Through the Years at Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic staff have an identification photo taken on the first day of employment and an updated one every five years thereafter.

As I was preparing to retire I asked Julie, my assistant, to retrieve my staff photos from the archive. Here was my evolution from 2000-2008:

I added the facial hair in 2003 when Lisa and I took our six kids (and a nephew) on a two-week vacation to Washington, D.C. With no need to shave, I let I grow.

Lisa liked my goatee and mustache and still won’t let me get rid of them. They had a distinct reddish/orange tint back then.

For some reason I have an extra 2008 portrait. Perhaps Mayo was putting in a new system at the time.

Here are the 2010, 2015 and 2020 editions:

That last photo at right was taken in March 2020, just before we all began working from home.

As I finished my work at Mayo this week, here’s my updated photo in my new home office. I guess I’m a graybeard both in career experience and in physical reality.

I’m thankful to have at least some of my hair remaining.

And looking forward to interesting work in my third career.

Starting My Third Career

I’m pleased to announce, now that I have retired from leading Mayo Clinic’s social media program, that the third career I’m starting today will build significantly upon that experience.

I am affiliating with Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, a Top 10 communications firm nationally and one in which my good friend and colleague Reed Smith is Vice President, Digital Strategy. Here’s the news release and my profile on the Jarrard site.

As I discussed with Reed and Chris Boyer in the touch point podcast released this morning, the of counsel role with Jarrard will give me an opportunity for continued thought leadership as well as engagement in interesting projects on behalf of clients.

That role also will give me flexibility to pursue another project that is a personal passion for Lisa and me: helping people restore their metabolic health.

Those who’ve been following my blog and social media accounts will know that Lisa and I have been on a health journey for the last four years.

We’ve each lost more than 50 lbs. and have kept it off. More importantly, we feel healthier and have more energy than we did 20 years ago, and our medical lab test results attest to our restored health.

Since I have been blogging about My Health Journey, Lisa and I have had opportunities to do some informal health coaching with interested readers, and they’ve gotten significantly positive results, too. My #BodyBabySteps page has some of the highlights of our approach, which we are further refining in partnership with a family physician friend.

We want to be able to expand this to reach and help more people, and we’re developing a venture to do just that.

We want to help people turn back the clock on their health.

Maybe even feel healthier than they can remember.

We aren’t ready to announce the venture yet, but in addition to my Jarrard work we will be busy working out the program details in the coming months.

Let’s just say in addition to coaching we will have an online community component, so my social media experience will be important in this part of my third career as well.

If you’re interested in being one of our early participants to help us formulate the program, send me an email and we can discuss.

Be well.

The #MCSMN Story (11): Audio Companion

Just out this morning is a discussion with Chris Boyer and Reed Smith on their touch point podcast as we review and share memories from the last 10+ years.

As they titled it, “What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been: A Conversation with Lee Aase”

It was great to swap stories with these guys who were part of our original External Advisory Board, contributors to Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care, and who were in our 2014 Class of #MCSMN Platinum Fellows.

If you’ve enjoyed this series I think you’ll find our discussion interesting too.

The #MCSMN Story (10): The Star Wars Team and Mayo Clinic Collaborators

Dr. Farris Timimi and I have been blessed with consistently outstanding team members working with us on the Mayo Clinic social media team.

In some ways I think of our team over the years as a symphony, with three distinct movements.

Our original social media team continued until the end of 2014, with Tony Hart joining the team to support CME promotion in Oct. 2012. The first of our members to move on was Susana Shephard, who took a role with the Mayo Clinic Care Network, and about a year later Jason Pratt went into business full time with his brothers.

At about that time, as our newly consolidated Communications Division was engaged in strategic planning, we renamed our social media team to have a broader focus than only social media, and with an emphasis on continued leadership in innovation.

We became the Social & Digital Innovation team.

Those of us who are of a certain vintage remember the 1980s national defense strategy called the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI, aimed at shooting down incoming nuclear missiles, which also was known as “Star Wars.”

Thus our SDI team took on a catchy moniker: The Star Wars Team.

From early 2015 through much of 2019 our Star Wars Team was comprised of the members pictured in the header of this post. This was the second movement of the symphony.

In addition to Makala Arce, Shawn Bishop, Stacy Theobald and me from the original team, we were joined by Shea Jennings, Taryn Offenbacher, Audrey Laine Seymour and Margaret Shepard. Shea took on the CME role after Tony Hart moved to Marketing, while the other three were focused on serving Mayo’s Arizona, Florida and Minnesota campuses, respectively.

As Taryn and Audrey Laine accepted other positions in 2019 we added Jessica Saenz (Arizona) and Robby Weber (Florida) to the Star Wars Team, with Amanda Roe supporting Neurosciences, and they along with Stacy form the team’s ongoing nucleus. With my retirement, Ron Petrovich is back leading the team into the symphony’s third movement, coming full circle from when he was the second person hired when we launched our major expansion in 2010.

