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Terry Hartshorn - My Mentor

Updated on January 27, 2015

Terry Hartshorn - A Man I Look Up To.

Influential People.

I first met Terry in 1980. I went to apply for a job at his corporate office in Los Angeles. The company was expanding a new company into Orange County and they were hiring. I had currently been helping my husband manage a small apartment complex and the interview for the job required I go into Los Angeles. I remember thinking, I couldn't go because I didn't have someone I could leave my son with. But, during the conversation with Terry's secretary, Janet, the discussion came up about the fact that I could bring my son along. My son was 9 at the time and I was somewhat afraid to impose on this company as I didn't want it to hurt my chances for a position. I was assured that it would not and that Terry was a family man and would understand. So, my son and I decided to make a day of it. We would go to one of the museums after the interview. From that point on, what started was not just a job but a long lasting opportunity for much success within this organization and a wonderful relationship with a person I will never forget.

I was hired to work as a office assistant for the President (Terry) and Vice President of a new health maintenance organization (HMO), PacificCare of California. How little did I know that this opportunity would turn out to be one of personal growth as well as provide a consistent income for my family.

Terry was the type of individual who managed by "walking around". He wanted to go around and visit with the employees and build a rapport with his co-workers. From this, Terry showed leadership by example. Terry made you feel important in your position whether your position was a clerk or you held a position of management. It didn't matter. Each position within a company has a purpose and each person has something of value to contribute.

Everyone loved this man. He was organized, disciplined, ready at a moment's notice to be business like to handle business affairs but could easily show humor and set the individual "at ease" when the moment called for it.

Many times I saw how Terry could take the young, new, frighten employee, who most times would shy away for top management in fear of making a mistake. Terry could bring them to a point of where, they all of a sudden became part of the "gang". Terry wanted "team" participation and knew just how to achieve it.

To give you a sense of his humor side, I must share a funny story. I went to his office one morning to take dictation. His desk was positioned facing a large window and across from his desk was a nice sofa for his guest to be seated at while visiting. I was just getting into my note pad when I looked up to respond to a question, and there sat Terry, with a rubber chicken in one hand making some statement and doing so very seriously. Mind you, this was the very first time he had pulled that on me and I thought I was going to die with laughter. He was always pulling crazy little things like that on people. It was wonderful!

I learned to respect and admire this kind of personality. It made for a great place to work and grow. Grow we did. I was promoted to Executive Secretary to the President and Vice President. And later, I was promoted to position of Human Resources Administrator. I was given a chance to discover all kinds of things about myself and my talents. Terry was willing to give a person a chance to advance and he especially encouraged it if he believe you had the talent for it and you were willing to work hard.

Terry always made sure he met your family and knew their names. He wanted to be sure he shared his family with the employees as well. His wife, Sharon, is shown in the picture below. (Sorry for the picture but it was the only one I could find). Family was very important to him and he was always ready to share that sentiment with others. He always made sure the organization had functions where we could share with each other and get to know our fellow co-workers. This is one man who know how to communication and understood the value of communication.

I worked in various positions for this organization for ten years. I eventually moved away from the area. I truly have missed Terry over the years.

What I See In This Man

1. He is a man of faith

2. He gives time to people

3. Your family is important to him

4. He gives respect to all - and demands respect

5. He sees value in all positions, all jobs, all people

6. He wouldn't ask you to do something he would not do

7. He trusts until proven otherwise

8. He projects integrity

9. He realizes others help him to obtain his goals

10.Accountability is vital to the organization

11.He knows what communication is all about

A management style of walking around, meeting people, seeing them, realizing their problems.

Biography on Terry O. Hartshorn

63 Years Old

Terry O. Hartshorn, age 63, was appointed to the Board of Directors on September 21, 2005, and is currently the lead independent director of the Board. Mr. Hartshorn is a member of the Audit and the Compensation Committees of the Company's Board of Directors. Mr. Hartshorn was a member of the Board of Directors of PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. from March 1985 until PacifiCare was purchased by UnitedHealth Group in December 2005. He was Chairman of the Board of PacifiCare from 1993 to 1998. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of UniHealth from 1994 to 1997. Mr. Hartshorn also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of PacifiCare from 1976 to 1993 and Secretary of PacifiCare from 1977 to 1981. Since 1997, Mr. Hartshorn has been an investor, advisor and personal coach for start-up and early stage companies in a variety of industries and serves as a director of LifeScript.

Learn More About Mentoring

Terry Might Have Been A Gold Pro

Los Angeles Business Journal - July 3, 1995

After building a major subsidiary for the health care services firm, he became UniHealth America's CEO and has injected a new management style

But for fate, UniHealth America CEO Terry O. Hartshorn's name might have been associated with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

After distinguishing himself as one of UCLA's most prominent golf stars during the 1960s - including an All-American honorable mention in 1966 - Hartshorn decided to take a shot at the PGA tour. That was before the PGA had a grueling training academy, when all it took to turn pro was enough talent and determination to make the weekly tournament cuts.

Hartshorn found two backers who would pay his expenses in return for a percentage of the winnings, and he started working out at the Bel-Air country club.

As it turned out, Hartshorn then was drafted - but by the military, not the PGA.

"Graduate school looked like a good option," he recalls.

Hartshorn had become interested in health care through some case studies he performed during his undergraduate studies for his business degree.

So, he returned to UCLA to earn his master's in public health, then served his military obligation as an officer in the U.S. Health Service.

Not long after he left the service in the early 1970s, Hartshorn took a job at UniHealth's predecessor, the Lutheran Hospital Society. After a few years of hospital management, Hartshorn was given the chance to start an in-house HMO with a catchy name: PacifiCare Health Systems.

continued: Terry In Trade Journal

Laurel and Hardy

Terry loved Stan Laurel and could do a fair impression of the comedian.

Screaming Chicken

Terry loved humor and had a rubber chicken in his office drawer. He would love this, and maybe he has already upgraded to a screaming chicken.

screaming chicken

A Kindness Act

A Man With A Big Heart!

After the Northridge earthquake, Hartshorn did not hesitate to lend more than $3 million to employees in order to get them back on their feet. More recently, when UniHealth's information management division chose to outsource some maintenance work - a decision that will eventually eliminate about 40 jobs from its Mission Hills information center - Hartshorn visited the employees in person. He expressed some contrition about having to let people go, but was also firm in communicating that they need to continue performing until their very last day, according to sources.


Oh my, I was afraid you would not stop by!

Thanks Terry


MY GUESTS - Thanks for coming.

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      9 years ago

      A very nice thank fyou to your mentor! He sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing and best wishes in reaching Giant Squid on the Squid Squad!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Sounds like an interesting and inspirational man.


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