Christine Winn may know her limits, but her limits stretch as far as a
marathon. When Winn, 35, arrived at 334-bed Bridgeport (Conn.) Hospital as senior
vice president of ambulatory services and operations in 2002, she already had
nearly 10 years of experience under her belt at the nation's oldest hospital,
Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. She had risen through the ranks, starting as
administrative director for patient-care services to become associate vice
president of ambulatory services.
Winn is "a poised, articulate, down-to-earth
executive who reflects great warmth, passion and enthusiasm in everything she does"
with "a natural affinity for people," say her bosses, Robert Trefry, Bridgeport's
president and chief executive officer, and Hope Juckel-Regan, executive vice
president and chief operating officer.
With aspirations to be a hospital social
worker, Winn majored in psychology as an undergraduate at Furman University in
Greenville, S.C. But in her senior year, Winn recalls, a "very wise professor," the
chairman of the department, suggested that she should take some business classes.
Winn says she recognized that her professor was saying that direct patient care was
probably not her forte, but she also was self-possessed enough to know that she was
good at managing people, having been actively involved in student
Winn expresses enormous respect for those at the front lines who
provide care, but being a hospital administrator still allows her to face new and
"Every day I walk into the hospital I don't know what is
going to be happening. It's really a neat and austere responsibility," she
Taking the professor's counsel, Winn pursued a master's degree in health
administration at the University of South Carolina where she got to work on a
project that allowed her to observe rural healthcare firsthand. The experience gave
her a deep appreciation for what rural administrators do-"everything from working
with board members to working on the plumbing," she says. Though she has only
worked at urban hospitals since then, the experience "strengthened my desire to
really want to serve in any way that I could," she says.
Trefry and Juckel-Regan
describe Winn as "a lifelong learner." Winn says the hospital administration degree
gave her a foundation for how a hospital runs, but "I felt like I needed more
formal training in leadership thought and human resources development and how to
cultivate the best in people." So she pursued a second master's degree in
organizational dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Winn still has found
time somewhere to train as a marathon runner, taking three-mile runs every morning
and evening and running 18 miles on Saturdays. She has already completed five
marathons in the three years since she took up the sport and plans to run the New
York marathon in November. She averages five-hour times and self-deprecatingly says
she will probably win for her age group when she turns 70.