CARRA announced the hiring of Interim CEO Larry Hausner on January 28, 2022. We recently visited with Larry to learn a little more about his leadership experiences and how he will support CARRA’s journey throughout 2022.
Q: Please share with CARRA stakeholders and followers a little about your background.
Larry: For most of the past 30-plus years, I've held management positions in the nonprofit health field. I served as the CEO of the American Diabetes Association for a little more than seven years. Before that, I held the chief operating officer post at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for more than five years. I began my career in the nonprofit health world with a 15-year stint at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, becoming chief of staff.
Over the last seven or so years, I've been a consultant to both nonprofit health organizations as well as some pharma companies.
I live and work in my hometown New York.
As American Diabetes Association CEO, Larry addresses a 2009 health reform briefing in Washington, DC,
flanked by Senators Tom Harkin (L) and Tom Udall (R)
Q: Why did CARRA hire an interim CEO?
Larry: CARRA is going through this transition now from the association management company EDI. EDI has performed well, but CARRA’s needs over time began to transcend EDI’s business model of support. To guide CARRA during that transition, they hired consulting firm Grayscale.
One of the first things Grayscale recommended was that an interim CEO be hired simultaneously to lead the transition of all activities from EDI toward an independently-managed organization.
As interim CEO, I serve as the primary staff person managing CARRA operations, looking at all of the different functions of the organization and learning from all CARRA Board members, members and employees. We’re also looking at all the different processes used today and exploring where we could improve to enhance pursuit of the CARRA mission. We’re initiating change in order to be in a better position to go out and hire a full-time CEO by the end of this calendar year.
Q: What’s been your experience in helping transform health care organizations?
Larry: In each of the positions that I've held in my career, I've found myself being able to come into a situation and pretty quickly understand the issues and strategic elements needed to make the organization more efficient and more effective. At the American Diabetes Association, we got ourselves to a point where we concentrated more on our mission activities. While at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, it was a time we were really trying to brand ourselves: Who are we and what do we do for people with different blood cancers? I applied my marketing background and business education to help better the organization’s position. We created a brand in which people understood what the different blood cancers were and what the organization could do for those people affected.
And at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the issue was more on the fundraising side. I led our team there to grow the organization from a $42 million operation to $165 million.
Q: You’ve shared your experience working for science-driven, non-profit organizations focusing on diabetes, multiple sclerosis and leukemia and lymphoma. No cure exists for any of those diseases. Now addressing rare pediatric arthritis and rheumatology conditions, what’s your call to action?
Larry: Basically, that we as an organization, no matter the disease state at hand, are here to do all we can for our patients and for the physicians and researchers who work with us so that we can improve treatment along the way. And hopefully along the way with the research in which we invest and conduct, we get closer to potentially finding a cure. And, by the way, finding the cure is not the only answer. It's also improving people's quality of life as they manage these different diseases.
Q: You’ve been on the job for several weeks. What have you accomplished?
Larry: I’ve focused a lot of my time around the near-term transition needs. We need to make sure that by March 31st we have integrated and set up all of the systems that currently reside at EDI. That all CARRA stakeholders, programs and activities have already begun to try out their new homes, so to speak. Now, let me say that we may hit a few little bumps, for which we ask for everyone’s patience. But we will do all we can to not hit any walls. We’ve been working very hard to make sure that this organization is ready for that transfer before or by the end of March. We are not only just moving data but we're setting ourselves up to have a more efficient and effective organization as we go forward.
Q: Describe how you feel about CARRA team members.
Larry: What I've noticed is that everyone we speak to cares about this mission 100 percent. CARRA people care about each other and they have very quickly cared about us, whom they didn't know before we got on Zoom calls to meet them. Everybody is interested in how we can do things better for the patient. And in order to improve things for the patient, how can we do things better within our organization? How can we can continue to move the needle forward with the research that we do and learning more about optimal treatments?
I'm just very excited about everybody with whom I have spoken. I'm really glad that I took on this challenge and feel confident that I will be able to help CARRA move forward to be more effective and more efficient.
Q: How do you see guiding CARRA to further its mission to address pediatric rheumatic disease?
Larry: My goal is to effect the transition as smoothly as possible. See that CARRA continues to do what it's done so well over the previous years. That we just learn more about the processes that are occurring and how we can streamline things to still keep everybody involved at the right level. But we need to make sure we become more efficient as we go along.
Q: Can you share a little-known side of Larry Hausner?
Larry: I really like to travel, especially to some unique places. One of the most unusual visits in recent years, packed with memorable experiences, was to Egypt.
I rode a camel to the pyramids. I experienced the usual part where you travel out into the desert and you get on this camel. You ride into the pyramids and you just feel like it's 3,000 or 4,000 years ago. Then you go around to the other side of the pyramids, and you’re basically in town with a Kentucky Fried Chicken literally about two blocks away!
You didn't see any of that the first part of the entire ride, which is the reason I guess they take you out that way.
It’s just enjoyable to travel and experience different places.