“There is no longer a time in any field that you can be a good leader and be deficient in any area of managerial core competency. Leaders have to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” says Gordon Snow, chief of protective services for The Cleveland Clinic. “The environment is increasing in complexity. Education and training can provide you with many of the tools you need to make better decisions, but there isn’t always a formula to help you make the right decision. Leaders must continuously listen, learn and grow. Leadership is never about any one person, it is about having strong teams of leaders in various functions, pulling as one.”
Founded in 1921, The Cleveland Clinic is among the most revered brands in healthcare with more than 5.1 million yearly patient visits supported by more than 3,000 doctors and scientists. “The best part of my job is supporting those seeking to be the world leaders in medicine and patient care,” Snow says. “The culture here is to consistently raise the bar in clinical care, research and education, and we strive to support the mission by improving safety and security – world-class service for world-class care.”
Gordon joined the Cleveland Clinic after a successful career including 10 years in the Marine Corps and a stellar 20-year career in the FBI where he led counterintelligence, counterterrorism, cyber, white-collar crime and violent crime enforcement activities. In May 2012, he joined the Cleveland Clinic where he oversees five key functions reaching across the enterprise: police and global security, transportation, parking, fleet management and emergency preparedness.
“After my law enforcement career I sought a high-quality organization and environment with a very meaningful and fulfilling mission,” he explains. “Healthcare provides that opportunity, and the Cleveland Clinic has an exceptional vision and mission. The role of security here is to allow people to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety. A more engaged employee will be able to provide a better patient experience and ties directly to our ‘Patient First’ mission. We have patients that choose to come to the Cleveland Clinic over other places for care due to our reputation of excellence. Their security and well-being is an expected part of that decision-making process.”
On the horizon is a great challenge to the Cleveland Clinic and other healthcare enterprises – the Affordable Care Act. “How do we build a 22nd century security overlay for an environment that does not yet exist, and how do we do it at a cost that nets a powerful return on investment? The challenges the Act creates are the right challenges for healthcare. Our job is to provide exceptional care, service and quality through cost reductions, by performing more powerfully and continuously refining our security and business acumen in parallel,” he notes.
As a result, Gordon and his team are reviewing ways to fully identify and measure the needs of their patients, visitors and employees (caregivers), and using these metrics to evaluate their success at providing seamless, unobtrusive service. They are working to invest in more robust security technology systems that have a measureable business value, and are avoiding brute force security applications. “Security can do whatever you want it to; it just comes at a cost,” he says. “The correct answer is finding the right resources for these services, and finding the correct technology refresh to consistently contribute to the business goals. Our goal is patient, visitor, and caregiver security, and our investments must support those goals.”
An essential portion of that review is involving the employees. “The men and women of the Protective Services Department are often the first caregivers our patients and visitors meet,” he says. “The police department, security, parking, transportation and emergency management personnel, who are walking and patrolling the buildings, grounds and streets of our facilities, know how to respond to a critical situation, and do an exceptional job. We couldn’t do it alone though, IT, legal, HR, the redcoats, nursing, buildings and properties, patient services and the entire complement of clinical and non-clinical staff act together to complete our portfolio. Without their partnership and collaboration, we couldn’t be successful.
“I am amazed, every day, at the people I work with here in Protective Services, and across the Cleveland Clinic enterprise,” Gordon says. “Being a part of this team is very rewarding. My father has always been a big influence in my life. He worked as a Detroit police officer and raised a family of eight while he worked his way through college at night, and he retired as a Detective Lieutenant. He taught me that the greatest asset in any organization or on any team is the human capital that it is comprised of. The more I learn about the Cleveland Clinic, the people here, and the investment they make in their caregivers, the more impressed I become. I am honored to be a part of the Cleveland Clinic team.”
Gordon lives in the Cleveland area with his family. Security thanks him for his service.
Annual Revenue: $6.2 Billion
Security Budget: $32 Million
- The 2014 Affordable Care Act
- Develop and Sustain Hospital Emergency Response Teams
- Technology Integration with Security and Business operations
- Asset Protection/Loss Prevention (for Resale)
- Employee & Non-Employee Surety
- Enterprise Resilience
- Enterprise Risk Management
- Global Security Operations Center
- Physical/Asset Protection (Not for Resale)
- Regulatory Compliance
- Supply Chain/Logistics
- Workforce Protection