Top 5 Things on the Minds of GovCon Execs: Dr. Craig Cheifetz

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WashingtonExec has been reaching out to leaders in government and government contracting who’ve had success to learn more about their habits, experiences and perspectives.

Dr. Craig Cheifetz is vice president of corporate and premium services at Inova Health System, where he has held various leadership positions for nearly 14 years. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed his internal medicine training at Georgetown School of Medicine.

Cheifetz directs the Inova Office of Undergraduate Medical Education and has received several Golden Apple teaching awards for his efforts. In 2012, the American College of Physicians selected him for the Walter J. McDonald Award for Young Physicians based on his work developing the VCU School of Medicine – Inova Campus. He is certified by Stanford School of Medicine to teach other doctors how to teach and is also the recipient of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area Human Rights Award for his work with political refugees.

Craig Cheifetz, Inova Health System

What’s on your reading list?

Not so much on my list to read, but two I recently read and found incredibly valuable: “Flying without a Net” by Thomas J. DeLong and “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown.

The first because of the incredible insights into high performers and how we all struggle in similar ways. The second because of how it is important to make the main thing the main thing and to avoid getting sucked in as a leader to all the noise.

It is about the importance of saying “no,” especially after all those years of saying “yes.” Both are essential at different times in my career.  

Tell me about a time in your life when you had to really stretch yourself in order to learn and grow.

It was just recently during an executive leadership training program where I painfully spent four months completing a simple assignment: What is my personal brand? How incredibly easy it was to come up with superficial statements, but how deep I had to reflect to determine who I am based on my past and present accomplishments.

What words truly describe the essence of my core being? To those wondering, and we had to use as few words as possible, it is “Exponential Impact.” Patients’ lives, creating new doctors to excel, building a  center of advanced simulation to train those who train and care for others. 

If you could go back and give your younger self career and/or life advice, what would you say? 

Those who said to just get some more years of experience under your belt — perhaps about seven — were so right. What I see now I could not see then. It has made me a far better leader. Such lessons as focusing on the people and the process and not always just the end result. 

What’s your favorite city to visit? What do you enjoy doing there?

For me, it is not a city, but a way and a region. It is cruising the Caribbean where I can unplug, or as I sometimes refer to with my teams — take an electronic siesta to sharpen the saw. It is a place for family to be family all by ourselves.

Tell me about an app, device or type of technology you personally love and why.

I am always on the lookout for new gadgets. For me, it is my new fitness tracker that is a ring (Motiv). While it serves all the basics that I need from sleep, to calories, to resting heart rate, it shows me the progress we have seen in technology and my hope for even more. Not to mention it keeps me honest and reminds me to stay fit. It is the ring on my right index finger when I shake your hand.

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