In this episode, host John Laurito picks the brain of the CEO of One Health Ohio and an author to a fascinating title, Ron Dwinnells. We talk about his “why” and his vision for ONE Health Ohio. He also shares what he thinks are the traits of a successful leader, how to get over your fear of failure, and how to scale an organization. Please tune in to learn how to get a FREE copy of his book: Don’t Pick Up All the Dog Hairs.
Ronald Dwinnells, MD, MBA, is a pediatrician and a certified physician executive. He is the CEO of ONE Health Ohio, an integrated community health center program serving the medically uninsured, underinsured, and underserved populations in northeast Ohio. His clinics have served over one million patients during his 35 years at the helm.
He is also the founder and president of the Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation (www.butterfliesandhope.org). His mission is to support and improve the lives of children, adolescents, and young people suffering from behavioral and mental health issues. He has authored and published several scholarly works on healthcare delivery systems. He is on the faculty of local universities, teaching topics on leadership, healthcare delivery programs, health disparities, and physical diagnosis.
Dr. Dwinnells attributes his personal and professional growth and life’s good fortunes to hard work, a good attitude, the love of life, and being raised in two cultures — Japanese and American.
Where to find more about Ron:
[1:46] Ron’s history and on starting ONE Health Ohio
[5:21] Diving into the fear of failure
[7:56] On scaling an organization
[10:36] Ron’s vision of ONE Health Ohio
[13:37] Where does the name of his book come from and the life lessons that go with it?
[19:51] Where to get a copy of Ron’s book
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader!
John All right, tomorrow’s leaders, so I got a great guess for you today, Ron Dwinnells. He is the author of the book Don’t Pick Up All the Dog Hairs, love that title! And he’s CEO of One Health Ohio. This is a guy that’s had a lot of success building a business. I love the passion behind it and the his why behind it? You’re going to learn about all that and how he scaled his business. So we had a great conversation about leadership and what goes into being successful and what are the traits of the most successful leaders. And obviously in a in the medical field, which is not without its own challenges. So, uh, take a listen. I think you’re going to love his stories, his perspective. And here’s Ron.
John All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leadership. Leading yourself and leading others, I’m John Laurito, your host here with a great guest. Ron Dwinnells, who is the CEO of One Health Ohio, a phenomenal organization that provides health care to individuals primarily that don’t have access to health insurance. He is also the author of the recently released book “Don’t Pick Up All the Dog Hairs.” I love that title. We’re going to get into that, Ron. Welcome to the show.
Ron Thank you, John. Thank you.
John Yea, appreciate you joining and I know you’re you’ve got a great for those of you who are not watching, but you’re listening. Ron’s got this great backdrop there with a really nice stained glass with. That’s a tribute to his mom. I know so beautiful background and I’m sure a lovely lady. So, Ron, I wanted to pick your brain a lot because you’ve got a lot to offer, I know our audience who is really interested in leadership. You’ve had a really incredible career starting, I know almost four decades ago in starting one Health, Ohio. Tell us a little bit about that journey and in particular, what it’s all about and and what you do.
Ron John, you’ve really aged me there four decades, sounds like it long. You know, so.
John Well, you don’t look it, so you’re just experienced.
Ron Thanks. Well, yes, I’ve had a very, extremely varied career, if you will. I did go to medical school at the University of Kentucky, became a pediatrician, practiced for a while. I started a clinic way back in four decades, almost four decades ago, as you say. And the purpose of that clinic was to provide health care to the medically uninsured and underserved populations. So back in the 80s, there were a lot of people just who could just not access health care. And so we started a so-called safety net clinic to so that these people would have health care. So I became a CEO, then started the clinic in and we’ve grown vastly over the years. But over those years, as a leader of my organization, I made a lot of mistakes. I failed many times at projects that I started. I’ve had lots of adversities, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I’ve had a lot of enemies.
Ron Most leaders have enemies, so I conveniently use the first letters of those words failures, adversities, mistakes and enemies to use an acronym called fame. So I’ve I’ve thrived on being able to recognize my failures and adversity. Some mistakes, some enemies because I thought about it. I contemplated whenever I made mistakes and I learned a lot from it. So that’s the basis of the book that I wrote. I did lectures for medical students for over 25 years at the local medical school on leadership and and over time, that particular lecture series evolved. I called it don’t do that in my lecture series, but they were stories. They were anecdotes, if you will, of my failures. And most people could relate. In most people, it was. It wasn’t that people didn’t know. These aren’t complicated thought processes or complicated concepts.
