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Healthcare

Meet the Dallas 500: Chris Akeroyd, Children’s Health

The pediatric health system CIO shares why he loves to kick box, what he would change about the healthcare industry, and his key leadership strategies.
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As the chief information officer of Children’s Health, Chris Akeroyd oversees the hospital system’s critical information technology and cybersecurity efforts. Prior to his role with Children’s Health, he held top tech roles with Plains Capital McAfee Mortgage, InfoNXX, and UMC Health System. 

Healthcare organizations have become key targets for bad actors due to the valuable financial and health information their systems access, and North Texas has been no stranger to attacks. UT Southwestern, Medical City’s parent company, HCA Healthcare, Baylor Scott & White Health, and others have all experienced data breaches in recent years. Leaders like Akeroyd do their best to keep the system’s data safe and train its thousands of employees to make good choices when using technology. 

Akeroyd’s role in the C-suite of the largest pediatric health system in the region and the eighth largest in the country is a great responsibility and honor. Below, read what Akeroyd learned from his early days in IT, why you will find him on the slopes and kickboxing, and the moment everything changed for him. 

Education: Texas Tech University (BS)

First Job: “My early high school jobs were in the food service industry before landing my first job in information technology the summer between high school and college. My early career taught me the value of hard work, tenacity, and, most importantly, the satisfaction of following your passion. I was lucky to find my career passion early in the technology field.”

Best Advice: “Early in my career, I learned that continued career success is built on a strong, diverse network that can offer assistance, energy, guidance, and candid feedback.”

Destinations of Choice: “When I get the chance to get away, I gravitate toward the warm waters and beaches of the Caribbean; most recently, my wife and I have fallen in love with everything that Aruba has to offer.”

Hobbies/Passions: “Most days, you will find me kickboxing as a form of stress relief and regular exercise. This sport has been a passion for me for more than a decade. As the time allows, I am also an avid snow skier, wakeboarder, and scuba divemaster.”

Industry Change: “The healthcare industry continues to be focused on making care affordable and accessible for everyone. It’s important we continue to focus on achieving health equality by addressing the social determinants of health.”

Guilty Pleasure: “Having a nice dinner out where we don’t have to cook or do the dishes afterward has to be my biggest guilty pleasure. You will most likely catch me singing my favorite songs on the way to that restaurant. I am told that I should keep my current career.”

Fun Fact: “I am a father of three, which is not that wild. The fun part is that I started my journey as a father over. I have a 22-year-old daughter who teaches school in the DFW area, a 21-year-old son at the University of Arkansas, and a 4-year-old daughter who is keeping me young.”

Pivotal Moment: “Life can considerably change when you least expect it. For me, disruptions within a family structure significantly impacted my personal and professional focus. Finding the balance in my time and being mindful of what can be controlled allowed me to keep a focus on my career responsibilities but, most importantly, be present and available for those I love.”

Must-Read: “There are so many great books that I have read over the years, some of the foundational books that come to mind immediately are Start with Why by Simon Sinek and Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni.”

Bucket List: “On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, my wife convinced me to overcome my fear of heights and tackle the monster zip line at Toro Verde. It is the longest zip line in America, 380 meters high, and reaches speeds up to 95 mph. It was totally worth it!”

Key Strategies: “Leaders with great vision who lead more and manage less are the ones that empower growth and development within an organization. It is important to lead by example with excellent communication skills and emphasize transparency.”

Future Forecast: “Children’s Health is the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas. Through our partnerships and dedication to advancing pediatric health care, we are on the path to becoming one of the premier pediatric facilities in the U.S. It is truly an honor to work for an organization that is focused on making life better for all children.”

Author

Will Maddox

Will Maddox

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Will is the senior writer for D CEO magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He's written about healthcare…
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