Executive IDN Insights are emailed to you bi-weekly to provide executive supply chain leadership insights from two of the most trusted healthcare supply chain leaders. For decades they’ve led large supply chain organizations and now offer you their strategic thoughts on pressing issues you should be considering. Learn more about Brent and Mike.
If you’d like to receive this bi-weekly email series, please email Robert Chafin to be subscribed.

Medal of Honor Recipient Gives Us Thanks

Mike Langlois | Thursday June 17, 2021

During the 2021 Spring IDN Summit On-Site Experience, I had the opportunity to hear Kyle Carpenter’s Inspirational Keynote. Kyle is the youngest Medal of Honor recipient, an honor he received for his bravery and sacrifice during his deployment in Afghanistan. When his squad was attacked by Taliban forces, Kyle threw himself on a grenade to save a fellow Marine. The lessons he learned during his recovery provide incredible insights into life, love, and country.


If you have time, I highly recommend you watch this keynote. You can access the keynote recording here with the password “SPRING2021” for a limited time.  Below are a few of my takeaways:


  1. Journey of Self-Discovery: Perspective

I was struck by Kyle’s gratitude as he reflected on his long road to recovery. He discussed his life lessons that shaped his perspective. His thoughts on perspective remind us to be grateful for all experiences, both positive and negative.


  1. We All Have a Journey

I thought the concept that we all have journeys and we’re in it together was particularly relevant to healthcare. Whether we’re supply chain leaders, clinicians and nurses, C-suite executives, or support staff, we all have an interconnected role to play in improving patient outcomes.


  1. “The Smallest of Steps Completes the Grandest of Journeys”

Kyle shared one of his favorite lines in his book, You Are Worth It: Building a Life Worth Fighting For, during his speech. As supply chain leaders, the impact of behind-the-scenes work is not always visible. However, the many small actions we take each day leads to improved patient care and better outcomes in the future.


  1. Our Struggles Connect Us

Kyle shared two “lightbulb moments,” where he met individuals whose experiences were similar yet different from his experiences. Their struggles helped them relate to each other. We’ve all struggled throughout the COVID-19 pandemic yet felt the impact differently. As we develop a more collaborative healthcare environment, we can draw on this shared experience to relate to each other.

Before concluding his keynote, Kyle stopped and very deliberately thanked all in attendance for their participation in helping with his recovery. Although he had had the opportunity to thank his direct caregivers during his recovery, he had not had the opportunity to thank those working behind the scenes.


It was a touching and humbling moment for me. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we heard about many of the public-facing essential workers, but the healthcare supply chain also deserves recognition. As Kyle’s story illustrates, we have been an essential part of healthcare long before anyone heard of coronavirus.


I know I’ve written about this before, but Kyle’s recognition moved me to again remind all of us that although we work mostly behind the scenes, it is so important to keep the patients at the forefront of the hearts and minds of supply chain team members because we provide patient care.

Previous Insights