him cuz his heart's so good. Yeah. Yeah.

Curt:

Yeah. No, I think that would be a really fun, uh, thing if I ever felt like I knew enough about anything. But I guess that's part of teaching though, right? Is like you do it so you can learn more in some ways if you're doing it right. Yeah.

Margo:

And has done kindergarten, second, seventh grade, it's awesome. That's

Curt:

pretty cool. Mm-hmm. So anything else in that family dynamic? Anybody

Margo:

else? I'd say m is gonna be a fashion seata. I think she's gonna write incredible books. Um, yeah. I think they're all gonna do amazing work. Awesome.

Curt:

Well you guys, uh, your mom is very proud of you and she loves you very much. Yeah. So, um, faith, Yeah.

Margo:

Only thing that got me through. I remember when my marriage crushed down. We almost were bankrupt actually due to some of my husband's decisions, ex-husbands. And I remember to this day sitting on a rock and saying, I can't do it. Like I can't do it. I'm gonna be bankrupt. So you hear those stories Yeah. Of professional people getting bankrupt overnight and you don't believe it. Yeah. I was there. Wow. So I was either gonna live with my brother in a trailer house, literally, or take Cheyenne and all. Like I always tell my kids, Wow, miracles happen. You gotta pay attention. And only because I missed a flight in Dia, I connected with the CEO up in Cheyenne. I got that job and it saved our, our economic, um, family. Yeah. And so Faith gets me through every single thing. Everything.

Curt:

It's a pretty interesting, I. Like to say Providence. Mm. Uh, when I was moving from Colorado Springs back to Fort Collins, I was interviewing with, for various jobs, I had found a house that I wanted to buy. Mm. I, uh, had sold, had a contract to sell my house in Colorado Springs. But, but I didn't have a job, you know, and, and my mortgage lender was getting pretty nervous and stuff, and then boom. Right. Just, just as Yes, it needed to happen. Got the job, offered letter, you know, faxed it Yes. To my mortgage lender. Yes. And mortgage went through, and then the, you know, the person that bought our house sold theirs at 8:00 AM bought ours at 10:00 AM We drove up here and bought the Fort Collins house. Yeah. And boom. N it was provided for. Yeah. So you, you mentioned Catholic school. Mm-hmm. and a little bit of ca Are you been Catholic your whole life or has it changed

Margo:

for Well then when I got married I was Lutheran. Okay. So I'm nondenominational Christian. Okay.

Curt:

Yeah. So you go to kind of just a, a church that isn't necessarily aligned

Margo:

with Yeah. Other churches been kind of thing cause of Covid. I went to a ton. I still do. I listen, my kids would tell you this Sunday, I probably do two, three services on a podcast. That's fine. I wanna reconnect though. I miss the community, so I need to come back and figure out a good connection. So

Curt:

did you kind of, because of your role and healthcare and things, so you kind of restricted your outside the office activities quite a bit. Yeah, I did. Yeah. Um, and so, Uh, What? You're in Windsor, you said? Yeah. Yeah. So Windsor Community Church is my, uh, my, Oh really? My, uh, brother-in-law and his family go there. It's over by automation. Way over on the far side of town. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Totally nondenominational. Awesome. Part of a small network that's called a Crossway. Okay. Um, that Mountain view in, uh, Old Town Fort Collins, the interesting original. Okay. But there's like 20, 30 Oh interesting. Batch of Czech churches that we support. Yeah. So, anyway. Interesting. I'll show you. I'll that, Yeah, yeah. Um, so say, yeah, we've done faith, family, politics, your local experience. So you promised me a pretty good one

Margo:

here. Oh my gosh. So you're gonna love this. I am actually, So when I, um, in Covid do an icu, it was a Saturday morning, and what you do is you make rounds with the physician and you go to every patient room in the hallway. And I was looking in and there was a couple my age, and it was when we lifted restrictions and you could be with her loved one. Hmm. So she would come in every day and hold her husband's hand. 8:00 AM Was he in for Covid or Covid? Okay. And he was gonna have a long journey if he survived. And so in his room, had all these pictures about their family and you could tell vacations. And I looked in there and I'm like, All right sister, you gotta take in life different. And so I turned 60 in May and in January, January, February 1st, I told everybody work boards that I'm on, my kids, my family, my friends. I'm like, I'm doing 60 amazing things this year. I don't know what they look like, but go om ge. I took ballet at impulse and so adult ballet class, I'm thinking, oh my age. Mm. Average 25. Loved it. loved it. Took French. I'm going to need that one again. Um, I did skate skiing super hard. I went snowing, skate skiing. Yes. Oh, that's like those little dinky things. No. So people think that they're cross country skis. Yeah. And if you watch Olympics, it's the one sport they totally cra like fell to the ground in exhaustion. And it's true. So instead of cross country skiing, think cross country skis and you skate on 'em, like you dance on skis, like you, you push to the side, your heart rate goes to 185 in a minute. Yeah. I did a silent disco outside in va, um, snow skiing. I went to Bora like this. You

