NACD Board Leadership Conference NACD Chapter System

05/03/18 Austin | Learn From Challenges Facing Healthcare Boards

May 3, 2018
Austin, TX



The shifting political and technological landscape along with the seemingly endless race for market dominance signifies big changes for healthcare as well as other industries. Advances in technology such as robotics and wearables will affect how patients are treated, big data analytics will affect how their records are stored, and potentially major modifications to or possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act will affect how healthcare is provided and funded. Insurers and hospital systems argue they need to get bigger to achieve the same margins they once enjoyed just a few years ago. This tidal wave of change comes at a time when baby boomers are entering retirement and life expectancy rates are higher than ever before. How will healthcare organizations navigate and innovate to meet this growing demographic's needs? Top healthcare industry executives spoke on how boards deal with rapid and disruptive change and what healthcare will look like in the next 5 to 15 years.


To view the presentation in its entirety, click HERE


  Bringing Competencies to Governance
  Hospital Oversight and Audits
  Navigating M&A
  Key Takeaway Board Considerations



Location and Time


JW Marriott
110 E 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701

4:30pm – Checkin and networking

4:50pm – Speaker Opening Comments and Moderated Q&A

5:45pm – 7:00pm -  Cocktail Reception and additional networking

Speaker Spotlight


Darnell Dent, Moderator

President and Chief Executive Officer, FirstCare Health Plans
National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Texas TriCities Chapter, Texas Association of Community-Based Health Plans (TACHP), Chair, Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP)

For over 35 years, Darnell Dent has proven his worth as a leader and experienced C-level executive with a wealth of knowledge and insight toward organizational and operational leadership. By embracing collaboration to further long-term success and profitability for any organization he has led, and by empowering and motivating his executive teams and employees to achieve high levels of performance, Darnell brings proven leadership, strategic thinking, effective communication, trust and credibility from the C-Suite to the Boardroom.

Darnell currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of FirstCare Health Plans, an Austin-based regional health plan serving the health care needs of North, West, and Central Texas since 1985. Since joining FirstCare in 2012, he has grown the health plan’s membership and service area, while successfully leading the health plan to full NCQA accreditation in 2014. He serves on the Board of Directors and a Board Leadership Fellow for the Texas TriCities Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). He serves as the Chair for the Texas Association of Community-Based Health Plans (TACHP), and is an Executive Committee Board Member for the Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP).

Prior to a successful career in the health insurance industry, Dent served in the United States Marine Corps as an officer attaining the rank of Captain. While serving his country he learned leadership and organizational discipline, skills that he still uses today. After the Marine Corps, Darnell began his executive leadership career in 1992 serving as President and CEO of Health Net Life Insurance, where he was appointed by the board of directors to lead the acquisition of four competing insurance companies into Health Net Life Insurance Company. From there, he went on to serve as a board member for a number of organizations, including the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (Board of Directors Chairman), Medicaid Health Plans of America (Board Director), Adaptis (Board Director)—contributing to each organization by utilizing his skills and training for strategic planning and forecasting for success.

Darnell holds a B.S. in Psychology from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia, and an M.P.A. from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He has continued his education with professional development through the Taylor University Executive Development Program in Upland, Indiana, and the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has also received his Certificate of Director Education from the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and is a Board Leadership Fellow confirming his dedication and effectiveness as a boardroom leader.

Craig Cordola

President and Chief Executive Officer, Ascension Texas
Senior Vice President, Ascension Health

An experienced and accomplished healthcare executive, Craig Cordola, FACHE, joined Ascension Texas in September 2017.

Cordola previously served as Senior Vice President of Memorial Hermann Health System and President of its Central/West Region, where he oversaw the strategic direction and operations of inpatient and outpatient services at the hospitals and ambulatory sites throughout Memorial Hermann and had system-wide responsibility for several service lines. He also led and managed Memorial Hermann’s long-standing relationship with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

In his past roles, Cordola was Chief Executive Officer of the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center Campus, Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Assistant Vice President of Operations at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Before joining Memorial Hermann he served at Texas Children’s Hospital, the primary pediatric teaching facility for Baylor College of Medicine, and at physician practice management companies in Houston.

Cordola also has been a prolific community servant, volunteering his time to serve on numerous boards, including his prior role as Chair of the Advisory Board for the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s George McMillan Fleming Center for Healthcare Management. He served on the board of Center for Houston’s Future and previously served on the boards of Children at Risk, National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, and Vizient/University Health System Consortium. He also continues to invest in the next generation of healthcare leadership, and served for five years as a faculty member for the Healthcare Administration Program at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.

In addition to his professional and community commitments, Cordola is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and has served as President of the organization’s Southeast Texas Chapter. He graduated with honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Psychology and continued his studies at The University of Houston-Clear Lake, where he earned dual degrees with a Master of Healthcare Administration and a Master of Business Administration.

Cordola is married to Allison Cordola and they have two children.

Cathy Eddy

Founder, Health Plan Alliance
Former Director, Presbyterian Health Plan and Health First Board of Trustees

Cathy K. Eddy is founder of the Health Plan Alliance, an organization started by and for provider-sponsored health plans to help its members be more competitive in their individual markets by sharing a broad knowledge base, identifying performance improvement methods, collective purchasing and insights. Formed in 1996 as the HMO Alliance with 50 member health plans today located throughout the country. Cathy developed the concept with the eight founding members, wrote the business plan, raised the initial capital and ran the Alliance since its inception. She retired as president in April 2018.

John Hawkins

Senior Vice President of Government Relations, Texas Hospital Association

John M. Hawkins is the senior vice president of government relations for the Texas Hospital Association. He is responsible for managing all aspects of THA’s state and federal advocacy efforts before the Legislature and regulatory agencies.

Before joining THA, Hawkins served as a senior policy analyst for the Texas Sunset Commission, where he managed the performance reviews of state agencies. Hawkins also served as a legislative aide in the House of Representatives for two legislative sessions and worked as legislative liaison for the Texas Department of Information Resources for three sessions.

A native of Tyler, Hawkins earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and a master of public affairs degree, both from The University of Texas at Austin.



Question about this Event?

Contact NACD Texas TriCities Chapter 5773 Woodway Dr, Box 258, Houston, TX, 77057 phone: 832-369-7110 email: