Randall Hallett is President and Principal Consultant at Gobel Group. We recently conducted an interview with him regarding his background and experience.
- What did you do before joining Gobel Group?
I spent pretty much my entire career in fundraising, and in philanthropy. For about six years before coming to Gobel, I was working as the chief development officer at the Nebraska Medical Center, where I was largely responsible for building the fundraising program from the ground up, which included introducing a major gift program, a grateful patient initiative, and a planned giving effort.
- Why did you decide to join Gobel Group?
In short – my son. My wife and I have been married for nearly 19 years now, but when we wanted to start a family, it was hard for us. Then, after a great deal of grace, a little assistance, and a lot of perseverance, we finally had a son 14 years after “walking down the aisle.” He was born a healthy boy, but nine days after we brought him home, I was sitting with him in the living room, and he just stopped breathing in my arms. Thankfully, we were able to get him to the hospital time, but it wasn’t until after 18 months, immense hospital time, and a ton of medical bills that we were finally able to get him properly diagnosed.I think that was really where I had my first real experience with healthcare as an insider. I found it unbelievably hard to thank the medical team who took care of us, and specifically my son. I learned that immense gratitude is the reason people want to find ways to say thank you. Honestly, I found it very offensive and disconcerting when I would say, “We’re extraordinarily appreciative. What can we do to help?” and then a physician or nurse would turn to me and say, “Don’t worry about it.” I can’t count how many times I said, “This isn’t about you – this is about me, and as a father I need to show my appreciation. It’s part of my healing.” That was when I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my career challenging the status quo – and I saw that Gobel Group was doing just that. So, I made the leap because of my son.
- What excites you most about working with Gobel Group’s clients?
The moments I love the most are the small individual epiphanies I see in the eyes of the physicians when they finally get it. The first second of the epiphany is usually horror, often because physicians are thinking, “I’ve been denying my patients this basic need.” Then, the relief comes immediately after when they realize there’s an easy way to do it, without compromising themselves, or feeling as though they’re asking for money. I can literally see their pupils change. That moment is so gratifying, because that’s going to be the real game-changer for the patients, and for the physician as a professional. It’ll completely alter the relationship the physician has with the patient, and it’ll change how the foundation is able to interact in that relationship, for the benefit of all parties. That moment is basically an indication of opportunity, for the patient, the physician, and the hospital and the foundation. But it all starts with that first physician or nurse who experiences the epiphany.
- You were recently promoted to President of Gobel Group. What excites you most about this new position?
The people I get to work with every day. Those people tend to fall into two categories: first, there’s the Gobel team. I work with some pretty incredible people – they’re intelligent, wise, passionate, driven, knowledgeable. I’ll learn more from them than they’ll ever learn from me. That’s the most exciting thing.When I was hired, I was Gobel’s first client. I saw the company from the beginning, before it became as detailed as it is now. What I quickly learned is that the people make it work. Yes, the process is important, but the quality of people at Gobel is just incredible, and I can see that whether I’m on the phone or face-to-face with them. This promotion allows me to work with them more often, and it’s a dream come true.The second category is the clients. We are so fortunate to work some extraordinary professionals who want to help their hospitals do more for their patients. While my role will decrease the amount of time I am “front-facing” clients, I want to continue to know, directly and indirectly, that Gobel is having a positive and measurable outcome for the people who hire us…but more now through the expertise of the consultants.
- What do you find most rewarding about your work?
Well, two things, really. The first: the physician’s eyeballs, the epiphany moment that I already described. The second is something that I find happens a lot: the Gobel way works the way it should. An MGO built the relationships, sent the letter, made the qualifying call, went to the meeting, made an ask. Just last night, for example, I got a text from a gift officer that read: “This process really works – who knew?” That gift officer will never be the same – they’ll be better. It moves me when I hear those stories, when our process is successful and has made a difference.I’ve never been happier professionally or personally in my life. A large part of that is because of my family…but I spend most of my day working and I really enjoy going to work.
- What are a few personal details you could share?
My wife is the better seven-eighths of who we are together and who I am as a man; we got married on a plantation outside New Orleans, where my in-laws live. My son was diagnosed with food-protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome, or FPIES, and he’ll probably never outgrow it. Even though he can’t eat proteins from soy, dairy, or gluten, that boy is as normal as the day is long – he just eats differently. In many ways, even at age five, he’s an inspiration that is hard to describe. He’s never complained, there’s nothing he can’t overcome, and that makes it all worth it. We also have an audacious two-and-a-half-year-old baby girl – and if my son was put on this earth to inspire me, my daughter was definitely put here to “kill me.” I am still learning about “fathers and daughters,” but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world.Other than that, I used to be the radio and TV play-by-play voice for UMKC Kangaroos women’s basketball team, and the Press Box PA announcer for the Kansas City Chiefs.