Ep. 109: Purpose, Passion, & Perseverance

with Fawn Lopez
Episode hosted by: Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.

April 19, 2023


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Fawn Lopez
Publisher Emeritus, Modern Healthcare

Fawn Lopez is Publisher Emeritus of Modern Healthcare, she formerly held the position of Vice President and Publisher from 2005 – 2022. As the industry’s leading source of healthcare business and policy news, research and information, Modern Healthcare serves the needs of top healthcare executives by reporting on important healthcare events and trends, as they happen, through our website, e-newsletters, mobile app, and print magazine, and by hosting a dozen annual events and conferences across the country. In her role as publisher, Mrs. Lopez oversaw the editorial, sales and marketing, digital, and audience development associates who together power the Modern Healthcare media brand.


To make big things happen, go against the norm. It takes courage.



Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Good afternoon, Ms. Fawn Lopez. How are you?

Fawn Lopez: Good afternoon, Carladenise. I am doing well. Thank you. And you?

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: I’m fantastic. I’m actually really excited and thrilled that you have found the time to join us on her story, and as we think about the purpose of the show, which is really inspiring women and inspiring men as well. Anyone who’s in healthcare and who needs a little bit of boost in wisdom to advance and catapult their career are typically the folks who will listen. I really would love to hear about your background, Fawn. Tell us a little bit about what you’re currently doing with your time and your journey into modern healthcare and into journalism and communications.

Fawn Lopez: So I I’m currently the publisher Emeritus of Modern Healthcare. I was, Modern Healthcare’s publisher for since 2005 and retired at the end of 2022. I said retired not actually retired. Rewired rewiring maybe. But I’m still en engaged and involved with Modern Healthcare on a very different level supporting some of the key initiatives and those initiatives that I’m very passionate about. They are women leaders in healthcare and they are sustainability, those. Two of the key projects that modern Healthcare host on a, on an annual basis, which I am still fortunate enough to be involved with. So that’s what I do for modern healthcare. And then outside of that, I am just, trying to take it easy doing. Some of the things I didn’t get to do when I was in my very active role as publisher of Modern Healthcare. So yes I’m getting I’m experiencing new things that I postponed and I’m loving it actually, and I miss, Fully engaged, but I don’t miss it that much. Yep. To be honest with you, So I am I’m enjoying my new situation right now.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: You have met and probably interviewed and engaged with some of. Most incredible leaders in the industry and out, and you talk about change. What do you think you’ve learned or summarized about the characteristics of a very good or strong change agent, or if you had to nail it or boil it down, did you see a theme among the leaders that were the most impactful?

Fawn Lopez: Yes. Courage. Huge to make big things happen. To go against the norm. It takes courage. And then with that is resilience, right? We there are always obstacles to overcome. They’re always naysayers, they’re always things that don’t always go your way. The best, most impactful, successful leaders that, that I know are those and are very courageous. And they’re resilient hugely they’re, and they’re intentional. Good leaders are intentional leaders, people who know and are really paying attention and in, in a very intentional way. Good leaders are good LIS listeners, and and they are collaborative. They, it’s not just. Them is not just about their ideas, it’s about the whole, it’s about getting everyone to the table and talking and facilitating and talking about issues and allowing people to have a voice. And so those are some of the, I think what I’ve seen. Characteristics that make leaders, effective that, that create build strong leaders. Yes, they have to be smart. Yes, they have to be good communicators, but they God have the courage to speak, to take a position to, to drive change.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: I’m curious if you would be willing to share with the audience, what inspires you? As a woman, as a woman of color who’s been in pretty much a male dominated field. Has been probably the first of many things in your family, in your community in your industry. Tell us a little bit about what inspires you to keep going.

Fawn Lopez: To answer that question, I might take us back a little

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Yes, please.

