Perfectly Imperfect Progress!

By Chris Bent, TRUST President

My grandfather lived his life in a way that was neat and orderly. He was always impeccably dressed, and their home and yard were consistently very tidy. Four years ago, after my aunt died, I found a letter my grandfather wrote to her in which he described me as a “perfect” baby. That description didn’t consider the times when my grandfather would rock me to sleep, and I would invariably leak through my cloth diaper, leaving a wet stain on his clothing. Not exactly perfect.

I’ve wrestled with “perfect” at different points in my life. I wondered if I was measuring up to the idea in the eyes of others. What I’ve come to appreciate now in my 50’s is that the literal definition of that word can be limiting, restrictive and rigid. The aim for perfection had potentially held me back when what I needed was to lean in, mix things up, get messy, and let good enough propel me forward. Heather Whelpley has written about perfectionism extensively and shared this with our TRUST book club earlier in the year! Additionally, design thinking shifts us to listening with empathy and then taking action, prototyping and fast failing. As I think about Heather’s writing, the design thinking framework and when I digest what my grandfather wrote versus what he modeled in daily living as perfect, there’s no question that messy can be a really good thing and lead to progress.

With that lens, here are a few of the TRUST’s messy moments that propelled us forward this past year:

  • We launched our new website with a significantly better back end but realized that the front end, in some ways, wasn’t as good as the previous version. Learning this, our committees worked together to define the needs for the front end and our Strategic Growth and Marketing committee is already working on an improved user experience that will be coming soon.
  • We realized we could be a better partner to our management company if we simplified our work. Our management partner experienced turnover in our executive director role a few times (much like many organizations are seeing right now). Our committee chairs took this in stride, leaned into the extra work, streamlined processes and delivered in each of their areas. Pretty awesome.
  • When planning for the annual Forum, we initially landed a motivational speaker from out of state. But the committee reflected further about the strife and conflict in our local community, particularly our disparities in health care, and elected to feature local leaders who could help us lean into our challenges and incent us to take action (one thing!) to improve.


And, importantly we made significant progress on our three prioritized goals for the year:

  • Explore an Associate Board, which was formed in September! Members of the Associate Board collaborate to support the Board of Directors by developing strategies, leading priorities and driving success to reach the mission and vision of the TRUST.
  • Establish Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (DEI) goals. In 2021, we celebrated women, health, and culture by recognizing special events and developing a programming Storytelling Series featuring Patience Ferguson, CHRO of Minneapolis, in January 2022. And we’re creating a guide to plan activities and engage with partners with DEI in mind.
  • Expand TRUST programming. We created a wide variety of programs and networking opportunities offered at different times to meet members where they are amidst the pandemic. And we’ve set a date for the return of the Well-Being Event on November 3-4, 2022.

As we close out 2021, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you—members, sponsors, committee participants and chairs, our management and contract partners, and board and executive committee members—for exhibiting the Power of Us in big and small ways this past year. Thank you all for trying new things, taking action and learning from our mistakes to make us individually and collectively better so we can deliver on our mission!

Christine (Chris) Bent currently serves as TRUST President and is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Prime Therapeutics. Chris was named one of the Notable Heroes of Health Care for 2020 by Twin Cities Business.

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