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Meet the Bellwether League Foundation

Mike Langlois | Monday, May 8, 2023

Last Fall, Jamie Kowalski, one of the founders of the Bellwether League Foundation (BLF) and current Board Chairman, called and asked if I would be interested and available to get involved in the Bellwether League Foundation.  I have admired this organization from a distance for several years, but never had the occasion to attend one of its events nor become too familiar with its mission.  I did know that they honored Healthcare Supply Chain Leaders, representing providers, suppliers, consultants, educators, and GPOs, who have accomplished much for their organizations and the industry over a 25-plus year career.  As I have been blessed during my career with some great opportunities and experiences, I quickly accepted Jamie’s invitation to participate.  I now serve on the organization’s Advisory, Philanthropy and Professional Development Committees.  If you are not familiar with the Bellwether League Foundation, I would like to introduce you to this fine organization.

The Bellwether League Foundation was founded because two gentlemen, Jamie Kowalski and Rick Dana Barlow,  strongly believed (based on experience and data) that supply chain management's impact on healthcare (not just costs, but quality and clinician satisfaction, too) was not optimized nor well understood by enough senior executives (not necessarily their fault - Supply Chain leaders must help them). This resulted in minimal investment, scope of authority, status (the executive team) and attention being given to the supply chain and its leader, as well as their potential successors. There was a lack of strategy and planning at both levels, mostly because neither thought Supply Chain was a big part of the enterprises' strategy.  As a result, the Supply Chain Leaders were not helping executives realize that Supply Chain was (or must be considered as) a foundational component of the enterprises’ strategy, essential to support sustainability.

As a result of the pandemic, some of this has changed for the better, however, in many situations, organizations still do not have the level of capability and quality needed in their Supply Chain leader and team.  BLF is working on raising the level of recognition and capability of the profession through its “Hall of Famers”. Selection is based on their historic and most recent meaningful accomplishments as Supply Chain leaders, again, in the provider, supplier, GPO, etc. organizations. BLF evaluates and selects inductees via a quantitative and qualitative rubric. Each year's class is honored and publicized so they can be a model for others to try to emulate.

In the short three months that I have participated in discussions/planning with other BLF Committee members, the importance of this organization and its mission has escalated in my mind.  Not only are we recognizing past performers, but we are recognizing up-and-coming talent within the Healthcare Supply Chain ranks as well as developing programs designed to recruit and develop new talent that will be able to take the place of us old-timers!

The IDN Summit has been a great education and networking forum for many years, and I continue to be a proud member of the Advisory Committee.  I truly believe that the Bellwether Foundation League is a wonderful, complimentary organization that is much needed in our Healthcare Supply Chain Industry.  I encourage you to learn more about BLF at bellwetherleague.org and consider participating in its mission in one or more of these four ways:

  • Nominate someone for Bellwether Honoree and/or Future Famer consideration.
  • Attend the Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Forum and the Bellwether League Foundation Induction & Recognition Event (BLFIRE) this October.
  • If you’re a Bellwether Inductee (Hall of Famer … wear your class pin!), Ammer Honoree, Future Famer or Sustaining Sponsor, identify your professional relationship with BLF (e.g., in conversations, wearing your pin, on your bio/CV and LinkedIn profile, etc.) and tell others about the mission, value and vision of this organization verbally – why it’s worthwhile enough for them to join you in getting involved/supporting it, too.
  • Invest in the organization via a Sustaining and/or Event Sponsorship or an individual or corporate tax-deductible donation.


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