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Speak Well Being

Serving hospitals, healthcare and women's groups

Pioneering: A Woman’s Way

July 1, 2004, Vol. II Issue 14

Dear Friends,

It’s 2004 and the pioneer spirit in women is not just alive, it’s thriving. Don’t you love it? Do you think our grandmothers had any idea we’d be responsible for ROI at major hospitals or that we’d used the “M” word out loud, let alone in a musical theatre production? Well, I’m here to share some pioneering ROI work from one of our clients, Michele Kuntz Wood, in Indianapolis, and the hot-flash breaking work of Jeanie Linders, creator of “Menopause the Musical.”

Let the fireworks begin! (Or was that let the change begin? I’m confused!)

Yours truly,

Create Your Own Map

It’s a common problem: how do you demonstrate the value of your programming when you’re essentially in a relationship business? According to Michele Kuntz Wood, Manager of Women’s Services at St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers in Indianapolis, IN, you have to create your own map.

“I learned pretty quickly that I was going to have to prove my own value,” she said. “Administration didn’t even know what I did, let alone what to ask. So I asked the questions and made sure they heard from me.”

Michele has been in the women’s health business her entire career, beginning not long after she started in nursing school. “I went into nursing at the urging of my family, but I thought I would work in men’s health. I thought women were too whiney,” Michele told me. That changed forever during her first rotation in the labor and delivery room. “I was overcome by the power of the birthing process and of reproduction. We’re talking about ‘ground zero’ for creative energy.” She’s never looked back.

When she started the women’s program at St Francis thirteen years ago, she says she was a pioneer and urges women’s health managers to stay in that mode. “People today, in this business must continue to be pioneers,” she says, “We’re a long way from where we need to be. This is uncharted territory. You have to decide where you want to go and create your own map.

“Our job is relationships but that’s hard to track, so I started to look for ways I could document our activities. Quite frankly, I selfishly needed the feedback, to know that I was making a difference as well as to convince management.

“So, I just started tracking things on a note pad, like telephone calls and where they originated, face to face contacts, brochures distributed, health fair and personal contacts. I created a report card for my department based on how many contacts we were making.”

She said it depends on the culture, but in her situation, the responsibility rested squarely on her shoulders. So she sent her reports not only to her boss, but to marketing and administration as well.

Today she focuses on media contacts because media contacts turn into money. When she gets quoted in the media, she takes it a step further and documents the circulation, so she can leverage the reach.

St. Francis has been a Spirit of Women hospital for six years. Spirit of Women is a national movement in women’s wellness led by local hospitals and supported by corporate partners and national media with a mission to motivate women to make positive changes in their lives.

“The beauty of this program is that it builds a sister-like relationship with women versus a static general association with a hospital. Members look to you as THE credible source for health information,” she said. “They move from just knowing about you to using your services.”

The Consumer Membership Program component, gave her a direct way to track revenue. When women sign-up, they get a packet of health information resources including discounts on massages, screenings, wellness profiles and workshops. As members, they’re pre-registered in the hospital system. Based on a measurement tool developed for a seniors membership program, Michele worked with Management Information Systems, to create her own. She said anybody should be able to do this, even with an antiquated system.

“I get a daily report of members names and where they’ve used hospital services, in-patient and outpatient and I can see the revenue generated,” she said.

Now when she goes to a budget meeting, and they want to know what value her department brings to the table, she has numbers to substantiate that building relationships translates into dollars. Her bottom line 2003 data showed that Women’s Services generated over 5 million dollars in revenue. Now, that’s a story!

And what about the naysayers who might say, “They would have come here anyway,” you ask? Michele’s confident reply is, “They might have, but do you want to take that chance?” Can’t you just see her smiling?

“I think more than anything, those of us in women’s health have to stay strong,” Michele says. “We can’t get beaten up by the environment we’re in. When challenged, we have to re-group and let people know our strength. We can’t get caught in thinking we don’t make a difference. If that occurs, stop, reflect and get re-grounded.”

Sounds like great advice for pioneer people in the 21st century, whether they’re managing a department, an association, or their own company. If you have questions for Michele, email her at To learn more about the Spirit of Women program, go to

The “Silent Passage” Becomes a Joyful Noise

Have you heard about it? “Menopause the Musical” is the hilarious off-Broadway hit celebrating women and The Change, playing at theaters around the country.

