Suzanne Rabideau has healthy leadership advice.

You told us you wanted leadership advice from some of the Valley’s top business women, and we listened! Our “Take Me To Your Leader” feature is a monthly question and answer session on leadership from a female perspective. This month, we talk leadership with Suzanne Rabideau, MA, LPC, MBA, CEO and President of Crisis Response Network, Inc., the nation’s largest crisis response network..

Q. How has your career path led you to your current position?

A. I started out as a therapist, and after working in the public sector for almost 20 years, I recognized that I could help from the business perspective and earned my MBA in healthcare management. I had a consulting business in healthcare management when the board of directors of the Crisis Response Network asked me to come on board in 2007 to help start the organization.

Q. What obstacles have you faced in your current position, and how have you approached them?

A. Really, the hardest things are the everyday challenges. Tackling those challenges is about staying focused on our vision and purpose ? staying focused on the big picture of serving the community.

Q. What is ?leadership? to you?

A. Really, leadership is a journey that is ? more than anything ? a self-journey about utilizing yourself as a tool to achieve a greater outcome.

Q. How would you describe your leadership style?

A. It?s a combination of transformational and transactional leadership. The healthcare industry is changing at warp speed, so you have to have a vision of where things are going ? that?s the transformational. But to be successful in

the transformational, you also have to have the processes, procedures and people to actually make things happen.

Q. What has helped influence your leadership style?

A. As a leader, sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you don?t. That?s how you learn. I also have had the chance to learn from wise people. Watching other people and their successes and challenges has been invaluable to me.

Q. How would you describe the changes in your leadership style over time?

A. I used to feel a sense of extreme responsibility to make sure things went well. And through that sense of responsibility, I had more of an authoritative and controlling approach. Now I recognize we?re all responsible and

we?re all contributors. As a CEO, you have the ultimate responsibility, but if you can share the responsibility and share in the successes, life sure is much sweeter.

Q. What advice would you share with other leaders?

A. Get a mentor who has your interests at heart and who is outside of your industry. That way, you?ll be more free to share your positions, strategies and ideas and receive the feedback you need (even the hard feedback). And remember: When your ego gets in the way ? when it?s more about your own successes ? you?re sure to mess things up. But when you stay focused on the greater good, somehow things work better.

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Crisis Response Network, Inc.

This interview, conducted by Stephanie Conner, is part of the Chamber’s monthly Businesswise for Women email newsletter. To sign up for any or all of the Chamber’s email communications, click here.