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Harold Brockman

Chief financial officer, Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, 3569 Round Barn Cir., Santa Rosa 95403; 707-583-8839; srhealthcenters.org

Employees: 350

Professional background: 40 years in health care financial management, most of it as CFO in small hospital-based organizations

Education: MBA

Age: 66

What's the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment? Guiding management in identifying opportunities for expansion during a period of economic growth while maintaining appropriate cash reserves, etc., in order to maintain a strong balance sheet during future fluctuations in economic conditions.

What are the biggest changes you've seen in your industry?: Health care is going through the biggest change since the implementation of Medicare in the '60s: implementation of the Affordable Care Act and access to health insurance coverage for millions of Americans who are currently uninsured. This will put significant pressure on the system to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of people seeking care.

What challenges and opportunities have your organization met recently?: Access to dental care for Medi-Cal recipients and those without insurance is a major problem in our community. Santa Rosa Community Health Centers has been proactive in soliciting community support in securing funding for the purchase of a dental health center building and grant funds to remodel this facility and assist with covering startup expenses for a clinic to serve the needs of this segment of our population. This dental health center is projected to open in January and will aid greatly in improving the oral health of our community.

[caption id="attachment_78032" align="alignleft" width="200"] Harold Brockman[/caption]

What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?: Do what you love; love what you do. Job satisfaction is more important to success than money or prestige.

Spend more time listening than talking. Most problems that you deal with will be the result of miscommunication not technical issues.

Mentor those who work for you. Your success depends upon the effectiveness of those you direct.

What's the best advice for weathering today's economic environment?: Be flexible and willing to adjust quickly to changes in the economy and the environment in which you work. Be proactive, not reactive. Keep informed; take advantage of knowledge shared by those you know who have past experiences to draw upon.

How will your business change in the next five years?: Health care will continue through major transition over the next five years. Cost continues to be a major concern in healthcare and the only way to control costs and improve health is to place greater emphasis on maintaining health with a system that places greater emphasis on education and primary care that emphasizes mental, dental and social care as well as medical care.

What decision do you wish you hadn't made?: I do not regret any decisions I have made in my career. I have made many bad decisions, but what I learned from them has proven to be invaluable to me throughout my career.

It is more important to make a decision, even one that turns out to not be the best decision, versus not making a decision at all.

What is your most memorable business experience?: I spent several months as the acting chief executive officer of a health care organization during a period of merger and transition that included the development of its first-ever strategic and capital building plans.

What is your greatest business success?: Twice in my career, I have provided the financial leadership for the merger of two health care provider organizations that were struggling financially. The result of the mergers helped assure those communities that there was no loss of availability of appropriate health care services.

What was your toughest business decision?: In implementing the mergers, it was necessary to downsize management staff. This resulted in terminating many good people. A significant number of these people were folks who I had worked with and considered my friends.

What would your friends be surprised to find out about you?: While I am always willing to assume a leadership role, I am much more comfortable working in the background, helping others to succeed.

I am happiest when those I work with are recognized for their successes, and I know that I helped them to succeed.

Most admired businessperson: Warren Buffet

Current reading: For work, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip and Dan Heath. For leisure, Joyland by Stephen King.

Most want to meet: Bill Gates

Stress relievers: Spending time with my wife exploring the beautiful geography of this area and enjoying the discovery of wineries we have not visited in the past.

Favorite activities outside work: Exploring Sonoma County, watching sports, reading fiction and spending time with our children and grandson in the state of Washington.