Meet John Strength, Xanitos’ new Chief Operating Officer! Over his 8 years tenure with Xanitos, John has excelled as a Resident Regional Director at Kaiser Permanente Orange County, Regional Director over Southern California and Arizona, and Regional Vice President within the hospital environmental services industry.
One of the scariest decisions of my life was to join Xanitos. In 2013, I was working for a competitor as the Director of one of the largest contracts in the company and had been promoted rapidly throughout my career. I had built strong relationships throughout the organization, our operation was performing at a high level and I had a great team that gave me 110% every day. It took me almost 10 years to get to that point so why would I make the change?
It all started when I applied for two internal promotional opportunities; both denied with no explanation given. I had excellent annual reviews, was fulfilling all my succession plan deliverables and when I questioned the second denial, I was informed that my senior leader didn’t want to lose me in the region. When I looked at the logjam of leadership above me, the fear of being stuck in my current role was more concerning than the fear of having to start over with another company. This is when I started looking at other opportunities, which eventually led me to Xanitos.
My first interview was located in beautiful sunny southern California. I remember getting off the plane at LAX, being driven down the Pacific Coast Highway and enjoying the views of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach on my way to the interview. I was so impressed by the natural beauty of southern California that even during that drive I could see myself living in the area. That vision was abruptly interrupted when we pulled into what I thought was a gas station before realizing was actually a local diner where I would be interviewed (and hopefully avoid a foodborne illness!). Fortunately after sitting down meeting and talking with the group, my dining concerns slid aside and I began assessing if I could see myself working with this small company over the next several years. I found talking with Dave (Crothall) and Mike (Bailey) very easy; both were down to earth and I quickly became excited to learn from these leaders. Their vision was well laid out, they had the infrastructure for growth and they had a position where I was confident I would be successful.
For my second interview, I met with our then-VP of Human Resources Dwight Sypolt and Xanitos’ founder, Graeme Crothall at our corporate headquarters. I remember how excited I was to meet Graeme as I had heard many stories throughout the years but never had the opportunity to meet him. His attention to detail was impressive as we literally reviewed each bullet point from my resume. He asked probing questions, listening intently as I walked him through my career. I believe the interview was a success as I walked out with a strong contingent offer and decided to make a leap of faith the same way Graeme made a leap of faith with me. I shook Graeme’s hand and I began the change to Xanitos.
The final step of my interview process required client approval. I met with our clients at the Kaiser Permanente Orange County where I would run the Anaheim and Irvine medical campuses. Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Kaiser Permanente Orange County Julie Miller-Phipps and Assistant Administrator Operations Support Services Sam VanWagner were very engaging and passionate about EVS. To this day, these two leaders are some of the best leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with in my career. The culture that Julie and her leadership team cultivated in Orange County was second to none and she is one of the most inspirational leaders I have ever had the pleasure working with. She taught me the power of a strong culture to help drive process. I think at that point in my career, I had it backwards and was more process focused and I will always be thankful to her for teaching me this important lesson that guides my leadership approach today.
From Orange County, the rest is history. The promotional roadblocks I left behind were removed at Xanitos. I was rewarded for performance and after approximately two years as the Resident Regional Director at Kaiser Permanente Orange County, I was promoted to Regional Director over Southern California and Arizona, then Regional Vice President over the West a few years later and now Chief Operating Officer of Xanitos. Looking back, I am very lucky and proud to have worked with such great leaders and great staff members throughout my career who have helped me grow as both a leader and an individual.
My personal goals today are the same since the day I started with Xanitos: to help coach and grow our people to fulfill their potential; to provide a communicative, fun and respectful work environment; and to be the best in quality and service to those we serve.
Learning from my own professional history, I ask that my teams never forget that every decision we make be patient and employee focused. Our patients deserve the best care possible and our employees who tirelessly care for our patients deserve our respect, admiration and support for all of their hard work. We as a group are a vital member of the continuum of care and I thank you all for your contributions to keeping our environments a safe place to heal and work.