Name: James E. Taylor, Ph.D.
Profession: Healthcare Executive / Diversity Practitioner
One Word That Describes You: Disciplined
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
To whom much is given, much will be required. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be selected as a BEMM 100 Men of Distinction. Black Enterprise has served as a leading source for business news in this country for decades, and it is truly a humbling experience to be recognized for my professional accomplishments by such a pillar in our community.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I make multiple mistakes every day, which I can live with because I believe that falling is not failing; refusal to get up from a fall is the real failure. The overwhelming majority of my struggles – be it poorly designed and/or implemented business initiatives, unsuccessful professional and personal relationships, or adjusting to a fresh beginning in a new city – have taught me that although I may not have control of when challenges arise, I do have control over how I allow them to affect me.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
My healthiest professional relationships are formed when I interact with individuals who balance both business acumen and emotional intelligence. From my perspective, this recipe blends the ideal combination of clear vision, self-awareness, and inspiring messages that motivate and empower others to execute high quality work.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Being early in my tenure at UPMC, I am focused on learning the business goals and objectives for which key leaders and diversity stakeholders are held accountable, as well as opportunities and challenges for diversity and inclusion to serve as a vehicle to advance those business goals. Specifically, my team and I are in the midst of refining the framework for diversity management, and a cultural competency agenda across the enterprise. This revised framework will inform how diversity goals are implemented across workforce, care delivery, community, and marketplace dimensions.
As a healthcare executive and diversity practitioner, I am committed to creating a culture in which the unique attributes of each person are understood, valued, respected, and utilized. It is my belief that health providers must be intentional in their efforts to deliver culturally competent care to patients, recognizing that care needs may differ for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Key to providing culturally competent care to patients is the ability to establish and retain a workforce whose composition reflects the demographic of the service area population.
What is the best advice you ever received?
From a very young age, my parents taught me the importance of planning. I specifically recall the two of them once telling me, ‘A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan any day.’
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Uplift others as you ascend. I once had an opportunity to research the experiences of diverse CEOs of large corporations. I learned from them the importance of reaching our hands out to coach, mentor, sponsor, and teach the next generation of leaders to ensure they are well-positioned to carry the torch we have been passed from our forefathers.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
It is critical, for me, to have clarity and focus on the desired outcome I want to achieve before beginning any important meeting. In other words, developing the skillset to guide a conversation so that at the end of the hour I have secured the ‘yes’ or support needed to advance the work. Additionally, it is also important to intuitively know when to stop selling your idea in a meeting, especially if you have already secured the desired response or support. ‘Never sell me twice’ was the counsel I once received from a senior leader of a former employer.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation?
Oddly, I enjoy putting myself in vulnerable situations where I do not know the culture and, at times, the language of the places where I am vacationing. I enjoy visiting world heritage sites and viewing historic artifacts, eating from local delicatessens, and exploring the ‘non-touristy’ areas of cities and villages across the world. Last year I traveled to South Africa and was thrilled to experience, perhaps, the most diverse range of activities and locales I’ve encountered within any country.
To experience the amazement of African wildlife safaris, the beautiful wine country of Cape Town, the exhilarating Garden Route, which can easily be considered one of the greatest drives on earth, an electrifying dive with Great White sharks, world class hiking, sea kayaking, road and mountain biking, not to mention ample opportunities to explore historical attractions – such as the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site with its famous fossil filled caves. Best vacation ever!
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If time or money were non-factors, I would spend every weekend of my life in Paris, France. Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris, Champs-Élysées, Musee du Louvre, Eiffel Tower – enough said!
Anything else you’d like to say?
Congratulations to the other noted recipients who excel in their chosen disciplines. It is clear to me that those who fuel the rumor of absent male leadership within our community are unaware of the diverse capabilities that exist among us. Thank you Black Enterprise for providing a platform that illustrates just how great and ‘leaderly’ we can be.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @blackenterprise and join the BE Modern Man conversation using #BEModernMan.