Beyond our core team, until COVID-19 intervened we had several part time supplemental staff helping with Mayo Clinic Connect moderation and involved in client-funded social media projects: Lisa Lucier, Justin McClanahan, Ethan McConkey and Kanaaz Pereira. They contributed significantly to the overall work, and in the COVID era the work of our volunteer mentors for Mayo Clinic Connect has been essential to maintaining a healthy community.

Over the past decade we have seen well over 700 Mayo Clinic physicians join the social media revolution by creating Twitter accounts, and scores if not hundreds of key collaborators have advocated for social media adoption within Mayo Clinic.

Just as we benefited from an External Advisory Board we had a parallel Internal Advisory Group that met regularly to serve as a bridge from the Center for Social Media to the units and interests they represented.

Given the sheer number of individuals I won’t link to all of their Twitter bios, but I just want the world to know that what they saw the Star Wars Team doing in social media on behalf of Mayo Clinic was enabled by so many contributors:

  • Media Relations colleagues like Karl Oestreich, Kevin Punsky, Traci Klein, Ginger Plumbo, Sharon Theimer, Rhoda Madson and Tia Ford.
  • Our attorney, Dan Goldman, and Mayo’s domain master, Brian Kaihoi, as well as Monica Seven-Ziebell and John Bloomquist.
  • Marketing allies including Veena Nayar, Elizabeth Rice, Melissa Bear, Cindy Elliott, Elizabeth Klein and Jeff Warnock.
  • MayoClinic.org leaders and staff over the years, including Matt Feyen, Jay Maxwell, Les Polk, Joyce Even, Brian Laing, Tom Pankratz and more.
  • Communications leaders like Amy Davis, Annie Burt, Karl Oestreich, Fran Lynch, Jason Fortin, Suzanne Leaf-Brock and Bryan Anderson, as well as their teams.
  • News and employee communications teams that developed so much of the content we shared on the Mayo Clinic accounts.
  • Physician champions including Drs. Daniel Cabrera, Angela Mattke, Amy Kotsenas, Sharonne Hayes, Vincent Rajkumar, Justin Kreuter, Halena Gazelka and dozens more.
  • Internal Advisory Group advocates such as Gene Dankbar, Jeremy Jensen, Andy Tofilon, Laurie Wilshusen, Elizabeth Harty, Jane Jacobs, Brent Bultema and Yue Dong.

I could go on all night as more of these champions come to mind, but I have resolved to publish this post before midnight CDT, while I am still technically employed by Mayo Clinic.

I’m getting down to my last hour.

I have often said I was blessed to be in the right place at the right time to lead Mayo Clinic’s exploration and eventual embrace of social media. Because of Mayo Clinic’s stature and the support of our leaders, we had an opportunity to play a role in encouraging other health care organizations in their social media journeys.

With the help of the people listed above, and many others, I think we made the most of it.

As I look forward to starting my third career, I’m overwhelmed looking back and remembering so many people who have been so important in these last 21 years, and particularly the last 11.

My cup runneth over.

Tomorrow I’ll share one part of what I have in the works for Career #3.

The #MCSMN Story (9): Evolution of the EAB and A Final Class of Platinum Fellows

The Mayo Clinic Social Media Network (#MCSMN) has been blessed to bring together so many creative and energetic thought leaders over the last decade to serve on our External Advisory Board. Beyond those recognized in this post and this one, others who joined the movement in an official role but have not yet been previously mentioned in this series included:

  • Kristine (KS) Austin
  • Vicki Bencken
  • Dr. Katherine Y. Brown
  • Amanda Changuris
  • Kimberly Dorris
  • Marie Ennis-O’Connor
  • Beth Granger
  • David Grayson, M.D.
  • Claire H. Johnston
  • Janet Kennedy
  • Greg Matthews 
  • Matthew Rehrl, M.D., M.S.
  • Mike Sevilla, M.D.
  • Audun Utengen
  • Kathy Winter

To make room for new EAB members, some of the previous members rotated off. For 10 of them over the years, we created a special category of #MCSMN Fellow – Platinum – as something of a “lifetime achievement award” recognizing their long-term contributions. Those included:

Class of 2013

Class of 2014

Class of 2017

So today, as I retire from Mayo Clinic and we sunset #MCSMN, Dr. Farris Timimi and I decided it would be fitting to designate one final class of #MCSMN Platinum Fellows. Two of them were part of our original External Advisory Board and served continuously for a decade, while others joined more recently and have been particularly active. The Class of 2021 includes:

When we started the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media and the Social Media Health Network 11 years ago I could not have imagined all that we would accomplish, and all of the wonderful people who would join us in this movement.

It’s only fitting on my last day as an active staff member at Mayo Clinic to recognize the people inside and outside of the organization who have been such key contributors.

In my final post in this series this evening, I’ll turn to honoring those who have been part of our social media team – a.k.a. The Star Wars Team – as well as other allies and contributors within Mayo Clinic.