Mary Bird Perkins-OLOL COO reflects on transitioning to management role

After learning and working beside the world’s leading cancer specialists at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Dr. Jonas Fontenot brought his expertise back to home to Louisiana.

As Business Report details in its new Executive Spotlight feature, Fontenot is chief of physics and chief operating officer at Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.

He joined the center in 2008 as an academic medical physicist.

“The profession appealed to me because it provided an opportunity to apply my strengths in mathematics, physics, and problem-solving to the diagnosis and treatment of human disease,” Fontenot, a Crowley native, says.

Though becoming chief of physics in 2015, transitioning into a corporate leadership role has proven to be one of Fontenot’s greatest professional challenges. Fontenot views corporate management as an opportunity to expand the ways that he can impact patients’ care and experience, adding it’s also a chance to “show that a physicist and scientist can be a successful organizational leader.”

“There is a perception that skills in one area are not translatable to the other,” he says. “However, I have found that my analytical skills have served me well as I have pushed beyond my previous boundaries and into areas of finance, communications and operations.”

But the 37-year-old doesn’t expected it will be his greatest professional feat.

“I hope that my most significant professional accomplishment is still ahead of me,” he says.

Read the full Executive Spotlight Q&A feature. Here’s a sample of what you will find:

What have been some of the unexpected challenges in your position?

The pace at which health care economics have changed. It’s a perpetual challenge that requires us to continuously re-evaluate our strategic plan so that we can maintain proper investments in technology, facilities and talent.

Send your comments to editors@businessreport.com.

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