Rhonda F. Rhyne, CEO & Board Director of Prevencio Inc Profile

Lisa Keckich
Executive Director
Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning

Rhonda F. Rhyne, CEO & Board Director of Prevencio Inc Certificate

“Collaborate to achieve company goals”

The Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning (ACHL) is an accredited provider of continuing medical education (CME) and continuing pharmacy education (CPE). With her unique managerial style, Lisa Keckich, the executive director of the company, gives details about their mission: to design, develop, and implement quality continuing education activities that will have a positive influence on the way healthcare is practiced and ultimately improve the quality of care provided to patients.

One of Lisa’s proudest accomplishments came early in her career. She joined a small, under resourced healthcare association six months after graduating. She didn't have the experience but identified an opportunity to create a guide that optimized their membership software to process member payments, reduce costs, and improve member retention and satisfaction. Building relationships with key stakeholders and understanding how these basic functional service domains could work together to achieve the organization's strategic goals enabled this. She did this independently, on her time after accomplishing her regular responsibilities. It became the basis for her business philosophy and career.

Lisa's most influential manager allowed her to fail but held her accountable to fix her mistakes and progress, benefiting her and her company.While her most intuitive manager style is one she favored as a direct report, she challenges herself to employ techniques that best suit the individual's experience, skill, acumen, and professional incentives. Some want structure, others autonomy. Some employees are good at impromptu thinking, whereas others need time to reflect. As a manager, she creates an environment where people can work efficiently and effectively to achieve company goals.

If two team members can't agree on how to tackle a task without mediation, Lisa assembles the team to review the program's goals and weighs the benefits and cons of each proposed action. The team likes this problem-solving method because it removes emotions, validates each person's perspective, and encourages buy-in to the final answer, which may be a third option not previously explored.

In situations where two people have personality conflicts, Lisa first speaks to each person to better understand the conflict, creating a forum in which each employee can be heard and respected, and then facilitates a dialogue to establish a shared understanding and best practices for ongoing collaboration. But before effective communication and mediation, there must be trust. Communications, especially electronic ones, can easily be misconstrued so each team member must trust that their colleagues are operating with good intentions, allowing for misunderstandings to be addressed and resolved. Even Lisa has admitted to being too brief or too dismissive in electronic communications, being too quick to dismiss topics she deems inconsequential. If she "solves" the issue too quickly, employees may feel unappreciated. She learned the value of validation and prefers direct communication opportunities to listen, sympathize, and participate.

To engage everyone in the company's goals and challenges, Lisa includes the entire team in strategy planning, which she believes improves culture and mission buy-in. She thinks employees are most driven by having the ability to offer input and receive recognition for their contributions. But having employees who share these values and appreciate these opportunities is critical. Lisa seeks out curiosity in employees since they are more driven, agile, and able to empathize and collaborate. Individuals who are curious are eager to grow in their positions. They are also willing to listen to others and try new things, which is essential for business complexity and innovation. Over half of their employees have been there for ten years.

As a manager, firing an employee for performance or financial reasons is the hardest decision. When it's a performance issue, she always wonders what else she could have done to help this person meet the position's goals, and when it's a financial issue, while macro-economic issues are out of her control, the need to restructure often stems from poor management decisions. After a profitable 2021 fiscal year, she aggressively invested in additional staffing to fuel growth, only to hit a sales wall in Q4 2022/Q1 2023 during a pharmaceutical industry funding slowdown. Despite efforts to reorganize executive compensation and improve pipeline activity, she had to dismiss some newly formed positions, which she still believes offer a competitive advantage and long-term growth opportunity. The consequence is a lesson in humility—that no matter how great or skilled we are, we will periodically fail and must learn from these experiences to benefit the organization and its people.

And in a small company, if one person isn’t performing, the implications are sizeable. It is critical that the team has unified purpose to help them stay on track. Understanding why an educational program is important builds buy-in and provides a roadmap so everyone understands where to go. They encourage team members to seek solutions to problems, weighing the desired outcomes and implications of their choices in a continuous cycle of ideation, action, evidence, and refinement. They celebrate their successes and ensure that opportunities for recognition, such as presenting at industry events or receiving professional society awards, are equally shared among team members.

Without a team, Lisa and the company fail. Everyone is important. She needs team members to understand and respect how their work affects their mission. They must have patience and trust that they can overcome challenges and achieve their goals. All of us need to be aligned on where we want to be and how we are going to get there, says Lisa.

Lisa feels active listening creates favorable impressions. When you're passionate about your company's work, it's easy to start a conversation by describing all it can do but creating a long-term relationship with a client or partner requires listening to their priorities and then proposing ideas to help them reach their goals.

Lisa states their company's size—revenue and employees—poses the biggest challenge. The cost of labor and business acquisition is high within their industry and large companies can offer favorable compensation and benefits; which can make it difficult for small firms to compete for employees. To expand programs, minimize overhead, and enhance cash flow, several similar-sized medical education institutions have been acquired or consolidated. For ACHL to compete and profit, they must balance innovation, efficiency, and quality. They also need to broaden courses across different therapeutic areas and diversify financing sources to foster sustainable growth. To navigate this environment, Lisa focuses on planning, prioritization, effective delegation, and knowing what’s good enough.

According to a recent JAMA article, evidence takes 17 years to change clinical practice, indicating the difficulty evaluating and translating clinical knowledge. Lisa thinks an over-reliance on knowledge-based medical education fails to effectively model translational practices. She believes ACHL’s future lies in developing digital frameworks to offer real-time access to individualized training and educational solutions integrated into healthcare delivery to transfer rising science into clinical practice. These accomplishments will distinguish them.


Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning


Lisa Keckich
Executive Director
Academy for Continued Healthcare Learning


ACHL’s mission is to design, develop, and implement quality continuing education activities for medical and pharmacy professionals across diverse practice settings that will have a positive influence on the way healthcare is practiced and improve patient outcomes. ACHL’s vision is to improve health outcomes through collaborative, impactful education.

Inspiring Leaders Magazine 2023