Big local healthcare companies seemed to dominate Friday’s annual meeting of the Dallas Regional Chamber, which introduced Stephen L. Mansfield, president and CEO of Dallas-based Methodist Health System, as the group’s 2014 board chairman. The event’s very prominent presenting sponsor was Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health.
In remarks to more than 950 attendees at the Hilton Anatole, Methodist’s Mansfield vowed to “stick with the heart” of the chamber’s 2010-2015 strategic plan, which has been overseen by James C. Oberwetter, the chamber’s outgoing president and CEO. The plan’s key initiatives are to lead economic development in North Texas, drive improvements in public education, influence public policy issues affecting local business, and advocate for regional partnerships.
Mansfield thanked Methodist’s 28 board members and his wife, Marilyn, for supporting his decision to assume the chairman’s role. His wife had said, “What’s the difference? You’re never home anyway,” he recalled jokingly.
Mansfield succeeds Anne Motsenbocker, president of the south region middle market for Chase, who announced that Ralph Hawkins, chairman of HKS, would be the chamber’s 2015 chairman-elect. Motsenbocker also gave the Chairman’s Award to Carl Sewell, chairman of Sewell Automotive Cos., and said the chamber hopes to have a successor soon for Oberwetter, who announced his retirement last year effective in March.
In his remarks to the group, Oberwetter, a former U.S. ambassador, hailed progress in the Dallas Independent School District, as well as successful passage of the chamber-backed, Proposition 6 water plan funding referendum. Indeed, “infrastructure needs are necessary for future growth,” Oberwetter said, urging full support for transportation funding during the November elections and the 2015 legislative session.
Almost as prominent as Mansfield during the meeting was Joel Allison, CEO of presenting sponsor Baylor Scott & White Health. Allison kicked off the luncheon event with a talk and presentation of a lengthy video about his company, which was formed in 2013 from a merger of Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System and Temple-based Scott & White Healthcare. Allison said the company, the “largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in Texas,” is creating a new model of care focusing on wellness, quality outcomes, and reduced hospital readmissions.
Baylor Scott & White provided each attendee with a “goodie bag” that included an exercise towel, a personal diet-and-fitness journal, and a bag of M&Ms in the company’s logo colors. The candy is “your reward for exercising a lot,” Allison explained with a laugh.