Cover Story

Breakthrough Leadership Moments

Five CEOs Share Their Personal Revelations

By Topic: Leadership

Healthcare leadership is a calling for many, an opportunity to pursue a rewarding career that is also in service to the patients, communities and those who provide care across the continuum. For many of these leaders, there is a defining moment that feels like an epiphany or affirmation of their chosen path. This moment can help drive them forward, even when faced with uncertainty, and can continue to provide guidance and inspiration throughout their career journey. 

For this feature, Healthcare Executive interviewed five CEOs from across the country who oversee organizations of varying scopes and sizes. These executives shared the breakthrough leadership moments that stand out for them and continue to compel them, even when the challenges they face seem insurmountable. 

For some, these moments derive from personal experience. For Valerie L. Powell-Stafford, FACHE, caring for her father “was really eye-opening and gave me a deeper sense of empathy for the patients we care for.” She believes that extraordinary events, both negative and positive, are opportunities for personal growth. For others, like Keith A. Parrott, FACHE, it was a humbling instance of gratitude that led him to realize the importance of his work and how his leadership affects and influences those around him.
  • Carl S. Armato, CPA

    president/CEO, Novant Health, Winston-Salem, N.C. 

    January  2022 marks 10 years that Carl S. Armato, CPA, has led Novant Health, Winston-Salem, N.C., as CEO of a three-state, $7 billion integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient centers and hospitals. 

  • Tina Freese Decker, FACHE

    president/CEO, Spectrum Health System, Grand Rapids, Mich.

    During her 19 years serving Spectrum Health in various strategic and operational roles, Tina Freese Decker has developed a track record for cultivating culture and driving strategy. She is committed to building a health system that celebrates and reinforces diversity, equity and inclusion for team members, patients, families and health plan members.

  • Keith A. Parrott, FACHE

    president/CEO, AMITA Health, Chicago

    Keith A. Parrott, FACHE, joined AMITA Health in Chicago as president and CEO in January 2020, one week before the first COVID-19 patient in Illinois (and the second patient in the United States) arrived in one of AMITA’s medical centers. With that as a backdrop, Parrott reflected on his 30 years in healthcare management and pinpointed two instances in his leadership career that he now sees as his breakthrough leadership moments.

  • Valerie L. Powell-Stafford, FACHE

    president/CEO, Northside Hospital, St. Petersburg, Fla.

    When her father was battling cancer, Valerie L. Powell-Stafford, FACHE, CEO, Northside Hospital, St. Petersburg, Fla., learned firsthand what it was like to be a caregiver of a sick loved one.

  • David A. Tam, MD, FACHE

    president/CEO, Beebe Healthcare, Lewes, Del.

    Though David A. Tam, MD, FACHE, learned countless lessons during his 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, when asked what his breakthrough healthcare leadership moments have been, he cites two from his service in the civilian sector. The first came while he was high above the ground.


CEO: Leading for the Future

Healthcare leaders face tough decisions and situations every day. The pace of industry disruption, the flood of information and the pressure to respond can force CEOs to choose between maintaining the status quo or investing in uncertainty. This bundle will provide strategies for navigating the difficult challenges ahead—from expanding virtual care delivery models to significant workforce challenges.