President and COO, Kaiser Permanente

Bernard has passion in his heart that lights a fire in those around him. It’s the kind of passion that emanates from a person who’s doing the work he’s truly meant to do. At the core, Bernard is someone driven to help others. The path he’s chosen to make his contribution is fraught with big, complex issues that no one leader can solve alone: He and his colleagues at Kaiser Permanente are working to provide the highest quality health care available, while making it accessible and affordable to as many people as possible. It’s a big job that will take a lot of heart (and guts!) to accomplish. Luckily, Bernard knows he’s not alone on the journey.

Most organizations have a mission statement. You know what we’re talking about…the carefully crafted words you see on posters in conference rooms. What makes Kaiser Permanente’s mission remarkable is that it lives beyond the words. It’s internalized by more than 175,000 employees and 16,500 Permanente Group physicians across the U.S. And that is not happenstance or the result of a slick internal marketing campaign. Rather, it is the direct result of Bernard and others at Kaiser Permanente creating the space for every employee to recognize and act upon his or her own leadership. Bernard’s work to mobilize leaders all the way to the more than 3,000 Unit-Based Teams to solve real problems on the front lines of care is a striking and practical example of how you can awaken leadership at all levels in your organization to make good on your purpose. 

On Corporate Culture and Connecting to Purpose and Mission

A compelling and shared purpose can galvanize an organization.