To Lisa Replogle, vice president of finance at HonorHealth, leadership is not just about leading—it’s about listening and also having a sense of humor.
Replogle joined HonorHealth in the middle of a huge transition. “One of the things that was apparent to me very early on was the need to do some team building,” she says, “So, I decided to do some early team building exercises that focused on goofy, getting-to-know-you type games.”
But Replogle didn’t just organize these team-building exercises, she also participated in them. “I wanted people to get to know me and become familiar with my leadership style. I think that in these exercises is where I developed my saying, ‘Even if my door is closed, I have an open-door policy.’”
The strength in the exercises was the reinforcement of collaboration, which Replogle attributes to be another huge pillar in leadership. “Sometimes you have to make an unpopular decision, and you as a leader may not even agree with that decision, but it is your job to get people on board, to collaborate, and to build trust,” she says.
Beyond those early team-building exercises, Replogle believes that infusing humor into the workplace, more specifically her out-of-office email response, encourages a good-natured, collaborative atmosphere.
“I’m not afraid to laugh, to make fun of myself, or to put myself out there.”
“An employee sent me an article one time about out-of-office messages, and I took it to heart. I started writing emails with much more description. For example, my uncle won tickets to see Taylor Swift, but he had no clue who she was. My aunt offered them to my daughter and me, so I went ahead and put in my out-of-office message: ‘When your eighty-two-year-old uncle wins tickets to Taylor Swift and has no idea who she is, you go!’” she says, laughing.
“These messages allow me to engage people in a way that they probably otherwise wouldn’t engage with me. I’m not afraid to laugh, to make fun of myself, or to put myself out there,” she notes. And because of her light-hearted approach, Replogle doesn’t consider herself a typical accountant.
“Someone once told me that I have an engaging personality, which, they say, is rare for an accountant,” she jokes. In a past role, she enthusiastically participated in a flash mob at a company-wide meeting. “I love to throw humor into my presentations or team-building exercises. One team-building activity was to pick from a collection of items like a box of tissues or a ruler or a stapler. Each team then had to create an online dating profile or a resume for the object they picked. We had so much fun with that.”
To gain a sense of how she is as a leader, Replogle goes straight to the source: the people she works with on a daily basis. “I am open and honest, and in being that, I have found that people trust you, and they want to work for you and help you,” she says, noting that she asked her peers and team members to review her leadership style. Perhaps unsurprisingly, her team offered sincere, thoughtful words.
One employee remarked, “You have, as a leader, the ability to see and interpret different perspectives which add depth, clarity, and color. You do it with humility. You’re not afraid to dive into the trenches when it’s appropriate.” Another team member commented, “Your leadership strategy of communication and team building makes you trustworthy and people believe in you, which is easier said than done.” The final employee comment she offered echoes the other sentiments: “I’ve never seen you shy away from doing the grunt work when an issue or concern has been brought to your attention—a trait that I appreciate as you practice a level of professionalism with humanity.”
“Sometimes you have to make an unpopular decision, and you as a leader may not even agree with that decision, but it is your job to get people on board, to collaborate, and to build trust.”
Replogle’s approach to leadership with communication, collaboration, and humor has an excellent track record for success as evidenced through her employee engagement scores, which have been incredibly high over the past few years. “Higher than the national healthcare average,” she says, which is certainly apparent given the gracious remarks made by her colleagues.
In addition to her role at HonorHealth, Replogle is also the finance representative on the board of HonorHealth Desert Mission, which supports the organization’s community outreach by serving those in greater Phoenix through a variety of programs. “I love Desert Mission,” she says. “We have a food bank, as well as a child learning center and an adult day healthcare center for adults with dementia or injuries that don’t allow them to be at home alone. These two centers are in the same building, which allows the children and the elderly to interact regularly to help them reach their full potential for health and self-sufficiency.”
Replogle’s shining leadership approach and penchant for laughter are evident in this role, too. Executive Director of Desert Mission Sue Sadecki says to Replogle, “In the few years that I have been extremely fortunate to work with you, I have recognized that your leadership style is incredibly thoughtful, honest, and extremely sincere. You are an absolute delight to work with, and most importantly, you have an incredible sense of humor.”