Learning to be a Leader at Lurie Children’s with Brandon Parker

Stories in: Leadership

From an early age, Brandon Parker was interested in pediatric medicine. As the son of an Air Force pediatrician, Brandon was surrounded by physicians who turned from friends to extended family, to role models. Now he’s the one inspiring people as a leader and an attending physician at Lurie Children’s.

Before officially joining the team, Brandon did his residency training at Children’s Memorial and later decided to stay on because he didn’t want to leave the Lurie Children’s culture. After serving as an interim site leader at Lurie Children’s Community Care Clinic in Lincoln Park, his interest in leadership was piqued. That’s when he decided to ask his division head about joining the Lurie Children’s Thrive leadership program.

Now, more engaged than ever after completing the Thrive program, Brandon’s vision is set on the big picture. Wanting to find out more about being a leader at Lurie Children’s, we sat down with Brandon to get the inside scoop. Here’s what he had to say.

Being part of the team at Lurie Children’s.

Sometimes it's a little bit hard to say without using clichés, but the culture at Lurie Children’s really is very powerful. I’ve worked in different places and talked to enough people to know that it is something that should be valued and cherished when you're working at a place that has a culture that encourages everyone at all levels to be engaged. The culture fosters a real sense of a flat power structure and it's really easy to talk and work with physicians and administrative staff from all levels; it's a very communal type of atmosphere. The biggest thing is truly that there’s no one who's working here who's just going through the motions. Everybody here, from every walk of life, cares about the mission, and when you see other people doing that not only does it encourage you to do it yourself, but it also takes away any sense of cynicism.

Secrets to being a successful leader at Lurie Children’s.

You have to be able to network with people from a variety of backgrounds. Being able to tap into the network of other people in other silos is crucial, and forming a coalition is key. Another secret to being a good leader at Lurie Children’s is having a clear vision for your team about how what you’re doing taps into the big picture goals of the organization–to care for more children, to provide the best experience, to advance the state of pediatric medicine through research and science, and to keep an engaged team and be a good place to work.

Everyone has an opportunity to be a leader at Lurie Children’s.

There are a number of programs like Thrive, and that's something that has been increasing over the past several years, at Lurie Children’s. The programs are designed to help everybody, whether they’re a formal leader or not, to feel like they can be a source of positive change even at a local level. Another way that everyone can be a leader at Lurie Children's is by making people feel empowered to not just do their job, but to do whatever they think is best to provide the best care to our families. Being given the freedom to look beyond what we’re tasked with during the day gives us the freedom to be a leader even if we're not in a formal leadership role.

Making a difference for people every day.

One of my roles is teaching both the medical students and patients and their families. When I'm working on the general medicine service and we’re rounding, I can tell that I'm making a difference for both the medical students and the families when I'm doing my teaching at the bedside. We do a family-centered rounding where we go through everything and make the plan in real-time while incorporating the family in the process and incorporating teaching within that too. I can think of multiple times when families have expressed gratification about us taking the time to not just explain things to them, but to actually engage them as part of the team and take ownership of their own child care; they're collaborating with the team as opposed to just being dictated to.

Advice for anyone looking to join the team.

To be part of our team you have to be collaborative–we encourage ideas on how we can do things better from anybody; that's a really important part of any team that I'm part of. I think every successful organization has that kind of dynamic. We want people who are an energetic and enthusiastic about providing clinical care, and we want people who are really collaborative and can encourage others to bring ideas freely to the table, and that they themselves feel free and encouraged to do so.


Are you ready for your opportunity to be a leader at one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation? Apply today and join our team!