Fawn Lopez: years back. I haven’t always been the publisher emeritus of Modern Healthcare. So almost 48 years ago I was stranded at a refugee camp. At Camp Pendleton, California, outside of in San Diego, I was with eight family members. None of us spoke English. We were poor. We had to embrace a new culture and a radically different family dynamic. My father was a criminal in the South Vietnamese army, and as the war drew to an to a close, he decided to risk his own life and the lives of his wife and six children and a father to re seek freedom in the United States. Our journey took us. Saigon to Guam to Camp Pendleton, and from there it was on to Kansas City where we took more staffs to fulfill my father’s plan for a better future in America. All of us, even the kids children, looked for work. My mother was a Centres, never worked before life. My father was a janitor, colonel, former colonel, and he worked two jobs to support the. My parents lived the gospel of hard work while the kids built a foundation for our future through education. So it was with my family, the generosity of the American people and what that gave us the strength, the, my family, the strength and will it needed to build a new life in America. So we were focused and determined not to squander the opportunity that we risked our lives to fulfill. It was about the future. And a way to a better future was through education. So my father used to say, the money will come and grow but your education and your integrity will be with you forever. It will give you the confidence and freedom to do things that you might otherwise not even attempt or consider. It’s been that for me that has driven me and it was a driving force for all that, everything that I’ve done since then. And, I’ve had to navigate healthcare. I came to Modern Healthcare, actually didn’t wanna go to Modern Healthcare. I was recruited to Modern Healthcare. When I was with the same company, it was Modern Healthcare is owned by a very successful B2B media company. And I was with a different brand when I was being recruited to Modern Healthcare. Didn’t wanna go to healthcare. I didn’t want to leave where I was because I loved, my work. We were having all kinds. We were breaking all kinds of records and but it took, and it took seven months after I continued repeatedly turned the job down seven months later with, pressure from leadership and. A sense of obligation and responsibility. I took the job at the time, modern Healthcare was a turnaround, and it was a turnaround situation that I was hired here to do to fix and didn’t have any, I didn’t plan to stay longer than two years. And after I got there six months later there was no way I was gonna leave because I loved the work. I loved the mission of not only the Indu the healthcare industry, but also the mission of modern healthcare, which is, to help healthcare executives and organizations be more success. By providing the, news, information and insights that they need to be successful. So yes, I have been there since I was at Modern Healthcare. I joined Modern Healthcare in October of 2021. No. 2001 and became the publisher in 2005 and retired at the end of 2022. So for me it was about I’ve had to overcome a lot to To get to where I was or warming up today, and I wanted to make sure that other people, if I could help it at all that to shorten or to. Help them to not have to go through some of the challenges or obstacles that I faced as a woman, as a minority in this very when I joined 22 years ago. Very male dominated and white industry.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Fawn, it’s interesting, I was in a meeting a couple weeks ago, I don’t even remember what city I was in, and I looked up, was the only female in the room, and I was the only person of color in the room. And I loved the meeting. It was a perfectly fine meeting and I, did my stuff and held my own. But when I was getting on the taxi to go to the airport, I said to myself, how’s this possible in the year 2023? And I’m still showing up to business meetings. It’s the only woman and the only person of. So we have to keep doing what you have done, which is open that door and break that glass to create a pathway for others to follow. And as you describe the strengths of leaders, I heard all of those in your own story, the courage and the intentionality. Really, I like to call it fearlessness.

Fawn Lopez: Yep.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: To do things that have never been done before. So I’m very grateful for you in everything that you’ve done in your leadership role professionally, and the things that you do personally that go unspoken that folks don’t often share or even know about. At this pivotal juncture in your career, right? I’m sure you’re looking at role models to figure out to go left or to go right, or how to manage. But you are a role model. And so if you had to give advice to your younger self, right? And others that are wanting to get to the space of vocational freedom where you can decide how you wanna spend your time, what advice would you give?

Fawn Lopez: Nothing good comes easy. I mentioned earlier when about my background and my father always told us, a way outta poverty was through education and hard work. And you have to always look for opportu. It’s they just don’t, and sometimes they come to you and you’re not aware of it. Always love for ways to contribute, to do more, work hard, be smart, be op, opportunistic, but be with a sense of. Purpose and giving in mind. And look for people that will support you, that will champion you will promote you, will help you. We don’t do this a lot. Build a community of support. When I was younger, and actually I still do have it, I created my own personal. Board of directors, and they include my family members, friends mentors, former bosses, colleagues, and different from different paths, different, industries, different roles in, in their professional career. So that I could ask and tap them for. Feedback and never afraid to ask for help, right? It’s, you can’t be too proud and you don’t know everything. So I will be the first to say, I don’t know everything. I will ask and be curious and an advice I would give myself, my younger self is not to worry too much.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Oh yes.

Fawn Lopez: I there are things you can’t control. There are things that are out of your control and that you can’t save everyone. People have to do it for themselves. You give them the opportunity, you give them the platform. But they have to take it. They have to make it happen. Those are some. Things that I would say to myself and for me working hard was not was just a part of my life. What I do. And I figured it out. Why it, I didn’t mind it. It was because I loved what I did. Hi, so it wasn’t work. I was getting a lot more from it. Then I was giving back to it. So if youer really are purposeful, if you’re intentional, if you’re passionate about what you do, work is a joy. It’s a privilege to get to do what we do.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Thank you so much for sharing, sharing your time and your story with us. Most importantly, thank you for your leadership in the industry and everything you’ve done for the phenomenal women. Those that have been honored and recognized and those that are yet to be, I would like to say thank you for everything that you’ve done. Thank you Ms Fawn Lopez for sharing your story with Her Story.

Fawn Lopez: Thank you, Dr. Edwards. You’ve been an inspiration, you’ve been a good friend, and I am honored and. Grateful to have you in my corner, and I know you are in many people’s corners, so thank you for all that you do to help support other women and minorities.

Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.: Yes. Thank you.

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