John They’re things that we’ve all encountered and we’ve all failed. But I think what happens is sometimes people just don’t recognize it. And, you know, because who wants to make a mistake? They just kind of brush it off and just move on. But I think it’s important to really contemplate on on the things you fail and realize, Well, OK, I can do this this way next time or whatever. Yeah. So that’s kind of the basis of the of the book.
John So first of all, and that’s a great point you bring up. I love the acronym, by the way, because what it does is almost make it take something that people don’t want to think about or talk about, and you bring your bubble it up to the surface and just say, Hey, you know, here’s my it’s almost like a mantra that that gives you fuel almost. So I love that where I see a lot of leaders that almost they get a little, a little or exactly paralyzed because of fear of mistakes. You got some that might be listening to this show that are caught and stuck, maybe even whether it’s a single decision they’re trying to make or it’s just long term kind of pattern that they’ve been in. What advice do you give to somebody like that that’s not, you know, born from your mentality that may recognize, Yeah, I’m kind of caught that way. I don’t take action because I fear failure or mistakes. What’s your advice to somebody like that?
Ron Well, read the book, but no, you can’t make people obviously do things that they don’t want to do or they don’t agree with and so forth. I, as a physician, one of the things I always dealt with with with obese kids, overweight kids and so forth was for them to recognize that and and have them want to lose weight and to be healthier and so forth. But a long time ago in my medical career, I realized that you can’t force people to do things. You can offer them the thoughts and the ideas and so forth, but they have to take it and run with it. So. So that’s kind of what I tried to do. What I mean, I can give all kinds of advice, but if they’re not, you know, if they’re not going to just accept that, then then it won’t go anywhere. But I think I think the primary advice is, is be aware of it, you know? You know, when you screw it up, you know, when you fail, when you made a mistake, you know it.
Ron So instead of just brushing it off or blocking it out of your mind, just accept it and say, OK, I can get good things out of this. I can get good things out of bed in. And so contemplate on it. And I think the answers will come to your mind once you start really letting letting in accepting these mistakes into your mind. That’s that’s what I do. And then then I talk about it and I teach it to people, you know, I say, Hey, and you know, there is something about what’s the term self-deprecation? You know, there is that sometimes, OK? You can laugh at yourself. You can say, Hey, you know, I really screwed up, you know, and but this is what I learned from it. And that’s what I did with my medical lectures over the years with leadership. And so it’s OK. It’s OK to make sense. That’s what we do. We humans do this. Hmm.
John So Ron, let me ask you in regards to scaling an organization, I mean, you went from one site to 10 and have grown very significantly. That’s something a leader struggle with a lot. What’s the what are the one or two really important things for leaders to understand if they’re going to want to build and scale a business? What do they need to do or what do they need to make sure they don’t do? What are the things that you, you know, go into that success?
Ron Over the years, I’ve learned that the primary ingredient, if you will, for success is passion. I know that’s very intangible and so forth. But but you have to believe in what you’re doing. You have to to understand why and how and so forth. And this all comes from passion. I had a major significant desire to really I didn’t like seeing patients who had nowhere to go. They couldn’t go to the hospitals. They couldn’t go to the doctor’s office. That really bothered me as a young physician, and I was very passionate about that. And that’s why I started this, this clinic and and and I believed in it so much that it naturally grew. Of course, I had to have the infrastructure, you know, the tangible part. But in my mind, I always think of things or problems or issues in two different modes. One is the the obviously the analytical way, and I do talk about that in the book. One is the analytical aspect of it, all the business part, all the data, all the information that that prompts me to expand to another site since we’re on that topic.
Ron But the other part the the fuel, if you will, for that fire is the passion without that passion. You won’t ever go because the motivation isn’t there. The dream isn’t. There are all these, these things that you’re imagining. Wow, if I put another site, I can really help a lot more people. Now the practical for the business people out there, the practical part of of expanding is, well, you’re you’re expanding your market, source your market base so your business will continue to thrive even if one fails or whatever. So, so yeah, it’s there’s a lot of things going on in your head. So I don’t I don’t know to I don’t know if I can specifically answer your question if there’s one or two pieces of advice. But but I do know that passion is is a huge thing, and without it, you don’t go anywhere, I don’t think.
