Top 25 Emerging Leaders
Carolyn Jackson, 40
CEO, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children
First job: Lifeguard for five summers at a community pool.
Puzzling hobbies: Enjoys jigsaw puzzles and building Lego models.
No. 1 priority now: Her 5-year-old twin daughters. "Having hobbies and relaxing isn't really synonymous with having 5-year-old twins."
In 2010, Carolyn Jackson was CEO of Lake Pointe Health Network, a 112-bed hospital in Rowlett, Texas. During her tenure, neonatal admissions increased by more than 60% and the facility opened a pediatric-care program.
Those experiences helped Jackson realize that she wanted to focus her career on children's healthcare. So when there was an opening for the top job at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, another Tenet Healthcare Corp. facility, she jumped at the opportunity. As an added bonus, it was near her home state of Delaware.
"The stars aligned," Jackson said.
St. Christopher's is now in the midst of some major changes under Jackson's guidance. Last month, the hospital opened its new 30,000-square-foot Center for the Urban Child facility. The program is designed to meet the health challenges of kids in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country by centralizing services--from domestic violence counseling to dental care--at one location.
Previously, hospital staff worried that families wouldn't follow up on necessary care because of transportation problems or other hurdles that frequently confront poor households. "We want to make it as easy as possible for these kids to have a better life," Jackson said.
St. Christopher's is also in the midst of building a 110-bed critical-care unit, slated to open in 2016. That will include 60 beds for neonatal admissions and 50 beds for pediatric patients.
Jackson earns plaudits for her stewardship of St. Christopher's from other local healthcare leaders she has worked with. "She is confident, but humble," said Barry Freeman, CEO of the Einstein Health Network in Philadelphia. "I also think she's a first-class citizen."
Jackson has an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Her first healthcare job was working as an assistant manager at a pharmaceutical production facility in Florence, S.C. After completing a management training program run by Tenet, she joined Lake Point Health as its chief operating officer in 2003.
Jackson serves on the boards of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and Health Partners Plans.--Paul Demko