Curt:

would bucketlist like basically since Well,

Margo:

but I didn't make it right. So like, on calls, like teams meetings, I'm like, All right you guys, if you were me, what would you do? And I'm getting all these great ideas, but what I, what I really wanna think about is, How intriguing this has been for others. And so this one woman, she's in her forties, she had breast cancer and she's like, Walmart, Margo. I was so grateful that I lived through that diagnosis. But now hearing your story, I'm making a list with my husband. What are we doing this summer? Yeah. Like, and there was older people, like on a board, he's 70 from Utah. He is like, Okay, I, I need to rethink things. I need to do more things with my wife. Yes, you do. And so the whole appreciation for life is what I wanna talk about. Like not now, but I really

Curt:

wanna think about it's your passion right now. And what, Well, you know this, I don't know if you, Have you ever listened to Jill Rogan, by the way? No. So he has probably spawn the creation. At least dozen, maybe hundreds of podcasts by now. Because if you're talking to a guest that's like this cool, like robotic engineering guy that's written this book and has this popular YouTube channel, it's like, Dude, you gotta start a podcast. Yeah. Well, Jordan Peterson is one of 'em, Huh? Who I just mentioned. Yeah. And, uh, anyway, the, You gotta start a podcast I, I'm

Margo:

not joking. So I think you should, People have said put on Instagram, it's interactive. Like the mo the, the, I just like to put into words, some people have said, Okay, what's been your best? They're all been different and they've all been awesome. Yeah. Like ice cream party for my niece's, kids with a love and different flavors. The joy, I would say the joy has been my. Unbel. I did the incline. Oh my God. The Manitou. Um, yes, I

Curt:

haven't done that. Oh my God. I'm too scared

Margo:

it, I did it up and then I was unmetered parking, and so I'm like, Oh, I can go back down. Instead of taking the four mile trip down what you should do. Right. Who?

Curt:

Huh? That seems harder to go down in

Margo:

that super hard, Super hard.

Curt:

Really hard. So you've really transformed your, your physical, everything. Self. A bit in the last two years, especially, I

Margo:

think people would say I've always taken good care, but I have more like all in from a holistic wellbeing. Yeah. And I think I have felt joy more deeply this year than I have ever had in my life.

Curt:

Hmm. I think that's awesome. Yeah. Like, I don't, a lot of times I say like, How come people find you? But you're not really in a kind of a position where you want a bunch of people to email. You think

Margo:

LinkedIn? LinkedIn would be good. Okay.

Curt:

Yeah. Yeah. That'd be awesome. Nope. You outta LinkedIn and you'll, you know, respond messages and stuff. Yeah.

Margo:

Especially if they have some more. I have my last court, I gotta, you know, finish strong. So if they have some good ideas Yeah. And what I should do. I'd

Curt:

love that. So what is your path from here? Like if you were going to imagine, like, if, if things work out just like you want 'em, do you want to retire in that next kind of five year span? Leave that to somebody else and it's, Yeah. It seems not to, not to like tip the Yeah. Yeah. Tip the thing. But it seems like you're intrigued on doing some, some of your stuff

Margo:

again. Yeah, Yeah. Yeah. I'd love, I always tell, um, banner's really good about succession planning. Yeah. So I'm good for five years. Yeah. Um, as long as I add value and I'm growing people that will take my

Curt:

role like that. If they dumped you before then that's fine. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You get it

Margo:

figured out there. Yeah. And then, um, I'm really paying attention to hobbies. Like what I watch when people, I read a really good book, Strength to Strength, and how do you, he called it crystallized knowledge. How can I keep adding value at age 65? And I think there's a way, like either hospice, I might do, um, I'll do something or teaching or writing, but um, yeah, I am, and I'm gonna take in life as is. Like, yeah, I'll work hard, but I am fricking playing hard here. do

Curt:

you, do you have a name for your potential podcast? Uh,

Margo:

well, so my, my daughter and I were talking, she's a writer, of course. She's like, Mom, I think you should do the 60th year. I'm like, Well, I could, but for a podcast, um, Joy has to be in it. I just don't know what that looks like. Hmm.

Curt:

Well, I, I, that's what I'm feeling from you is that, uh, that you could really enjoy. not just celebrating this amazing year that you've had and all those things, but like celebrating all the different things that life can hold. Life can do. Yes. Yes. We'll get in big routines.

Margo:

Yes. Yes. Yeah.

Curt:

Anything, um, anything that you want to ask me? We're, we're ready to wrap it up anytime here.

Margo:

Yeah. I'd be curious, like when you think about a, a leader in healthcare, is that, is am, am I? Who you imagine? Hmm.

