May 31, 2023 – Chicago-based executive search firm MalinHughes recently assisted in the recruitment of Cyndy Donato as executive vice president of people and culture at Kootenai Health. “We were grateful to work with the leadership team at Kootenai Health on an executive search to place their EVP of people and culture, Dr. Cyndy Donato,” said MalinHughes. “David Jones recently led Kootenai through a HR transformation process and now excited to have Cyndy leading the HR function and join the executive team.” Dr. Donato has more than 30 years of experience in human resources across a variety of industries. She is joining Kootenai from BJC Healthcare in St. Louis, where she has served as the regional vice president of human resources since 2016.
Reporting to chief people officer, Dr. Donato was responsible leading business HR for 9,000 employees across five acute care hospitals and corporate services. She also led system response to COVID-19 including, furlough, recall, redeployment and standing up a central staffing office.
Before that, Dr. Donato was chief people officer of Novus International. In this role, she was responsible for global people solutions, SG&A expense management and facilities management for $1.3 billion, 800 employee, nutritional supplement business with global sales in livestock, pet and human health, leading an HR and operations staff of 30, and operating budget of $6 million. Prior to this, Dr. Donato served as VP of HR for Express Scripts. During her career, she has also led senior HR positions with Sara Lee, The Falcon Companies, and Monsanto.
Related: CEOs Realizing the Value of Culture
Kootenai Health provides comprehensive medical services to patients in northern Idaho and throughout the Inland Northwest. Its main campus is located in Coeur d’Alene, ID, and includes a 330-bed community-owned hospital. Kootenai is accredited by DNV and holds magnet designation for nursing excellence. It has been recognized as a Gallup Great Workplace and as a No. 1 Best Place to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine.
Proven Recruiting Process
MalinHughes’ leadership team has more than 50 years of combined recruitment experience. The firm uses a shared platform that allows clients to see progress throughout each search and share market insights. MalinHughes’ reporting capabilities include data analytics on job posts, advertising spend, relevant industry news, candidate information, and other custom content. The firm also has experience placing executives across North America and the U.K. MalinHughes specializes in banking/financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology.
The Importance of Culture on Today’s Businesses
Culture is hardly a new concept. Well before the rise of various models and frameworks to evaluate organizational culture, companies recognized the risk of hiring a cultural mismatch — such as the lone wolf in a company that values collaboration. New employees, especially leaders, who clash with the culture are often ineffective, and are likely to quickly depart for a friendlier environment.
“Toxic cultures have been shown to predict undesired turnover 10 times as powerfully as employee attitudes about compensation,” said Maryanne Wanca-Thibault, partner, DHR Global Leadership Consulting. She points to Donald Sull and his son Charlie Sull who analyzed a dataset of over a million Glassdoor.com employee reviews to understand the most powerful drivers of culture. They isolated five traits that predict most strongly whether a culture is toxic: disrespectful, non-inclusive, unethical, cutthroat, and abusive. “If any of these themes show up in your employee feedback, you know you need to take action,” said Dr. Wanca-Thibault.
Brad Newpoff is the co-founder, president and CEO of MalinHughes. He has conducted searches for hundreds of C-suite and senior-level executives for leading U.S. and global companies in healthcare services, technology, financial services, and industrial industries. With almost 20 years of executive search experience, Mr. Newpoff specializes in recruiting CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs and senior executives for the industries he serves.
Robert Becker is co-founder and Managing Partner of MalinHughes. He leads the banking/financial services practice along with overseeing the operations of the firm. Mr. Becker has worked with industry-leading banks, asset managers, and trading firms.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media