September 2012

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live in a man's world Dr. Frank Byrne Wrapping up a celebratory year at St. Mary's Hospital There's the business of being Dr. Frank Byrne—leading the award- winning St. Mary's Hospital—and then there's the fun of being Dr. Frank Byrne. You can find him biking about Madison, out at numerous community events, or onstage as a member of two (yes, two) classic rock bands. But Byrne wouldn't be who he is without mixing business and pleasure—and there's no greater example than how he has spent the last year. As St. Mary's rings in its 100th anniversary, he's been in a celebratory mood. From working with Culver's to develop a brand new custard flavor—aptly titled St. Mary's Centenniali- cious—to happily taking a seat in the dunk tank at the recent pic- nic, he's making it a year to remember. With a nod to the past—Byrne is a serious student of the hospi- tal's history and the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, who built the or- ganization into what it is today—Byrne is looking to the future. Looking at all the events and stories St. Mary's has presented this past year, it seems you've really been having fun with the anniversary. We are. We're proud of our history. I believe your culture comes out of your history, and we think our culture is a key asset here. So we always have looked for ways to connect with who we are, how we got here, and why we are here. You began your career in patient care before moving to the administrative side. Do you ever miss it? Every day. I love what I do. I love where I do it. I love the people I work with. But there is nothing close to being as immediately grati- fying on a daily basis as the privilege of providing care to somebody. Is that why you've chosen to be so involved in the community—to give back and connect with people? Yes. Why do any of us do what we do? Because we think we can make a difference. So one of the ways my wife, Cindy, and I have chosen to make a difference is to be involved and support organiza- tions that are making our community a better place for everyone. Speaking of your family: In a past interview you commented that your wife has the fortunate task of not just keeping track of your three kids, but you as well. Now that your kids are out of the house, is the focus solely on you? Cindy likes to say, 'its exhausting being around you.' [laughs] My standard reply to that is, it's exhausting being me. But we have a lot of fun. On one of our classic weekend days [recently], we started out at the art fair and farmers' market, then we moved to Fete de Marquette. We were on our bicycles. Then we went out on Atwood Quick Questions with Byrne Who is your favorite musical artist? Right now my favorite CD is an obscure classic: David Lindley and El Rayo-X. In terms of favorite artist, I'd say Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. 24 BRAVA Magazine What is one word you would use to describe yourself? Energetic. What is one word your wife would use to describe you? Exhausting. What is a phrase you use too often? I've got some good ones. 'You can't put toothpaste back in the tube,' and 'as the pie shrinks, table manners change,' are two. September 2012 How do you always remember people's names? I don't have flash cards or tricks. It's a gift, I guess. I'm glad to have it. Avenue for dinner, then to the terrace—there was a great jam band playing that night—then we went home. It sounds like a quintessential Madison weekend. That was just one day. [laughs] Are you still playing with your bands? Yes, from time to time. One of the members of our local band, The Code Blue Band, had some health problems recently. He's recov- ering so we're anticipating we'll be able to get back in the swing of things. Then my plan to go back and play with Frankie and the Bananas, my band in [our previous hometown] Fort Wayne, Ind., was interrupted by the Joint Commission arriving for an unan- nounced tri-annual survey. And you know what they call hospital presidents who skip the Joint Commission's survey? Unemployed. But you would have had Frankie and the Bananas to fall back on. I would have. And that's exactly why I stayed for the survey. Looking ahead as the 100th anniversary events wrap up in September, what's on the horizon for St. Mary's Hospital? Our focus, simply put, is to continue to get better. We're passion- ate about delivering value to the people we serve, managing the financial resources effectively, and working collaboratively with our physician partners—we believe that's the future. ••• Photo by Shanna Wolf

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