chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
May 25, 2022

Chair's Column: Mentors That We Never Meet

Clay Countryman

It’s late spring and practically early summer in the South.  For many of us that means that the magnolias are blooming and summer heat in the 90s will be here to stay until October.  If you live on or near the Gulf of Mexico, it also means that the forecasts for the next hurricane season are starting to be released.  My daughter let me know this morning that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that another busy Atlantic hurricane season in 2022 is expected with possibly as many as 10 hurricanes forming.  On that note, let’s go back to the sweet smell of the Southern magnolia, which has the scientific name Magnolia grandiflora.

A conversation that I had with a partner of mine recently reminded me that there are several mentors and coaches in our lives that we have never actually met, but have learned so much from.  For me, one of those individuals that I consider a mentor, even though I never actually have met him, is Charles S. Lauer.  Chuck Lauer died in 2017 after a battle with Leukemia, and he was the publisher of Modern Healthcare for over 30 years.

I discovered Chuck Lauer’s weekly column in the back of each Modern Healthcare magazine several years ago.  The topics and reflections included in these columns had an impact on me in my professional and personal life.   Some of the themes that came across in his columns included: graciousness and appreciation of others, kindness to others, professionalism, patriotism and love of this country, perspective, and self-awareness. 

In putting this column together, I came across one of Chuck Lauer’s most-read columns titled “Thank You for Everything”.   This particular column includes stories of individuals who were touched by receiving a written note from someone thanking them for advice, help with their career, coping with a personal tragedy, and other examples of support and mentorship.   For me, a handwritten thank you note is so much more meaningful than an email or text.   Chuck Lauer’s comments on writing thank you notes in this column are just one example of how we can take time and thank the mentors and coaches in our lives, even if we have never met them.

I have only written three thank you notes since the ABA Health Law Section’s Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Conference in Miami on April 27th – 30th, but there will be many more going out this week. 

In the meantime, Thank You to all who worked so hard to make EMI a success this year! 

Clay Countryman

Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P., Baton Rouge, LA

Clay Countryman is a partner in the healthcare group in the Baton Rouge office of Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. Mr. Countryman represents clients in all areas of the healthcare industry, with a focus on healthcare corporate transactions, fraud and abuse compliance, development of healthcare provider networks and alternative healthcare payment approaches.

Clay has primarily served as legal counsel to several different types of healthcare providers and provider organizations, ranging from national and regional hospital systems, physician organizations, specialty physician groups, clinically integrated networks, physician-owned hospitals, diagnostic imaging facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, pharmacies, healthcare management companies, and healthcare trade associations.

Clay is an active member of several healthcare associations and other organizations. Clay has been an active member of the American Bar Association for over 20 years, including vice chair in the Health Law Section, the ABA Veterans Legal Services Commission, Medical-Legal Partnerships and the ABA Young Lawyers Division.

The material in all ABA publications is copyrighted and may be reprinted by permission only. Request reprint permission here.