Parting Words for Patty
Patty Manning's retirement prompted long-time friends and colleagues to share their thoughts and memories of working with her.
Patty Manning has made many important contributions to Cincinnati Children’s. Although she is retiring, her impact will be felt well into the future. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated how fortunate we were in having Patty as chief of staff. She took on this role during a pandemic full of uncertainty and led our teams through it with calm and grace. We were on regional COVID-19 calls every day for years, and I was able to experience her leadership skills firsthand, even while I was working at UC Health!
Patty has made access to care a mantra of her leadership throughout her career—beginning in her role as the division director in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, next as vice president of Ambulatory and most recently as our chief of staff. I will always remember Patty inspiring our teams to focus on access by reminding us that patients feel that it is almost worse to know that our amazing care is close but not accessible versus not being available at all! Delivering amazing care is also something that Patty continues to do herself. I read the Patient Experience comments every day, and a week doesn’t go by when I haven’t read a parent comment about how deeply they value Dr. Manning’s superb care and how she has impacted the quality of their lives. Clearly, Patty’s patients are going to miss her as much as we are!
—Evie Alessandrini, MD, MSCE, Chief Operating Officer
“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” —Publilius Syrus
But, not anyone can take the helm in the midst of a global pandemic. I would venture to say that few could do this with as much grace as Patty Manning. Patty has far too many achievements to list. She has been respected and loved by her patients, families, staff, and peers for a very long time. She is a renowned developmental pediatrician. But how she helped lead us through the uncharted waters of COVID will be the cornerstone of her legacy.
She is an unwavering model of truth, hope, compassion, collaboration and perseverance. I feel so incredibly lucky to have started my Cincinnati Children’s career working with her and then working with her again for the last 4-plus years. My hope is that someday, Patty will realize the impact she has had on so many of us.
Douglas MacArthur said, “A leader does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of her actions and the integrity of her intent.” (I took some liberty and changed “his” to “hers.”) I think this quote embodies who Patty is, not only as a leader, but as a person.
THANK YOU, Patty, for your strength, your laughter, your competitive spirit, your humility, your integrity, your guidance and support, and for being authentically YOU. I could not write this without adding some lyrics, as Patty is also known for her love of music and musicals, so… “Too late for second-guessing/ Too late to go back to sleep/ It’s time to trust my instincts/ Close my eyes and leap/ It’s time to try defying gravity/ I think I’ll try defying gravity.”
We love you and will miss you and know that you will continue to defy gravity on your next stage.
—Nancy Gaughan, assistant vice president, Operations
I am very fortunate to have been friends with Patty for almost 32 years—since we started as pediatric residents together in 1991, with Dr. Farrell as our residency director. We had a very close residency class—I remember fun parties at Patty’s house (Bill was a wonderful host then too!) and tears together in the call room as interns at the Convalescent Unit for Children after a difficult code event. Patty was the person you hoped to have on your resident team—always full of energy, committed and positive, and those qualities have continued for all these years. I cannot think of anyone better to have been our chief of staff during the past three difficult years than Patty. She has been a voice of calm and reason—and I truly can’t imagine Cincinnati Children’s without her. She has touched the lives of so many patients and families—not only in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics but in all areas of the hospital. I’m also so appreciative of all the support and caring that Patty has shown for me over the years—and wish her the most well-deserved retirement. Patty—you will be incredibly missed!
—Elena Duma, MD, medical director, Liberty Campus/Emergency Medicine
I have had the incredible fortune of knowing Patty for virtually my entire career at Cincinnati Children’s. Through those many years, I have been both a witness to and beneficiary of Patty’s authentic leadership. Patty is truly exceptional…as a clinician, as a leader, and most importantly, as a person. She has a unique ability to lead with deep humanity and sincere commitment to our patients, families and staff.
Patty will go down in the history of our organization as the “COVID Chief of Staff,” and I know that for so many of us, we can think of no one better suited for such an incredible undertaking. Amidst the anxiety and uncertainty, she led with compassion, confidence and humor. Patty embodies servant leadership, as it is so evident that when you are with Patty that you are both cared about and cared for. What a lasting imprint she has made on our organization as a whole and on each of us individually who have had the pleasure to know her.
—Dave Krier, senior vice president of operations, Operational Excellence
Over the years, I have been fortunate to work with many great leaders, and Patty is amongst the finest. I could comment on so many leadership qualities she exhibits on a daily basis, but I will mention just a few. She is curious, optimistic, tenacious, courageous, and at the same time, humble. In addition, she has a unique ability to make hard tasks fun to work on. One final tremendous strength to highlight is that Patty is equally adept at giving feedback as she is at receiving it. This quality makes her fairly unique. As COO and then CEO, I have benefited greatly from her wise counsel, her friendship, and her desire to always be helpful to others.
—Steve Davis, MD, MMM, MS, president and CEO
Patty has long inspired me as the type of leader that I want to be. She is wise, confident, thoughtful and compassionate—a rare combination of traits in a leader for sure. I have learned so much just from watching her navigate the complexities of our system in a very difficult time that included the pandemic. In addition to watching her example, she has always taken time to mentor me one-on-one. I’m a better person and leader because of Patty and her influence on me.
