Ruth Brinkley, president and CEO of Carondelet Health Network, Tucson, Ariz.
Reaction to being named a Top 25 Minority Executive in Healthcare for 2010:
Ruth Brinkley: Being named as one of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare was quite an honor. I helped me to really look at myself, perhaps, the way others may view me. However, the most important thing is to provide a role model and a pathway—a career pathway—for those who will come after me. And to help them to be able to navigate this career field and this industry.
The key factors that have contributed to career success:
Ruth Brinkley: Gosh, my career success has been based on, I would say first of all, a love for healthcare. I have a passion; I have a love for healthcare. I'm a nurse by background, and I'm always considering what's best for the patient and the family, and the health of the community. So those foundations drive my passion, and then hard work. It is a tough field, but it is also a very rewarding field. And hard work has been there. Having people who have helped me in my career. Having people who believed in me. And being willing to take the hard assignments that sometimes others may not have wanted to take.
Advice for other minorities considering a career in healthcare administration:
Ruth Brinkley: I believe that minorities along with others who are looking for a career in healthcare have to really examine themselves about their passions. I believe that healthcare demands so much of you that if you don't have it in your heart and in your soul to do that, then it will be a tough career. It's going to be tough either way. So having the passion is No. 1. No. 2: Prepare yourself, assuring that you get a great education and great experiences. Take the hard assignments, and don't be afraid of them. They will be tremendous learning experiences, and I would say, lastly, to network with people. There are all kinds of people who could help you and who you can help. And not always expect that you're going to get something from it. Sometimes you just have to give. It will eventually come back to you; however, I just believe that giving is the right thing to do, and helping others to achieve their career objectives as well. So, hard work, passion, giving, networking. Those are the ingredients.