BJC Young Professionals Connection hosts town hall with Trish Lollo
Trish Lollo has come a long way from her very first job to the position she now holds at BJC HealthCare — Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital president and newly named St. Louis Children’s Hospital president. Lollo recently shared her career insights with members of the BJC Young Professionals Connection during a Town Hall, July 11, at BJWCH.
The Young Professionals Connection group includes BJC team members in the early stages of their careers who, as future leaders, seek to network with peers and senior leadership, develop their careers and give back to the communities they serve. All team members, from all skill sets, are welcome — including more experienced professionals who consider themselves to be “young at heart.”
Lollo said the path to her current position was a bit of a winding road. Originally from the East Coast, Lollo wanted to become a scientist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Stony Brook University and loved doing research, but she eventually realized something was missing. “It was very solitary work,” she said. “And I enjoy being with people.”
She began to consider a career in health care and knew she had found her calling after shadowing a hospital CEO in Pennsylvania. “I fell in love with what I saw him doing,” Lollo said. “I loved the diversity of the work and the opportunity for me to make an impact in people’s lives.”
Lollo went on to earn a master’s degree in public health from Yale University and held several positions at New York University Medical Center, including administrative director of the Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. She then served as an associate administrator of oncology services for the University of California San Diego Health System.
Lollo joined BJC in 2011 as vice president of oncology services at the Siteman Cancer Center and Barnes-Jewish Hospital laboratories and radiology, took on the BJWCH president role in 2016, and was named SLCH president in July. She also serves as the executive sponsor for BJC Global Connection, a group that supports team members from different nationalities and provides an opportunity for all team members to explore different cultures from around the world.
“I love, love, love what I’m doing,” Lollo said. “I’m so glad my path led me to BJC.”
In her own words
The event’s moderator, BJC human resources specialist and Young Professionals Connection committee member Jaelynn Hopgood, asked Lollo a series of questions about her experiences, including who or what contributed to the person she is today.
Lollo credited her parents with encouraging her and mentioned their expectations that she’d go to college and find a profession. “My mom always encouraged me to be independent,” Lollo said. “It was a very consistent message that we need to forge our own way through life.”
As a very young child, Lollo encountered some daunting challenges that also helped to shape the person she is. “I’m a survivor of childhood leukemia,” she said. “It left a mark on me, as far as wanting to help people.”
When asked how she fosters connections among many generations, now that she’s a senior leader, Lollo said, “We all have something to learn from everyone. And each person has individual needs and desires about how to be included. It all comes down to curiosity, humility and appreciation of each individual.”
Lollo said one of the most meaningful things she’s learned as a senior leader is the importance of developing people. “How are you growing the people on your team?” she asked. “How are you developing them? Because, as a leader, that’s your most important job.”
Her advice for the future leaders of BJC? “Think big,” she said. “Think bigger than your current role and bigger than your HSO. Think what can be. Take risks and say, ‘Yes.’ Raise your hand for things. Get comfortable with falling down and getting back up. There are many exciting projects going on across BJC, and you can be a part of them.
“And, remember your responsibility to develop other people,” she said. “The recipe for success is making sure our people are developed and engaged.”
Advice to take back to work
Hopgood said she appreciates having exposure to senior leaders like Lollo. “I appreciate the transparency that they share with our group as young professionals. Our leaders are very open about their past, the road they took to get to their current status and even the mistakes that they’ve made and learned from along the way. Having access to that type of information firsthand is invaluable,” Hopgood said. “And I think it’s important for different age groups to come together — because no matter what stage in our careers that we’re in, we can always learn from each other.”
Hopgood says Lollo’s encouragement to take risks hit home. “Trish explained that in order to get ahead, you have to take risks in life and do some things that scare you. That stayed with me the most, because I’m naturally a risk averse person in general. Even moderating this town hall was nerve-wracking for me,” Hopgood said. “But it was an amazing opportunity, and the feedback that I’ve received from it has been overwhelmingly positive. If you never challenge yourself, you will remain stationary in life.”
Following the discussion with Lollo, Courtney Seeber, BJC Institute for Learning and Development senior learning and development consultant and BJC Young Professionals Connection member, facilitated a professional development session, “Creating and Communicating Your Personal, Professional Brand.” She shared an overview of the following resources available to all team members in Saba:
And, to further the BJC Young Professionals’ commitment to community outreach, attendees also learned about HavenHouse, a United Way of Greater St. Louis agency, and had an opportunity to make donations to support HavenHouse patients and families.
View photos from the event on Workplace, BJC’s social media and engagement tool. If you haven’t joined Workplace, learn more now, and then click the red “Getting Started” button to set up your account. You can also visit the webpage on BJCnet under “For Employees.” Search for the Young Professionals group and join.
Learn more about the Young Professionals Connection
One benefit of the BJC Young Professionals Connection is connecting with and learning from BJC senior leaders. The first 25 people to RSVP for the Town Hall with Lollo were included in a drawing to have a professional networking meeting with Lollo. The drawing winners were Brenna Doyle, BJC communications and marketing consultant II, and Eric Lemmo, BJC workforce development consultant.
For more information about the BJC Young Professionals Connection, contact co-leads Michael Berg, Barnes-Jewish Hospital language services project coordinator, and Jessica Campbell, BJC supply chain data analytics senior analyst, at YPConnectionGroup@bjc.org.
Just for fun — Trish Lollo gets personal
Trish Lollo still remembers her very first job and, to this day, still uses a skill she learned in that job.
“I was a sales associate at The Gap, and I learned how to properly fold jeans and shirts,” Lollo told colleagues in response to a question about takeaways from her first job. “I still fold my clothes the same way.”
Lollo has gained a great deal more knowledge throughout her professional career — and her experience from The Gap was just one of many job-related anecdotes she shared during the Town Hall.
When asked about her favorite office supply, Lollo didn’t hesitate to point out the Post-It notes stuck to the pages she was holding. “I jot down notes on Post-Its, so I can remember,” she said. “Writing things down sears them into my memory.”
Does she like living in St. Louis? Yes! Lollo said she met and married her husband here, and now she has two teenage stepsons as well. She said setting work-life boundaries has been challenging because she enjoys her job so much. “I love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work to me,” she said. “But now that I have a family, I’ve come up with some parameters.”
When asked what surprised her most about being a senior leader, Lollo said, “Everyone thinks you have the answers. But I don’t have the answers. Those closest to the work have the answers.”
How does she want people to remember her? “I want people to say that I improved the way health care was delivered,” she said, “in a more patient-centered and compassionate way.”