Banner Health hospital helmed by all-female executive team

Female executive leading meeting
More than half of senior managers across Banner Health's facilities are women. (Getty/Sam Edwards)

With its latest hire, the leadership team at Banner Health’s Banner Desert Medical Center is all-female, a move that its executives say has its perks.

The hospital’s CEO, Laura Robertson, told Hospitals & Health Networks that she didn’t set out to create an all-female leadership team, but with last month’s decision to hire Cristal Mackay as chief operating officer, the hospital’s chief executive, medical, nursing, financial and operating officers are all women.

Banner Health’s 50,000-some-person workforce is 76% female, and Robertson said it’s valuable to have a leadership team that represents the system’s employees. Plus, women often make healthcare decisions, and having female executives can help attune senior leadership to those key decision-makers.

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“Women have huge influences on their families’ healthcare,” Robertson told H&HN. “Most women make the healthcare decisions, not just for themselves, but for their whole families, right? And so that's another advantage.”

Besides Desert Medical Center, Banner Health has a high overall number of women in leadership roles; more than half of the system’s senior managers are women, as are 57% of its facility CEOs.

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Diversity in the C-suite can drive better patient outcomes and community engagement. A possible way to grow the number of women in leadership roles is “sponsoring” them, a more peer-to-peer version of mentorship.

Healthcare organizations looking to diversify their workforces should also consider that a one-size-fits-all approach may not work in establishing a hospital culture, and a commitment to diversity should be built into the facility’s infrastructure.