Executive Leadership

The Hidden Ways in Which We’re Connected
Q&A with DIA Americas Senior VP and Managing Director and DIA Global Program Officer Robin Weinick
Robin Weinick Headshot

Robin Weinick
Senior Vice President and Managing Director for DIA Americas


n April 2020, Robin Weinick, PhD, was appointed Senior Vice President and Managing Director for DIA Americas, and DIA’s first Global Program Officer. Robin previously served as Vice President, Division for Research on Healthcare Value, Equity, and the Lifespan, at RTI International, a nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition. She has also served as Associate Director for Health at the RAND Corporation and on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Global Forum: Was there an event or a moment or a time of your life that made you realize you wanted to work for an organization like DIA?

Robin W: It’s less about a particular time or an event than about my core values and how I’ve invested my time and energy throughout my career. There are three things I truly value.

First, I care about my work, and the work of those I support on my teams, having a real impact. Put simply, I haven’t given up on my youthful goal of helping to make the world a better place. My second focus builds on how I’ve spent a large chunk of my past twenty years in leadership roles – helping to grow other people’s careers. The third area I care deeply about is connection and building community.

So you can see how that would lead me to DIA: the opportunity to work in an organization that has improving patient outcomes at the heart of everything we do, that executes that vision by focusing on learning and professional development, and which builds community with members, volunteers, regulators, and more.

GF: What book or books are you currently reading, and what do you hope they’re saying to you right now?

RW: About a year and a half ago, I read Richard Powers’ latest novel, The Overstory. Powers is one of my favorite writers, and this book went on to win the 2019 Pulitzer Prize. I was really taken by all the themes related to trees, and how much there was that I didn’t know. And the ideas the novel planted in my brain—around how trees form communities—haven’t quite let go of me just yet, so I’ve continued my reading.

Lately, I’ve been digging into Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. He’s a forester and writes about how a forest is a genuine social network, how trees communicate with each other, support one another, and how they warn each other when there’s impending danger. That is my definition of community.

I’m also reading Robert McFarlane’s Underland, which is an absolutely gorgeous read. His book is all about what happens underground, all the things we don’t usually see, like old burial caves from thousands of years ago. I recently started a new chapter that turns out to be focused on—you guessed it—how trees connect and communicate with each other.

And then The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker. Her subtitle says it all: How we meet and why it matters. Her book is all about how we are together in community in ways that produce the best meetings, the best gatherings, we can possibly have.

That goes back to why I found DIA so appealing: For me, it’s all about community. It’s all about the hidden ways in which we’re connected to one another.

GF: One thing that you could not have anticipated was the emergence of the pandemic in early 2020. How has this impacted your work?

RW: As the Senior Vice President and Managing Director for the Americas, I was involved in decisions during my first week on the job to transform our in-person Global Annual Meeting scheduled in Washington, DC, into a fully virtual event. It’s been quite the adventure to learn as quickly as I can what our attendees and exhibitors value in the meeting and to transition to a virtual format.

When I accepted this job a couple of months beforehand, no one was expecting that we’d need to do this, and it’s been a rather remarkable experience. It involves drawing tremendously on community: on the staff community within DIA, on our Program Committee and other volunteers, and on the broader DIA community.

The biggest challenge has been identifying ways in which our attendees can interact with one another since the “hallway track” will be missing. We’ve arranged virtual hosted social lounges where attendees can drop in to discuss a topic. We’re talking with our speakers to help them build more interaction into their sessions. In short, we’re having to reinvent our whole approach from the ground up.

GF: Looking back now at the young Johns Hopkins University graduate, what advice would you give yourself?

RW: Connect, much earlier and much more often. I’m an introvert by nature (though you might not guess that when you meet me) and I’m a researcher by training – I’m wired to like my quiet time. It took me some time to realize the value of networking, and I’m sad that I haven’t done a better job of keeping up connections from much earlier in my career. So I’ve really made an effort in the past decade to broaden the scope of people who I keep in touch with and support, and I find that in turn they support me. It’s quite lovely. As a way to start building new relationships within the DIA community, I would appreciate it if everyone who reads this would connect with me on LinkedIn, and then hopefully we’ll have a chance to meet at an upcoming DIA event.