Ge (Gary) Cao joined Akron Children’s on April 1 in the new position of vice president of enterprise analytics. In this role he will oversee the hospital’s data and analytics strategy as well as work to build, lead and develop a data and analytics enterprise team.
He has held a variety of executive positions within the analytics field at companies with revenues ranging from $40 million to $120 billion. Most recently, he led the strategic transformation initiative and team on data and analytics at U.S. Venture, Inc.
He was awarded “Industry Leader” in the Analytics Hall of Fame in 2019 and is a frequent speaker and advisor for the International Institute for Analytics and the MIT Chief Data Officer and Info Quality Symposium.
Tell us a little about your background and schooling.
As the only child in my family, I grew up in the southern part of China, went to Peking University in Beijing at age 18, and came to the U.S. at age 26 to pursue a graduate degree in economics at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Later, I received my MBA from Tulane University, and a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.
What attracted you to this position at Akron Children’s?
I have always been interested in the health care industry, specifically the provider space, because the work directly impacts people and community. Akron Children’s has a great history, culture, core values and community-service mission. I met more than 20 people when I interviewed for this role and was impressed with the people and the collaborative culture. I feel as a person and as a professional I am respected, valued, and appreciated, and I have a chance to make my contribution to the organization.
Tell us about the duties of your current role?
With sponsorship from the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and collaboration with many colleagues, the enterprise data and analytics team will work on creating the hospital’s data and analytics strategy in support of its strategic imperatives and goals. I see 6 dimensions on how to structure our work: strategy, project portfolio, data resources, technology environment, process improvement and people.
If you didn’t work in health care leadership, what would your dream job be?
My dream job would have these components: autonomy, learning and growth, collaboration and a positive impact on people around us and on the environment. It could be a farmer, a carpenter or craftsman, or an automotive mechanic.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married for 28 years; my wife works as an accountant. We have 2 sons, one works in the Bay area on the west coast, the other is in college near Boston. Both boys were competitive swimmers in high school.
How do you relax?
Reading books, doing yard work, watching movies (history and war) and occasionally doing car mechanic work. They use different parts of my brain, so they make me feel relaxed.
Most interesting place you’ve been and why?
Maui, Hawaii. I particularly enjoyed the Haleakala downhill bicycle ride with my sons.
What was your first paying job?
I worked as a tour guide and English interpreter at a non-profit organization focused on international cultural exchange programs.
What would you change about yourself if you could?
Not much, I don’t have any major regrets in my life.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra you live by?
Life is a journey. Enjoy the experience, meet with people, build and sustain positive energy. I hope that I have the peace of mind to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can for the better, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I have a sweet tooth, but I am generally self-disciplined enough to not eat too many sweet foods over a certain period of time.