Feedback: July 2018

by Allan Alford, Sharon Harper, Hugh H. Lytle

What have you identified most recently as your greatest risk to the ongoing success of your company, and what did you do to prevent it or overcome it? 

Allan Allford

President and CEO
Delta Dental of Arizona
Sector: Healthcare

Cybersecurity breaches may be the single greatest risk affecting all companies regardless of size or industry. It’s certainly on the short list of things that keep me awake at night. Research consistently shows that healthcare data breaches in particular are among the highest across industries, so we’ve dedicated significant resources to mitigating our cybersecurity risk. This includes regular employee training and education, creating stronger firewalls and encryption policies, and engaging with third-party security firms to enhance our network protections. In addition, we’ve launched a program with Medix Dental to offer a free IT security risk assessment to our network dental offices. The no-cost assessment identifies security risks and outlines a plan for remedying concerns to ensure patient data is less at risk. 

I have no doubt that cybersecurity breaches will continue and cybercriminals will likely become more clever and creative despite better awareness among executives and the investments made to protect their organization’s data. Business owners and executives will need to ensure their security efforts also continue to evolve to combat these threats.  

Allan Allford is president and CEO of Delta Dental of Arizona, the leading dental benefits insurance company in the state. Allford is also the president of the Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation, which helps provide access to dental services and oral health education for Arizonans in need. In addition, Allford serves on several boards and professional associations within the Greater Phoenix community.

Sharon Harper 

President, CEO and Co-Founder
Plaza Companies
Sector: Real Estate

The most important thing any company can do is to always maintain the reputation for excellence, credibility, ethics and accountability. Nothing is more important. To avoid risk requires everyone in the company, every day, working with the right work ethic in mind. It requires being timely, accountable, respectful of all, and responsive. It means always meeting — and, hopefully, over-delivering — on expectations. The right work ethic protects and strengthens the ongoing success of a company, and protects it from the risks inherent in the marketplace. And it starts with leadership and constant mindfulness of the standards mentioned previously.

Additionally, we have found that it is critical to be versatile, innovative and able to work across market sectors. Companies can find themselves in a high-risk situation if they are not able to adapt to the economic environment around them. By working in sectors that have lower risk and stronger fundamentals, and by focusing on a culture of innovation in all we do, we minimize our risk and best position the company for future success.  

Sharon Harper is president, CEO and co-founder of Plaza Companies. Her forward-thinking commitment has helped make Plaza one of the premier real estate firms in Arizona and has earned her and Plaza respect throughout the industry and across the country. She is not only dedicated to her business endeavors, but is also actively involved in many different aspects of the community.

Hugh H. Lytle

Chairman, CEO and Founder
Equality Health
Sector: Healthcare

“Every business is a risk — even more so when you’re banking your revenue on results, as we are at Equality Health. It’s literally written into our customer contracts that we get paid according to the metrics we deliver; specifically, how much more we open up access to culturally competent healthcare and improve outcomes for vulnerable patient populations. Definitely a risk, but it’s where the entire healthcare economy is headed and is central to our purpose-driven mission.

Our approach has been to embrace, not just accept, risk. We hire the best people. We give them the tools they need to succeed. More importantly, we make innovation a core value. A risk is a risk for a reason: It involves diving into uncharted territory to create change. And change doesn’t occur without innovation and passion.  

The common thread throughout Hugh H. Lytle’s 25 years of healthcare leadership is a focus on population health innovations with a strong social mission and a desire to bring systemic change to the U.S. healthcare system. As founder, chairman and CEO of Equality Health, Lytle works with managed care plans, employers and health systems to deliver a new level of culturally sensitive care to our most underserved communities. 

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