Curiosity is what led Paul Myoung, Senior Director of Transplant at Mass General Hospital, to enter healthcare administration and the field of organ transplantation. He became involved in national efforts to increase organ donation and transplantation by participating in The Alliance councils and served as the Chair of the board of directors in 2020. During a transition in leadership and organizational priorities, he led the search in hiring Karri Hobson-Pape as its Executive Director. “I asked a lot of questions and listened intensely,” says Paul. “I spoke with staff, every board member, including many founding leaders, to gain historical insight and engage key stakeholders in shaping the future of The Alliance. As the paradigm of organ donation and transplantation in the U.S. continued to shift I wanted to kick the tires to see whether The Alliance was strategically positioned and ready for the next stage in its organizational evolution under new leadership.” He was a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and continues to serve on The Alliance board of directors and the National Transplant Leadership Council.
Curiosity is what continues to drive Paul in serving others and seeking to understand the human experiences that reveal how more similar we are than different. His curiosity stems from spending the majority of his formidable childhood at the public library, reading about history and discovering imaginary worlds. To this day he continues to have a cadre of books he consumes cyclically, ranging from social anthropology to Stoic philosophy. Paul believes in the heuristic that if you want new ideas, read an old book. Especially in this age of endless information and exponential change, finding insight from words that have lasted the tests of time has been the source of his curiosity and leadership.
Leading with curiosity and people-centered focus has helped Paul change the trajectory of how organ transplantation is performed at Mass General and Mass General Brigham. Finding common ground where none existed, discovering creative connections between separate ideas, and building relationships across differences has helped drive positive change and strengthen trust. “Leadership to me has and will always be about people,” says Paul. “It’s not just about your vision, strategy, or tactical plans. It’s about inclusivity and motivating people to trust in the process and get the job done. Put simply, leadership is about making people and situations better because of you.”
However, the path to understanding leadership and our personal impact on others was not a simple journey for Paul. As the son of immigrant parents who spent the majority of his life working to put food on the table, he did not have consistent direction, except the strict expectation of hard work and discipline. In spite of this, finding teachers and mentors outside his immediate life became natural and essential. Over time, he formed a personal board of directors made up of individuals, real and fictional, who espoused the values he admired and led by example. This council of mentors were comprised of professors, historical figures, and public leaders, who provided guidance on important life decisions, such as pursuing a career in healthcare administration and organ transplantation. Over time, the board evolved to include new mentors, many of whom he worked for and with throughout his healthcare career.
“Mentorship has been a key element in my life and career. I do not know where or who I would be without those mentors who gave me genuine advice, honest feedback, and a value system that put the service of others at the center of attention,” says Paul. “When I first started in organ transplantation as a neophyte administrator, it was the mentors who taught me the ropes and nurtured confidence, which made all the difference. We have an amazing network of OPO and transplant professionals across many generations that seek a common goal in saving more lives through active collaboration and improving the systems of care delivery. We need to help each other to help ourselves in serving the needs of our patients, especially in this time of rapid change. I’m incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work and connect with so many unique individuals across our field of organ donation and transplantation. This is why The Alliance is so important in strengthening and accelerating the development of our networks, and pairing mentors with mentees who will form life-long bonds.”