First lay president takes helm at FSCC Sponsored Ministries

Daniel McGinty succeeds Sr. Laura Wolf, who takes on advisory role

MANITOWOC — Daniel McGinty enjoys reading a wide variety of books.

But there’s one he’s particularly fond of — “Leadership on the Line,” by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky.

“I’m kind of fascinated with the topic of leadership and the different styles of leadership that are effective,” McGinty said as he proudly removed the book from a shelf in his office and displayed it on a nearby table. “There are a lot of good ideas I can take from that book, and a lot of things I can use in this new position.”

Daniel McGinty was recently appointed the first lay president of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries. He succeeds Sr. Laura Wolf, who held the position since 1985.(Benjamin Wideman | For The Compass)

Daniel McGinty was recently appointed the first lay president of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries. He succeeds Sr. Laura Wolf, who held the position since 1985.(Benjamin Wideman | For The Compass)

The book title is fitting for McGinty, who on June 1 began putting his leadership skills on the line as the first lay president in the 31-year history of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sponsored Ministries.

McGinty replaces Sr. Laura Wolf, who stepped down after serving as the only president the not-for-profit corporation had since it was established in 1985. She now serves as senior executive advisor to McGinty.

“After 31 years of leadership, it’s time for me to step aside and allow room for some fresh ideas,” Sr. Laura said. “I’ve given our ministry all I have to give in this role and look forward to working with Dan through the transition. He’s been a part of our organization in one way or another for a number of years. He understands the Franciscan Sisters, he’s committed to our mission, vision and values, and he has broad experience that would be valuable to any organization. I believe he’s just what we need for our first lay president.”

McGinty was equally complimentary, saying, “Sr. Laura is an extremely competent leader. With or without the habit, she could run any health system in this country — she’s that good.”

The Sponsored Ministries include Holy Family Memorial and Silver Lake College, both in Manitowoc; Genesis HealthCare System in Zanesville, Ohio; St. Paul Elder Services in Kaukauna; and Franciscan Care Services in West Point, Neb. Overall, those sites employ about 4,000 people and positively impact the lives of many thousands more.

McGinty said his new position as Sponsored Ministries president is a perfect fit when taking into account his experiences and skill sets. He most recently served as executive vice president of hospital and specialty services at Allina Health, an integrated health system in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Before that, he worked for Duluth, Minn.-based Essentia Health, including serving as administrator of its St. Mary’s Medical Center. Prior to that he spent 13 years at Holy Family Memorial in Manitowoc, highlighted by the roles of president and CEO from 1995 to 2001.

And since 2009, McGinty held a spot on the FSCC Sponsored Ministries’ Board of Directors.

The wheels were set in motion for McGinty’s appointment about 18 months ago, when Sr. Laura held a planning retreat and the topic of succession planning arose.

“I met with Sr. Laura in December before a board meeting. She said, ‘Dan, I’ve been doing this 31 years. I think I’m ready. Would you be willing to step in and follow me?’ I was thinking it was going to happen maybe five years down the road, not quite this soon. But, thanks to Sr. Laura and the Board of Directors and the Franciscan Sisters, here I am, and I’m excited to be in this position.”

McGinty acknowledged he has big shoes to fill, but he’s ready for the challenge.

“I’ve been blessed in my career, because I’ve worked in small rural hospitals and I’ve worked in big tertiary care hospitals,” he said. “I’ve run physician clinics big and small. I was with the Benedictines, who merged and became Essentia Health. Then I was with Allina Health in the Twin Cities — that’s a $3.5 billion system, it’s huge. I’ve kind of been up and down the size of organizations, the complexity of organizations.

“And what I’ve learned at each one of them is … leadership is leadership. It doesn’t matter how many zeroes are behind the numbers. And I take that leadership role very seriously, because this set of ministries is vitally important in the communities we serve. We’re often the largest employer, or one of the largest employers, in those communities. We’re part of the social network of our communities. We’re truly an important component of those communities.”

McGinty said that, first and foremost, his obligation is to carry out the wishes of the sponsor, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, and maintain a commitment to mission. He’s not planning on implementing many changes right now; rather, he’s closely analyzing each market and observing “where the sands might be shifting.”

“Can you expect to see a lot of change at the system level? No,” McGinty said. “But can you expect to see some change market by market? Yes, that’s going to be natural, that’s going to happen. What those changes are exactly, only time will tell. … We will do things to advance the healing and education ministries of Jesus as expressed through the Catholic Church and the Franciscan charisms.”

In his first 90 days as Sponsored Ministries president, McGinty is focusing on four priorities.

The first is making sure he has a relationship with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity — especially community director Sr. Natalie Binversie and her General Administration team — so his instincts align with their wishes.

Sr. Natalie echoed similar sentiments. “I am confident that Dan is going to lead our system in a way that honors our fidelity to the healing and educational ministries of Jesus. His experience and commitment to our ministries are going to ensure that our Franciscan presence will remain strong in the communities where we serve.”

She also noted her strong appreciation for Sr. Laura’s dedication, leadership and impact over the years. As for McGinty’s other three priorities, they include:

  • Building a strong relationship with the CEOs and presidents of the Sponsored Ministries’ organizations and their board chairs.
  • Building strong relationships within the Sponsored Ministries’ Manitowoc office.
  • Beginning to assess strategies in each market so they’re built for long-term success.

Scott McConnaha, vice president of mission for Sponsored Ministries, said McGinty is quickly developing a strong rapport with his colleagues, and that will carry over to the sites they sponsor.

“I think all of us in this office who have known Dan for the years he has been on the board of directors are pleased to have him here as president,” McConnaha said. “When you first start hearing about succession planning, you of course start getting a little nervous. That’s just human nature.

“But then when we heard things were going in the direction of Dan, it was almost like we all breathed a sigh of relief. He knows us. We know him. He gets the charism of the Franciscan Sisters, of this organization. Dan is just a really good fit to lead us.”

McGinty, who grew up in Minneapolis, has been married to his wife, Lynn, for 32 years, and they have three adult children. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., and a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Minnesota.