—Jeff Anderson, MD, MPH, MBA, senior vice president, External Medical Affairs, and Chief Population Health Officer
Patty will be greatly missed by many in the community and the institution. After her fellowship, she was given the task to build a better system of care for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Her passion and excellence were instrumental in founding the Kelly O’Leary Center, now viewed as a model program across the US. We get numerous requests from other programs to visit and understand how to build such a robust and broadly impactful program. Patty thought well beyond the walls of Cincinnati Children’s, ensuring linkages to the community, family support, and expanding the capabilities within communities to care for children and families with autism spectrum disorder.
Her strengths and impact made her a clear leader for the division, co-leading the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and subsequently leading within the institution. Her path to chief of staff could not have come at a better time for the Cincinnati Children's. Her institutional leadership started at the beginning of the pandemic. Knowing Patty over time, I saw her strengths in decisive action, being willing to make mistakes and course-correct if needed. This was an essential leadership style as we moved into the unknowns of the pandemic. I also saw her apply her excellent bedside manner when many worries and questions would come up. She listened, was patient, reassuring and honest when there might not have been a recognizable course forward. She was steady, calming and forward-moving.
As division director, I have the fortune to see comments from families about providers from their Patient/Family Experience (PFE) scores. One quote I will never forget is:
“8,000 characters are not enough to describe what she has done for my son and family. Dr. Manning has made a lasting impact on his life, and for that I will be forever grateful. I cannot imagine the journey in front of us without her, but I know she has guided us to the next best thing at UC.”
This is not just one comment. This theme is in every PFE comment Dr. Manning receives.
Dr. Manning is a master clinician and master leader who will be greatly missed.
—Susan Wiley, MD, director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
What an honor it has been to work with Patty over the past five years. In my role as chief patient experience officer, I have the privilege of hearing the voices of our families as they navigate our system every day. Through the years, these voices routinely speak of the impact Dr. Manning has had on their lives. They speak to her skill as a master clinician, listening to the unique needs of each patient and family and responding with care, compassion and expertise. She has quietly been one of our top ambulatory providers and has led exceptional patient and family experience by example.
A long-term patient and family of Dr. Manning says it the best:
"Dr. Manning has been an amazing and valuable asset in our son's life. Her compassion and knowledge have added to his quality of life exponentially. This is true for our entire family. We are sorry to see Dr. Manning retire but wish her all the best, and we will greatly miss her."
As chief of staff, Patty has been an invaluable leader and mentor. She has expertly navigated us through the pandemic's challenges and was a much-needed calming voice amid uncertainty. Her leadership has ensured that we emerge from the pandemic stronger and better. I have been blessed to have Patty as a boss and mentor, and I will miss her greatly. I hope her next endeavors are full of blessings and joy. I also hope she gets some time to sleep in. She sure deserves it!
—Sam Hanke, MD, MS, MBA Chief Patient and Family Experience Officer
Dr. Manning became our chief of staff right as the unprecedented COVID pandemic hit. This was a time of high uncertainty and stress for our providers, patients and all of our staff. Her leadership helped all of us work together through this difficult time. She specifically maintained a calm approach, listened to experts and those just needing to share their concerns/anxiety. She also importantly empowered those of us on her team as associate chiefs of staff and other leaders to make decisions and lead our areas. She encouraged and supported joy among those she led and was not afraid to say she didn’t know an answer but would partner to find the answer or solution necessary. She now will leave the role on a great path forward focused on improved access for patients and a restructured and empowered Operations Excellence team. The next chief of staff will certainly have big shoes to fill!
—Rich Falcone, MD, MPH, MMM, vice president and associate chief of staff, Perioperative Operations
Dr. Patty Manning’s legacy at Cincinnati Children’s is phenomenal. I admire her unwavering dedication to patients, her honest, transparent, and sincere leadership, her integrity, and her ability to support and nurture colleagues with the perfect blend of compassion, understanding and tough love. Patty leads by example, and her unfaltering guidance, consistency and clear-thinking throughout the pandemic, as well as her exceptional diplomacy skills and authenticity, make her an exemplar for any leader.
I am grateful for her support and encouragement, and for the opportunity to work with and learn from her these past few years.
—Erika Stalets, MD, MS, associate chief of staff, Critical Care Services
I’ve known Patty for over 30 years. What you get with Patty is a caring physician and patient advocate who goes the extra mile for her patients. You also get an effective, approachable and inspirational leader. Patty assumed the chief of staff role just as the COVID pandemic was beginning. She stepped up and led us through the development of a myriad of new processes that needed to be adapted frequently. In addition to that, she was present for our staff and kept a great attitude and sense of humor. In many ways, Patty was the leader that Cincinnati Children’s needed during the pandemic. We should all thank her for a job well done.
—Joe Luria, MD, vice president, Mental Health Operations
I am extremely grateful for Patty’s leadership. Cincinnati Children’s, our patients and our community have truly benefitted from her compassionate care and advocacy. She jumped right into her role as the pandemic started and was the right person to lead us through that uncharted territory. She embraced the challenge and uncertainty of our “new normal” and led with conviction, despite the fact that no one (including her) had the right answers. Her grace, humility and presence inspire confidence and motivate us all to be better leaders. Personally, I am thankful for her mentorship, sponsorship and friendship. She is a female leader and role model that many of us hope to emulate.
—Christy White, MD, MAT, Chief Capacity and Flow Officer
Dr. Manning has been an incredible role model and mentor. She has an amazing ability to connect with people. She led our institution through a period of tremendous uncertainty and did so with grace. I am grateful to have been able to learn from her.
—Catherine Hart, MD, MS Associate Chief of Staff, Ambulatory