Paul Gregerson's graduate business degree (EMBA '01) has helped him better serve his community. The lessons he learned in the program have been instrumental as he assumed various leadership roles in the healthcare industry. He has served on the board of the National Health Care for the Homeless and was the board chair of the National Respite Provider's Network.
Currently Paul serves as the chief medical officer for a private not-for-profit organization that provides primary healthcare to the underserved and uninsured populations of Los Angeles County, with a mission to increase access to care, improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities.
Here, Paul discusses his decision to attend the Mendoza College of Business for his graduate degree and the impact it has had on his life and career.
The Rally: Why did you choose Notre Dame for your graduate degree?
Paul Gregerson: Although I was living in Los Angeles in 1999 and could have chosen one of the many local MBA Programs (USC, UCLA, UCI, Pepperdine). Notre Dame was the only school I wanted to attend.
I grew up in the Chicago area and had family ties to the school (sister, cousins and an uncle) so I was aware of what a special place Notre Dame is. I felt like Notre Dame was already in my blood and I wanted to become an official part of the Notre Dame family--that served as the emotional and spiritual component of my decision.
The objective component was the national reputation that the Mendoza College of Business has for its academic excellence, the networking opportunities it affords and its inclusion of business ethics in the curriculum. Notre Dame would be an experience with memories to last a lifetime and not simply a process. I was right on!
The Rally: How has your graduate degree affected your career?
Paul Gregerson: As chief medical officer at John Wesley Community Health Institute, my role is to provide administrative leadership and medical oversight to all medical programs and clinic sites.
In medical school I learned how to diagnose and treat medical problems. However it was at Notre Dame that I developed my leadership skills, as well as the ability to communicate effectively and work collaboratively.
The EMBA program provided numerous opportunities to work in a group setting, and it was there that I gained insight into the importance of listening to diverse styles and approaches to problems. The CMO is a key member of the agency executive team, and in the setting of healthcare, a physician with business acumen is an essential and invaluable asset. The Notre Dame experience gave me the skills and confidence to lead with a better sense of myself, and to do it with credibility and a strong moral character.
The Rally: How do you stay connected to Notre Dame as an alumnus of its business school?
Paul Gregerson: Staying connected to Notre Dame is effortless because Notre Dame is a family and my EMBA experience is a big part of my identity. Although I reside in Los Angeles I have season football tickets and often go to away games as well. On football weekends at ND, I attend Mendoza tailgates and really enjoy talking with fellow alums. I am also an avid fan of the basketball team (game streaming and technological advances have been awesome). Staying in close contact with a few of my classmates and spending time with them when possible also keeps me connected. I also read Notre Dame magazine to learn about what classmates are doing.
Additionally, I have conducted distance interviews for the EMBA program in Los Angeles, and I have been involved in the mentoring and on campus interviewing feedback programs for MBA students. I am a member of the ND Club of Los Angeles. These activities have been important to me and keep me connected.
The Rally: Is there a professor who had a significant impact on your time at the Mendoza College of Business?
Paul Gregerson: Dr. [William] Sexton taught me the importance of collaboration and how to be an effective and facilitative leader. His endearing personality and teaching style really left an impression and has influenced the manner in which I mentor medical students as an adjunct assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Keck USC School of Medicine.
Also, Dr. [Jeffrey] Bergstrand taught my initial class on macroeconomics and what I learned from him set the foundation for the rest of the program. Even today I feel I have a great understanding of how international macroeconomic events will affect the U.S. economy or markets.
The Rally: What is your favorite memory from your time in your graduate business program?
Paul Gregerson: My favorite memories are centered on my sense of belonging to a team and the friendships I developed there. Late-night group meetings and activities on campus were always filled with laughter and great fun, and I often think back and reflect on them. I made one of my closest friends in the Notre Dame EMBA program, and although we live far apart, we meet at least once a year in Chicago and spend a football weekend together. That friendship has provided ongoing memories and experiences that make my appreciation of Notre Dame even stronger.
Graduating from the EMBA Program in 2001 was especially memorable because that's the year the Notre Dame Women's Basketball Team won their first National Championship!