Motivation defines the life of Bill Todd, IM ‘71. His 40-year career in healthcare includes several years as head of the Georgia Cancer Coalition. “What I’m doing as a professor of the practice is giving my students very practical exposure to rich, rewarding careers.”
“Professors like me aren’t about research. We don’t do theory,” says Bill Todd. His eye-popping resume in the healthcare industry includes an array of leadership roles—president and CEO of the Georgia Cancer Coalition; founding president of the nonprofit Georgia Research Alliance, which fosters advances in medicine; and senior executive at Emory Hospitals, not to mention being a seven-time honoree in Georgia Trend’s “100 Most Influential” people list.
Every semester since 2011, he has taught Management in the Healthcare Sector, a seminar that gives an overview of that $3.3 trillion industry. He also leads practicums on leadership and healthcare consulting, which he rotates every term. Today, more than 75 of his former students are in medical school or residency.
Todd knows his classes are making a difference. One day a former student told him a startling story. She had interviewed at Johns Hopkins, where she wanted to go to become a doctor. The admissions officer across the table asked her, “What was your favorite course at Georgia Tech and why?”
When she began to describe Todd’s seminar, the interviewer stopped her. He put down his pen and said, “Is that that Management in the Healthcare Sector course we hear so much about?”
Todd flashes a smile and chuckles. “When I heard this, I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, this professors of the practice thing is working.’ My real-world knowledge of how this broken-down industry works—or doesn’t work—is helping these bright young people in interviews. It’s validation.”
Former student Maggie Kearney, BA ‘15, agrees. Now a third-year student at Mercer University’s medical school, she deems Todd a “next level” instructor. When she was a senior, she doubted whether she was “good enough” to go into healthcare. “He reminded me of my worth and ability. He finds ways to lift you up. You want to perform for him at the best of your abilities,” she says.
Donna Hyland, the president and CEO of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has seen this act out every year since 2016. Serving as consultants, Todd’s students analyze pressing issues such as primary care pediatrics and make presentations in her boardroom. “Bill is like a dad sitting there,” says Hyland. “It’s clear how much he cares about his students. We always leave with such hope for the future, seeing the kind of students that are at Georgia Tech and knowing they’ll be our future business leaders.”
Reprinted from Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine, Vol. 98, No. 2. "Tech's Best Kept Secrets."