John R. Ness
President and CEO
West Cecil Health Center, Inc.
John R. Ness encourages his staff members to be the solution to the barriers and problems they encounter every day.
“One of the things I dislike most is hearing, ‘Because that’s the way we’ve always done it,’” said Ness, who has been president and CEO since 2016. “Innovation is a big focus for me and my employees. If they have a problem but not a whole solution, I will work with them to figure it out and coach them how to be better problem-solvers.”
Ness, who started with West Cecil Health Center in 2012 as its chief financial officer, said he has leveraged partnerships and technology to improve operations. Among the highlights: developed a new dental health site with the University of Maryland School of Dentistry; changed the electronic health records system to improve care coordination and expand services; offered a new therapy to better identify and treat substance users and abusers, including opioid abusers; and partnered with head starts for dental screenings and treatment for underserved children.
Ness said the key to his success as a leader is in being a good role model. “That requires that I be decisive, disciplined, and consistent and that I hold my team to those same values,” he said.
“If I had to pick one particular aspect that is most important in being a successful leader, it’s to be self-aware of how you are perceived by others. You have to be aware of the verbal and non-verbal messages you are sending so you are communicating clearly.”
This is a winner profile from The Daily Record’s 2018 Maryland’s Most Admired CEOs awards. Some information for this profile was sourced from the honoree’s application for the award.