Advice for new leaders from David Holladay: Align your life to find joy

Katy Smith
David Holladay, president, CoverMyMeds

New people are stepping into leadership roles everywhere you look in the Columbus region. The first year in the role can be a whirlwind—learning about the company or organization, either for the first time or learning about it from a different vantage point; getting to know lots of new names and faces if you came from outside; and perhaps finding some things you would like to do differently.

Columbus CEO's April 2020 cover package, "The Great Leadershift," featured advice from six leaders in their first few years. Here is what they shared.

David Holladay

President, CoverMyMeds

Establishing your style: Authenticity is incredibly important. A remarkable leader brings their authentic self to everything they do. In any role you hold within a company, it’s also important to establish meaningful relationships with your colleagues. For me personally, my journey is focused on helping people to connect with their purpose and passion in life. My number one priority as a leader is to help build other leaders.

Choosing your team: A piece of advice I share with our teams: hire extraordinarily smart people who push you to know more than you know today. We hire purpose-driven individuals who are motivated by our mission of helping patients. By hiring remarkable people, we’re positioning ourselves for sustainable growth. We work together to solve big problems and make a lasting impact on the world, and we make sure we’re having fun as a team. 

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Transitioning from another role in the same organization: Transitioning to my role as president has been incredible and I’m proud to serve this remarkable team. Every day I’m inspired by the work our team does to help patients get the medications they need. Our team is passionate about our mission, and that is reflected in their work. We empower our employees, at all levels of experience, to be decision makers and leaders within the company. People know they can join CoverMyMeds to do big things—bigger than themselves—and that our career paths enable growth opportunities and sustainability within the organization.

How to use time: Advice I share with everyone: protect your calendar. Encourage a culture that values meeting agendas with clearly established goals for every meeting. I also make sure to carve out time to have meaningful dialogue with team members across the organization to help them connect how their work contributes to the company’s vision. It’s important for each individual to understand how their work connects to the larger vision because that knowledge contributes to inspiration, innovation and sustainable growth. 

Balancing your personal life with work: The idea of balancing personal life and our work is an interesting perspective. It starts with the idea that our personal lives and our work lives are opposed, or on the opposite ends of the spectrum. When we align our lives—both work and personal—to our purpose, and truly understand it, we can find joy in everything we do. What was once considered “work” instead allows us to achieve our life’s mission in a personal way. When I’ve achieved this in my life, including through my work at CoverMyMeds, I’ve found I’m much more present in every interaction and I’m able to achieve a balance that otherwise could be difficult to obtain.

See advice for new leaders from:

Kirt Walker, CEO, Nationwide

Jonathan Moody, CEO, Moody Nolan

Lori Gillett, CEO, Corna Kokosing

Lisa Courtice, United Way of Central Ohio

Dr. Steve Markovich, president and CEO, OhioHealth