Lilly Marks, Vice President for health affairs and Executive Vice Chancellor of the Anschutz Medical Campus taken on July 8, 2010. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado take July 8, 2010

Lilly Marks: Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Colorado, AAMC Board of Directors

Lilly Marks stands out.

She is one of those speakers you remember.

So I was not surprised when Dara Kass wrote me: Would you consider writing a piece about Lilly Marks for FemInEM?  I am at the AAMC mid career and she is amazing. She agreed to be profiled. Figure since you know her the best and you’re EM it would be best for you to. Thanks

Great. Glad to. I love speaking with Lilly.

I also first met Lilly at the AAMC Mid Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar in 2013. Her keynote presentation on health care systems and the future of health care organizations was smart, neat, organized, and personal. Like Lilly.

Lilly’s list of accolades and accomplishments is impressive. She serves as Vice President for Health Affairs for the University of Colorado and Anschutz Medical Campus, which includes the university’s Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health, College of Nursing and Graduate School and the University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Prior to her health campus leadership role, she spent two decades as both Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration at the School of Medicine and as Executive Director of University Physicians, Inc.. She has served as Chair, Board of Directors of the University of Colorado Hospital and as a member of the UCHealth System Board of Directors.

Currently Lilly is a board member of the Association of American Medical Colleges, Children’s Hospital Colorado, The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the Advisory Board for Clinical Research of the National Institutes of Health, the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority, the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC chair-elect), the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, and the Rose Community Foundation. She is also a member of the AAMC Advisory Panel on Research and is a trustee of the University of Colorado Foundation.

Not bad.

Her designations include the 2012 Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business Award and a 2014 5280 Magazine one of 50 Most Powerful People in Denver recognition.

She keeps a business schedule and a pace, which matches that of a Colorado ultra-marathon runner.

So what is it about Lilly? Why does she stand out to people? I asked her this as an opening question at our our meeting in January. Not your typical interview question, I know and not necessarily easy to answer.   She took a minute to think. And, I add my own thoughts to the response. She is a combination of intelligent, warm, prepared, organized, and exquisitely accomplished.

She is a non M.D. working and leading in an M.D. world.

One of the more interesting points Lilly made relates to working with doctors. She shared that doctors are a tough crowd. Doctors are smart and they think they are smartest people in the room; however, they are not the only smart people in the room and they need to realize this.

Lilly says that when it comes to meetings and that includes lectures, she intends to be the most prepared person in the room. She knows her information, her data, her lecture content and delivers this without pause. Another reason she stands out.

For her, time working means time away from family. She is married with two grown daughters each of whom has a family. She is a grandmother to three boys. She told me “My car is my office.” When she is home, time and meals with family are highly valued. To maximize the demands of her schedule, appointments, and obligations, she believes in hiring out the services she can. This creates and allows time to focus on the people she loves.

I queried her for tips and tricks, pearls and pitfalls of working with an administrative assistant. She said that there is friendliness; however, not friendship. This person is a representation of you. You should be sure the appearance, personality, and means of communication matches what you want the world to see. You should directly interview and select this person.

On networking, Lilly states that she wishes she started this intention earlier in her career. She thinks women do not put themselves forward or up for positions because they feel they are not ready or qualified. She wishes now that she had applied for career advancements she opted out of in the past.

A final point. Lilly is special. She is a leader, a mentor, and exquisitely professional. There is a gentle seriousness and intelligent academic focus, with which I identify. Her mother and her father survived the Nazi death camp Auschwitz.   The generation inheritance Lilly carries is an amazing ability to deal with challenge- a resilience, and a task-oriented work ethic that comes with a feeling of responsibility. And an ability to speak Yiddish.