Fiona Libsack didn’t start her career in healthcare, but it’s where she found her passion. Libsack was as a television station manager, leading several divisions, including marketing. One of her responsibilities was producing commercials, and she eventually helped to put together several ads for a local healthcare system that involved patient testimonials. She was so impressed by the impact story telling had in healthcare that she later made a career of it.
Shortly after the commercials aired, she got a call about a marketing role at a local hospital. She took the job and hasn’t looked back. In the 20+ years since she said “yes” to that opportunity, Libsack’s increasing responsibility and leadership purview have given her a wide range of experience in marketing, PR, community relations, government affairs and more. Today, she’s the associate director of market development at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. She’s also a faculty member for Creighton Healthcare Executive Education’s (CHEE’s) Executive MBA program, bringing a wealth of knowledge and industry expertise along with her passion for healthcare marketing to the classroom.
Real-world Healthcare Marketing Strategy Insights
Her role at Vanderbilt is as active as ever, and she feels that’s a good thing when it comes to teaching. Libsack says, “There’s a unique opportunity at Creighton to learn from people who are still working in the field. They bring current, relevant experiences to the table.” She understands that many students in the Executive MBA in Healthcare Management and Executive Healthcare Fellowship programs are seeking information they can apply in their jobs immediately. She says, “Oftentimes, I'll work with my students on things we're dealing with that week at my full-time job,” so coursework is always of-the-moment and pertinent to issues many in the industry are facing. She loves that her students can take what they’re learning and put it to use right away.
Marketing Healthcare as a Business
Libsack finds a great deal of meaning and satisfaction in contributing to the development of other healthcare leaders. She says students are eager to broaden their understanding of the healthcare industry in order to prepare them to advance in their careers and to take on new leadership roles. Many students have a clinical background that doesn’t naturally expose them to the business side of healthcare, or they’ve worked in a role that hasn’t frequently exposed them to the important role that branding and marketing efforts play in an organization’s success. Her coursework dives into marketing strategy and the factors that influence organizational growth. Students explore how marketing can drive volume, further the mission of a healthcare institution and improve patient experience.
Libsack readily acknowledges that she’s not the only one teaching within the classroom. Students also learn from their peers. “There's this wonderful learning environment that's created when the students interact and engage in peer-to-peer experience share.” The diversity of the composition of each cohort–students from varied roles, organization types, and geographic locations throughout the healthcare industry–results in an ideal environment for learning and growth.
A Field that’s Never Boring
Ultimately, Libsack says, she just loves sharing her passion for healthcare marketing. “Every year my class changes because healthcare is ever-evolving. That's what's kept me so interested in healthcare marketing for so long.” The business of healthcare is never stagnant and neither are the courses she teaches.