Imagine your first day on the job. As a newly minted graduate, you embrace the world with fresh ideas and unshakable enthusiasm. You plan to hit the ground running, learning from the best and dreaming of making a difference in healthcare -- all in short order.
This year marks Modern Healthcare's 20th annual Up & Comers award program, which recognizes rising young management talent in the healthcare industry.
Workers crowd into the cafeteria at St. David's South Austin (Texas) Hospital. As Timbuk 3's '80s anthem "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades" ramps up, Chief Executive Officer Erol Akdamar enters in sunglasses for the first of three hourlong employee forums he will lead that day, one during each shift. The theme, of course, is "The future's so bright, we've got to wear shades."
In order to improve patient satisfaction, Bob Dent believes in improving and expanding the nursing program for Colorado. In just over a year as chief nursing officer and associate administrator of 36-bed Sterling (Colo.) Regional MedCenter, a not-for-profit hospital, Dent has started to develop a registered nurse training program in northeastern Colorado and has asked to sit in on a state task force to develop policies and legislation to support the expansion of the nursing program.
As a young woman living in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Corinne Francis, 38, knew a degree in business would help her escape poverty. But after two profoundly spiritual experiences, Francis decided to combine training in business with theology.
Breeann Robinson took her post as vice chair of planning services at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., at a time when the organization's leaders needed her most. With the task of clarifying and restructuring their strategic plan, they counted on Robinson to listen to their numerous ideas and distill them into a concise plan-one that would shape the operations of the 202-bed clinic.
Ray Shoemaker, 34, got his first official healthcare administration job in 2001, but it was when he joined the military at age 17 that he began to develop the leadership skills that would guide him to his current position as chief executive officer of Tri-Lakes Medical Center Health Systems, Batesville, Miss.
Sue Lunsford has come a long way since joining King's Daughters Medical Center seven years ago. "She was a team player when she started, and showed leadership skills immediately," says Fred Jackson, chief executive officer of the 547-bed Ashland, Ky., hospital. "She was promoted from director to vice president within three years."
Warner Thomas made a bedroom out of his office at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit the area last year. But there wasn't much time for the health system president and chief operating officer to sleep during his two-month stay. Thomas worked 20-plus hour days, not only meeting with hospital leaders to determine how best to handle the influx of patients, but also chipping in wherever help was needed: He cleaned the cafeteria, transferred patients and stocked supplies.
At 34, John Singerling already is the top executive of a 633-bed teaching hospital. He was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia, S.C., in January. He is responsible for $1.5 billion in revenue and more than 5,000 employees.
Powerful things come in small packages. That's what colleagues say about Donna McGregor, chief financial officer and vice president of finance at Health Quest, a three-hospital system in New York's mid-Hudson Valley.
Diminished expectations won't fly with Mike Trachta. Waverly (Iowa) Health Center is a self-described progressive rural hospital, ranked among the nation's top critical-access hospitals and with patient-satisfaction scores for inpatient care and ambulatory surgery among the top 2% and 8%, respectively, of all hospitals in the nation, large and small.
With two aunts, a grandmother and her mother working in hospital settings, it's no surprise Aiisya Williamson, 29, ended up in healthcare. After getting a "more than you see on TV" look at how nurses and physicians worked together to care for patients, Williamson knew she wanted to help people in the same way.
Lauren Yedvab traces her healthcare career to the summer she was a locker-room attendant at a beach club on Long Island. She happened to sweep out the locker of a hospital administrator all summer long, so when a career planning class in college indicated her calling was either in hotel management or hospital administration, she chose the latter.