A client, Rena LaRue, Director of Reynolds Cancer Support Center in Fort Smith, AR, told me about it (actually gushed about it) but it hasn’t come to the Northwest yet, so I did the next best thing and ordered the CD from the website and have been singing along in my car ever since. Among my favorites are, “Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Body,” and “The Fat Gram Song (If you want to know where my fat grams go, it’s on my hips. That’s where it is. Oh yeah.)” Too funny!

“Looking for Love,” turns into “Lookin’ for Food: Now I’m packing on pounds where I didn’t have spaces, Looking for food in all the wrong places. . .” You get the drift. These would make great workout songs!

Rena, who saw the show in Kansas City, said she laughed so hard her face hurt. “It’s like they put all the feelings into it that women have gone through but no one talks about. I laughed. I cried. It makes you feel good for days afterward.”

Writer/producer Jeanie Linders, in her first venture into theatrical writing and producing, was inspired by hot flashes over a bottle of wine at an Orlando restaurant in 1996. (It had to be personal experience!) There’s that pioneering theme again. She told me she’s lived her entire life with the mantra, “Choosing to live and not exist.” This musical seethes with vitality for and about women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived The Change.

The story begins with four women at a lingerie sale with nothing in common but a black lace bra AND memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex, body issues, etc., etc., etc. This joyful musical parody set to 26 classic baby-boomer songs from “Puff, My God I’m Draggin” to the disco favorite “Stayin’ Awake, Stayin’ Awake” will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles.

The show is currently playing in Orlando, New York, Chicago, Boston, Scottsdale, Los Angeles, Detroit, Kansas City, and Cleveland, with shows coming soon to Denver, Easton, PA, Australia, the UK and Southeast Asia.

The women of Fort Smith were so excited by one of their advisory board members who had seen it in Chicago, that they’ve made special arrangements to bring it to Sparks Medical Center’s annual event, Woman to Woman, Sept. 17. Jeanie will be their keynote speaker and an afternoon show is included in the day’s program. There will also be performances the evening before and a matinee the next day. All are fundraisers for the Women’s Center.

Anne Turner, Director of Community Events at Sparks, told me the postcards just hit this week, and ticket sales are booming. “One woman called from Northwest Arkansas. She saw the show in Kansas City and is bringing 19 of her best friends.” That, my friends, is what is known as “The Disney Philosophy.” You do what you do so well that people want to come back and bring their friends.

Sound like something you’d like to do? Let’s talk about it. Give me a call! 503-699-5031.

And, if you’ve seen the show, we’d love to hear from you. Share your review! Send to me at

Whether you want to continue the fun, or start some, go to the website  and order a CD and songbook(so you can have sing-along celebrations with your girlfriends). Product purchases support the Women for Women Foundation, the service organization for Menopause the Musical and its companion 40×40 Art Exhibit. It’s all in support of women over 40 and giving relevance and value to the performing and visual arts beyond entertainment. Jeanie has always maintained that the program is not about entertainment . . . but about women.

Thank you Jeanie for your pioneering work in speaking up for women everywhere! Sing it, girls “Change, change, change . . . Change of life” (to the tune of Chain of Fools).

Grill, Grill, Grill . . .

Summertime and the grilling is easy with this super-duper sauce you can use on just about any meat. I first discovered it for venison. I don’t even remember where I got the recipe. It provides a nice, light coating that seals in the juices and brings out the flavor of the food, rather than smothering it.

Grilling Sauce
1/3 C. Catsup
1/3 C. Lemon Juice
1/4 C. Soy Sauce

For meats like venison steaks, you can use it as a marinade. For chicken or salmon, just brush it on lightly after cooking each side. I use skinless chicken and it tastes as good as any barbecue chicken with the skin. The bonus is there’s a whole lot less grease to create fires to put out! And, heaven knows, we don’t need any extra fires to put out!

Until next time, be good to yourself, blaze a trail, for your well being and those you love.

Yours truly,

My vision for The Speak Well Being Group is to be a connector for speakers I know, love and believe in, with the audiences who will be inspired, motivated, and transformed by their perspectives, knowledge, empathy, compassion, information and, most importantly, capacity to enjoy the process, laughing at themselves and with you along the way.

You’ll find many of our speakers on our website.

Or please call anytime and let us assist you: 503-699-5031

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