Top 25 Emerging Leaders
Christina Freese-Decker, 37
President, Spectrum Health Hospital Group
It's not uncommon for health leaders to hold a master's degree in health administration. But industrial engineering?
Christina Freese-Decker, president of Spectrum Health Hospital Group, has both. "I felt it would be valuable to healthcare, with all the challenges and opportunities there, to understand the components it would take to really impact change and improve our processes," she said.
Aspirations: To continue to give back, to continue to improve care and improve the healthcare process.
Leadership philosophy: I try to do the right thing every day, empower others to do the same, help them when they need it, but also get out of their way.
something surprising: I'm a pretty transparent person, so I'm happy talking about myself if it helps people get to know me.
Over her 13 years at the West Michigan not-for-profit health system, she's worked in strategic planning and development and as a hospital president. In 2014, she took on her current role leading the full group of 12 hospitals and 182 ambulatory and service sites. Under her leadership in fiscal 2015, Spectrum's hospital group attained an operating margin that was $89 million better than what had been budgeted, and $97 million better than the previous year.
The mother of two has risen quickly through the organization based on her successes, said Richard Breon, Spectrum Health CEO, who nominated Freese-Decker for the award. But then she has always stood out. Freese-Decker began at Spectrum as an administrative fellow after graduate school, and had job offers from within the organization after only a couple of months.
"She's somebody who has been successful at every level, and she's now running a $2 billion operation and handling that very well," Breon said. --Lisa Schencker