Top 25 Emerging Leaders
Vanessa Guzman, 32
Associate vice president of quality improvement, Network management, Montefiore Health System
Fresh out of college in 2007, Vanessa Guzman took a run at her American dream and started her own business, a healthcare staffing agency. But timing is everything and unfortunately for Guzman, the Great Recession hit.
Layoffs were more prominent than hirings and the business floundered. But from a business failure, she found career success and learned a lot in the process.
"It's only when you fail that you learn what the best approach is the next time you make the attempt."
"I tried to do it all on my own and when I failed my confidence was shaken," Guzman said, "But I learned that in order to succeed, you really need to build the right team."
Humbled but motivated, she began anew. In 2010, she was hired as a clinical systems optimization manager at Montefiore Information Technology, a division of Montefiore Health System in Yonkers, N.Y. Over a handful of years, she transitioned to quality improvement and is now associate vice president of quality improvement and network management for the health system.
During her tenure, she has played a strategic role in streamlining and maximizing revenue. She created a program to consolidate regulatory and quality requirements, initiated a multiyear patient engagement program and has helped the health system thrive in the CMS' Next Generation accountable care organization program.
Under her leadership, Montefiore is also helping hospitals across the Hudson Valley leverage $230 million in state funds to embrace value-based purchasing and quality improvement initiatives.
Their work focuses on reducing administrative costs, minimizing hospital-acquired conditions and ensuring that patients receive timely primary care and follow-up visits following their hospital stays. She credits her early career failure as a key ingredient to her achievements.
"It's only when you fail that you learn what the best approach is the next time you make the attempt," Guzman said. "Sometimes you have to be disrupted or else you stop innovating."