Curt:

Well, if, um, a good days um, but I mean, I, I've known Kevin under a little bit for years mm-hmm. And watched him speak a bunch of times and he's definitely a worthy leader. Yep. Yeah. If you will. And, and I've known others, you know, my sister has worked in healthcare mm-hmm. and so, so, Yes. Yeah. You know, I think generally it's a, it's a hard. Industry and you have to be people first and you have to be smart and hard working and determined. Otherwise you're gonna find something different to do. Yeah, yeah. And so, yeah. Yeah. I think in a lot of ways you are what I imagine, but you're definitely much less hardhearted toward the notion then than otherwise. Yeah. Yeah. But, Oh, can we backtrack? Yeah. Yeah. All the way back to faith. Yeah. Cause like. You were Catholic for a long, long, long time, and then now you're not. Like, was that a messy divorce for you? Was it associated with your divorce?

Margo:

No, even, Well, it was interesting. Um, I just had a really good conversation with my parents and, um, I knew, I, I didn't agree with all the Catholic beliefs so early in like, I bet I was 26. Youngest is six, like I said, first to leave the Catholic faith. Mm. Um, and they were very loving. So my, luckily my grandma on my dad's side was a Lutheran, so that felt like a easy compromise. Right. Be more like grandma. Yeah. As long as they knew, I believed they actually were okay with it. Oh, really?

Curt:

Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Good. I've, I've seen both. Yes. Same in, in that kind of background and space and whatever, and so, yeah. Like is it like the confessional to a priest instead of to Jesus kind of thing? That kind of, That's what I felt was always probably the most challenging about the Catholic faces. Faith. Yeah. Is like, No, you gotta talk to the priest and tell him your things. You can't talk to God directly ish. Yeah. I

Margo:

thought it was interesting that the people in power were single males. Mm. Fair. And not a lot of voice to females or others. Yeah. And I didn't get a good appreciation for the struggle of marriage. Yeah. And so just felt very linear in how they translated the Bible. And I wondered if they were open to more diverse voice, if that religion would get stronger. Yeah. And so I had a hard time with that. I

Curt:

think that, I really love the way that you phrased that because like being married to a woman, And raising children with that person for a man is like the hardest thing that you will ever do. And vice versa. right? Yes. Right. And being a woman married to a man. And so how, how do you really expect people to be a really good shepherd? Yes. When they have no knowledge of this experience unless it's car and totally inappropriate. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Intriguing.

Margo:

Yeah. I think our faith journey is different. And then you don't know it until you experience it. Yeah. And so again, if they'd be more open minded and balanced at leadership model out, I think that would be an interesting

Curt:

model for them to, Well, now, and even our church, um, like we have women that are great leaders within our church, but there is like a, a verse or a couple of verses that are like, you know, Yeah. Women should not be the teachers of men and whatever. And so our church takes that seriously. Yeah. Yeah. And we don't have women teach from the pulpit, although we give them lots of opportunities. Generally. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and so, and I'm not saying that's right or wrong. Yeah, no, I get you necessarily, Right. Yeah. Yeah. But I do, But, but our pastor is, you know, a former major league baseball player that's married to his college sweetheart, and they have five kids and they've adopted two more. You know, So he's lived the human experience and she is a servant hearted, amazing woman. Mm-hmm. you know, And so that's what I think is the most, this is gonna, I shouldn't even tell this story, It's at the end of the podcast, but we got time, whatever. Sure. So I took a lot of Greek philosophy classes mm-hmm. when I was in college, in addition to my economics degree and Herb McCullough. Is that right? No, Herb was a guy around here. What the heck was his name? Might, might have been. Right. Anyway, he was in the Canadian Olympics. He ran for Canada in the 19, 19 42 Olympics, I think. Um, but he was a Catholic priest and mostly he was a, he taught seminar for the Catholic, whatever. Yeah. Seminary. But then he came to North Dakota State and taught two or three Greek philosophy classes every, every year. Just about. Yeah. Yeah. And so we got to hang out with the seminarians that would come over and take his classes. And then, and this is terrible, but then we would, I went to Ralph's bar pretty regularly, which was in, in Minnesota, North Dakota, across the river. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And, and it was across the street from Kirby's where the live music was. Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. But Ralph's was in the back. Punk bands pretty regular. In the, in the side room was the pool tables where you could smoke weed if you wanted to, which is why I was there. Gotcha, gotcha. And the front was the gay bar. Got you. Yeah. Yeah. And we'd always see the seminarians there routes and interesting. Right. And it was like, that was early. Yes. You know, comparatively to, Anyway, I digress. But I don't think, I don't think abstaining from a relationship with women necessarily makes men. Right. Stronger and better leaders. Right. Yeah. Unless they, whatever, Yeah. Yeah. And it's kinda like where we started, it's complicated and no judgment on gays out there to have a relationship and they should be gay. Absolutely. Whatever.

Margo:

Yep. And that's where I go back to don't judge, find what's right for you. Totally. And life would be a lot better for us.

Curt:

Yes. Fair enough. Yeah. You're awesome. Awesome. I'm grateful. I'd love to have you back again.

Margo:

Awesome. All right, Jerry Margo. Thanks.