Sally Mason Boemer
33, vice president of finance
Massachusetts General Hospital
Today she is the 33-year-old vice president of finance at 855-bed Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she has become known as the "secret weapon" for her ability to boost collections, manage payer contracts, direct cost-cutting teams and discuss complex finance issues in plain English.
"Suffice it to say that Sally is responsible for ensuring that millions of dollars that would have once slipped needlessly through our fingers are today being used to help patients and families," says James Mongan, M.D., president of Massachusetts General.
Boemer, who didn't expect by her early 30s to hold the top financial position in a major metropolitan hospital, attributes her success to listening to all viewpoints before rendering a decision.
"I view my role as trying to frame for people the boundaries of what we can do," Boemer says. "There are limits and trade-offs, and that's what I try to highlight, not to be the one to say, `No, you can't do that.' "
Boemer has a bachelor's degree in health and human services from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and received her master's degree in health service administration from the University of Michigan in 1993. She then went to work for Massachusetts General as an administrative fellow, which involved completing a resident-like rotation that gave her a total tour of hospital operations and finance.
Having thought she would eventually work in an operations role, Boemer quickly learned that healthcare finance was her gig. "I realized I was good at translating back and forth between the operations and the finance people," Boemer says. "My style is probably not aggressive but to bring people together to shine light on a problem and figure out how to solve it."
Those who have worked closely with Boemer confirm her ability to assemble teams and strike the right balance between toughness and flexibility.
"If someone came from the outside, they might think, `Oh my gosh how can they let someone this young be the CFO of this $1.4 billion hospital?"' says Katie Hope, the hospital's budget director, who has worked with Boemer for more than six years. Boemer, Hope adds, has "proven through hard work and high-quality work that she's smart, knows what she's doing and can make good decisions."
Massachusetts General's leadership agrees.
"Our secret weapon is a remarkable young woman with a powerful calculator and a heart of gold," Mongan says.
Now pregnant with her first child, Boemer and her husband enjoy golf and cheering for Boston-area sports teams. A New England native, she's not sure what the next career move might be but can't imagine living anywhere else.