Rob Lord always had a soft spot for the Treasure Coast. It started when he was 11 years old and his family moved from Tennessee to settle in North River Shores in Stuart, where the now president and CEO of Martin Health spent his youth.
Lord would leave Martin County for some time to attend Florida State University, followed by Stetson University College of Law. He had established himself as an attorney in Miami when an offer to return to Stuart arose. He accepted and moved back 30 years ago with a renewed appreciation for the small-town lifestyle. His first date with his wife was in 1988, they married one year later, and Lord continued his law career as a trial attorney for the local area.
It was during this time that Lord was given an opportunity to work with Martin Health. He assisted in a fair hearing, which is a process the hospital uses to address cases internally. “I enjoyed working with physicians,” Lord says. “They’re obviously a very intelligent group, and I enjoyed the relationships.” This sparked a new focus in his professional life, and in 1996, Lord became a board certified health law attorney.
As his role with the hospital increased, Mark Robitaille, the then CEO of Martin Health, approached Lord with an offer to be the vice president and chief legal officer. Though he had his private practice and his partners, Lord accepted the offer and transitioned into the new, full-time role. He moved up through the ranks, earning titles such as senior vice president and chief operating officer before being chosen to succeed Robitaille as president and CEO upon Robitaille’s retirement. The announcement was made in December of last year, with the transition to take place during the following year.
Lord has taken the responsibilities that come with his newest position to heart. “The organization believes in, and I believe in, servant leadership,” he says, emphasizing that he can best serve the hospital by supporting those who provide the care. “The goal is to enable the 4,000 people who work here to provide exceptional service to the community,” he adds. By creating an environment in which everyone feels they can contribute, Lord taps into the ability to allow new ideas and improvements to bubble up, which can then be implemented and tested, and spread throughout the organization. It’s through this approach that Lord aims to help Martin Health recognize its potential to become one of the elite healthcare organizations in the country.
At the center of all his aspirations lies a deep love for the area. “The richness of this community is due at least in part to this remarkable community spirit we have here,” Lord says. And with so many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews still living locally, it’s no wonder Lord would choose to impact an industry that betters the community for which he continues to hold a soft spot.