If he wasn’t in health care, there’s a good chance Rod Hanners would be working up in Alaska, where he spent summers as a kid visiting his father, who worked for the University of Alaska.

“I wanted to live in Alaska and so was thinking about being a petroleum engineer working for the Trans-Alaska pipeline,” said Hanners, COO of Keck Medicine of USC and CEO of Keck Medical Center of USC.

But after serving for nine years in the U.S. Navy, where he climbed to the rank of lieutenant and worked as an officer on a fast attack submarine, his focus turned to health care.

Hanners joined Keck Medicine in 2015, previously serving as senior vice president and chief operating officer of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Before joining CHLA, he was chief operating officer for Kaiser Permanente Hospital’s Los Angeles Medical Center.

Hanners oversees daily operations at Keck Medical Center and collaborates with fellow executives on the growth strategy of Keck Medicine.


What is your personal philosophy on leadership and management?

It all begins with trust. I believe that building trust as a leader with all levels of the organization is a big piece of creating success within an organization.


You’ve just had a long work week at the office, and now find yourself with a completely free Saturday, with nothing on the schedule. How do you spend the day, and who do you spend it with?

For me, it’s anything outdoors. I love being outside. So I’d spend it with my wife and daughters or close friends at the beach or watching a nephew’s game — anywhere, really, as long as it involves some physical activity and it’s outside.


What’s one item — besides your cellphone — that you would have a hard time living without?

As I get older, I find myself getting more and more dependent on my reading glasses.


What is the hardest part of your job?

Patience and prioritization. There is so much to do, and so much you want to fix and make better — right now! For me, the daily challenge is patience and prioritization.


What is an attribute that has led to your professional success?

I’ve always been a very intense listener, from the time I was in college. If someone is talking, I need to be listening and comprehending it. I also think I have a good knack of listening to different ideas and being able to quickly translate it into how some idea could work, practically, in operations. If someone has an analytical concept, I’m thinking of how it will work.

— Douglas Morino