John Yeah, no doubt. What’s your vision with One Health Ohio?
Ron Well, that’s that’s a really interesting question, you just you asked because I’ve had this last passion and I think it’s the last passion because I am getting older as as you aptly put four decades, I think I am ready to move on. But but I want to build. I have one more site. I bought a building already on the south side of Youngstown, Ohio, and it’s it’s not a thriving place. There’s a lot of decay there in and so forth. There’s a lot of people that who need health care. But I want to put a health complex there where we are going to address social determinants of health. So this is a culmination of all my years doing this through the mistakes that I’ve I’ve acquired over time. But one of the things that we’re experiencing in health care is there is a huge amount of chronic disease problems going on in the country in a lot of it stems from overweight and this obesity and so forth.
Ron Well, that tends to be that condition tends to be the gateway to the so-called chronic diseases of diabetes. Heart disease, even certain cancers are related to overweight weakness and lack of activity. So those are called social determinants there. So the south side of Youngstown actually is what the what is termed a food desert food desert, meaning that there are no or very little access to fresh produce in that particular area. They get their food, food sources from, say, the quick shops or the convenient shops around there, which has food. But they tend to be they tend to be tasty, of course, but not good for you. So these are the the hostess cakes, the hostess hoho cakes and and the Twinkies. You know, the beer, the chips, all that stuff. OK? Tastes good, but not really good for you. Well, that’s one of the elements towards obesity. You shouldn’t be eating all that stuff. The other social determinant is crime.
Ron There’s a high crime rate in that particular area, so people don’t go out exercising and and so forth. So these are examples of social determinants. Well, I want to go down there and open up this health clinic and address the social determinants. I want to put green houses on the property. I want to put a walking trail within the property complex. I want exercise classes that we’re going to do. We’re going to do cooking classes there. So it’s not just going to be a health center where doctors are going to see patients, it’s going to address these social determinants. So that’s the combination of all these years of these mistakes and so forth that I made. So that’s my that’s not going to be my last passion, if you will.
John Yeah, I love that. Well, it’s not just solving or treating a problem, it’s preventing it and changing your lifestyle. So I love that.
Ron Yes, absolutely. Yeah.
John So your book “Don’t pick up all the dog hair,” just came out. I know in the last week it’s it’s been available and now will in a minute talk about how people can get all of it. I love the name. Where did that come from?
Ron Well, so I’ll be brief here. So I have a daughter. I have four daughters, actually and a son and the the the fourth daughter is very athletic and so forth, and she and I climb mountains as a hobby. So we’re very close. We we’ve shared all kinds of hurts and disappointments and happiness on these mountain trips. And so anyway. But when she was in the sixth going into the sixth grade, I challenged her. I said, Abby, she was a very good student, but always happen to make a be here or there. So I said, Abby, if you get all A’s for the whole year, daddy will get you anything you want. And she says she kind of shrugs her shoulders and nonchalantly says, OK. So I didn’t know if she really heard me. She really took me seriously or whatever, so I let it go. And over the years, she makes all A’s, and she’s going into her last quarter of grading and and I’m getting a little worried there. I see her grades are all A’s, and they said, Amy looks like you might make all A’s. And she said, Yeah, that was it.
Ron So, you know, again, very nonchalantly. So anyways, she gets her final grades. She makes all A’s and doesn’t say a word. She has a newspaper clipping of somebody selling lab puppy’s lab Labrador retriever puppies. And I said, Oh, so you want a dog? Yeah. So we go and get this dog and it’s the biggest dog in the litter. And she named him Charlie. So it’s a it’s a cute. If you if you haven’t seen labs, you know they are such cute little puppies. But. So we we get the puppy and bring him home and she wants to keep him in the house. Well, I had dogs when I was a kid. But they were always outside dogs, and they never even thought about keeping a dog inside the house. Especially something that’s going to grow into a large dog. And and I happened to be the the cleaner of the house. My wife doesn’t clean. The girls don’t clean. I’m the cleaner. So anyway, I started worrying a little bit about that. And for those of you who don’t know, lab labs shed a lot of hair and this was a blond blond lab, so you could see hair on the darker carpet everywhere.
Ron And that bugged me for for people who like to clean, it bugs you, you know? So I started vacuuming and vacuuming more and more, and then I found myself every week, and that’s all I did was clean the house. And I, you know, I finally thought, this is not healthy for me. So we had a we were having a dinner when that family dinner and they said, Guys, I have an announcement to make. And I said, OK, I’m going to stop cleaning. You guys are on your own. So everybody just kind of shrug their shoulders and said, OK, yeah, nobody care. So after that, I had more time on my hands on the weekends, so I started building things in my backyard. I really didn’t know that I like building up to. I started doing it. So I built the koi pond, the gazebo, a pergola. I built a garden. I built a walking path in my backyard and it was beautiful. It’s like a park in in in overtime. Charlie and I did become friends and I started taking care of him in this older age, and he did pass away a couple of years ago now.
Ron But but what I recognized was, if this adversity didn’t happen to me, I wouldn’t have ever had this great backyard, this beautiful backyard. I wouldn’t have ever discovered that I like building things. And, you know, a very good thing came out of this. So the point about the story in the book is it leaders. Leaders cannot always win. We can’t, no matter. And most leaders are in leadership because they’ve always been successful things. Well, sometimes you have to let go, and that’s the point of the story. A good leader knows when to let go. And in the other part of that is once you let go, sometimes something other, put some other positive thing could happen that that you know, you weren’t expecting, like my beautiful backyard. And now I use it as a place to contemplate as a place of rest. But that’s where I sit and write a lot, you know, and I wouldn’t have had that if it wasn’t for Charlie and the adversity I face. So that’s the that’s the take home message for that story. I love.
John Yeah, I love that story.
Ron Yeah, I like the story so much. That’s why the book became that.
John Well, it certainly makes me want to read it even more, and I certainly will look forward to it. But I love that point. I mean, that’s a whole part of your life now that’s been opened up a whole new passion that you would not have even known about or had had you been fixated on on your other, you know, compulsion, I guess, to get all the dog here. So I love that that’s such a great point for leaders.
Ron Yeah. I think it’s important and and I practice this all the time. Now it’s it’s one of those life lessons, things and there are many times in my everyday life here as a as a as a CEO of this organization that there are issues or whatever that come to me and I kind of know when to let it go and when to fight that battle. And and it’s been extremely valuable for me in terms of being able to lead this organization and lead my personal life.
John Absolutely. Well, and that’s that’s absolutely key. It’s not just leading a business or an organization. Most importantly, it’s leading your own life. Yes, sometimes people don’t. Don’t forget that. So excellent. So where can people get a copy of your book?
Ron It’s it’s wherever books are sold. It’s on Amazon. Obviously, it’s probably the largest distributor, but it’s at Barnes and Noble. It’s even at the airports. Hudson’s, they have it to online, and it’s everywhere. So, yeah, I do have a website. It’s rondwinnells.com. It’s really simple, but but there are links on that website to the various vendors for for this book.
John Great. Well, we’ll make sure we put all that in the show notes. So for those of you are listening, you can go there and we’ll have the links to the book as well as runs website. We’re here with Ronge Whannell’s, who’s the CEO of One Health Ohio. He is also the author of the most recently published book, Don’t Pick Up All the Dog. Here is available on Amazon and local bookstores. Ron, this has been a fantastic and very interesting conversation. Thanks for joining us today.
Ron Thank you. Thank you. I do it. One of the things you’re so if I, I decided that I want to give away some of these books. So if the first three people that go on to my website and send me an email, I will send them a free book.
John Wow. Oh yeah, perfect. Well, you know you’re going to get, I’m sure you’ll get those three people pretty quickly as they’re listening. They’re probably typing in there right now. So that is, again, that your name is your website rondwinnells.com correct?
John All right. Well, I’m sure before the next few moments, you have those three people. So hurry up and get to his website. Get those free books, everybody. Ron, thanks again for joining us. This has been terrific. Thank you all for joining in on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. And of course, as always, please like subscribe and share this episode with your audience and of course, always interested in your feedback and your ideas for future guests and future topics. And go down below. Don’t forget to give five star review your opinion matters. Thank you for joining us today. Have a good one!
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching. Reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again, that’s John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!