See what’s coming up in Season Five of Her Story! Hear stories from the female leaders changing the world for the better through healthcare and beyond.
Joanne M. Conroy, M.D.
Julie Gerberding, M.D.
Sanjula Jain, Ph.D.
Nancy H. Agee
Carladenise Edwards, Ph.D.
Ceci is a recovering journalist who now is in passionate pursuit of a better, more equitable, more affordable health system. She is President and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, a national organization of leading nonprofit, provider-aligned plans. Ceci is also the host of the Healthy Dialogue podcast.
After 25 years in the news business – at outlets such as the Washington Post, the Associated Press and Congressional Quarterly – she worked at both McKinsey and PwC in health care thought leadership and consulting. She is a founding member of Women of Impact for Healthcare, co-author of Landmark: The Inside Story of America’s New Health-Care Law and What It Means for Us All, and serves on the advisory board of Fannie Mae’s Sustainable Communities Initiative.
If you wrote your story, what would be the title of your book?
You Can Take the Girl Out of Journalism, But You Can’t Take the Journalism Out of the Girl
What’s the one characteristic that has given you the edge in your career?
“I’m a dog with a bone.”
What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
“Think Big, Start Small, Act Fast.”
Joanne M. Conroy, M.D., serves as CEO and President of Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, the largest private employer in the state of New Hampshire. Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a nonprofit academic health system that includes: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which is the system’s 429-bed flagship teaching hospital; the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic (a multi-specialty group practice employing more than 1,500 physicians), the Norris Cotton Cancer Center; the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock; four affiliate hospitals (New London Hospital, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, Cheshire Medical Center, and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital); the Visiting Nurse and Hospice for New Hampshire and Vermont; and 24 ambulatory care clinics.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock is New Hampshire’s only academic health system and only Level 1 trauma center and is the largest provider of healthcare in the state and the second largest in Vermont.
Prior to arriving at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Dr. Conroy served as CEO of Lahey Hospital and Medical Center (formerly the Lahey Clinic), part of Lahey Health, a large, integrated delivery system with more than 1,400 physicians, 18,000 employees, $4 million in grant funding for medical research and $2.0 billion in annual revenue.
From 2008 to 2014, she served as Chief Health Care Officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), focusing on the interface between the health care delivery system and academic medicine. From 2001 to 2008, she served as Executive Vice President of Atlantic Health, Chief Operating Officer/ President of Morristown Memorial Hospital, a 695-bed flagship teaching hospital.From 1986 to 2001, Dr. Conroy served many roles at the Medical University of South Carolina, including Vice President for Medical Affairs, Chair of Anesthesiology and Senior Associate Dean of the College of Medicine.
Dr. Conroy’s Story
Man, That Woman is Like Chinese Water Torture
What’s your pump-up song?
“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson
“Golf…I play from the whites.”
“Ask for what you want/need.”
Kristi Ebong is an investor at Define Ventures focused on investing in early stage digital health companies that are redefining healthcare. She partners with Define entrepreneurs to position them for growth & scale. Kristi also serves on the board of directors for the Napa Medical Research Foundation, as a champion of regenerative medicine and as a previous patient. She serves on the advisory boards for The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business; Orbita, a VC-backed market leader in conversational AI; and as a KOL for the global thought leadership consultancy HealthXL.
Previously, Kristi was the first industry hire for Orbita at the seed stage and also served as Head of Emerging Technology at Cedars-Sinai where she led emerging technology and launched the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Powered by Techstars.
Kristi has worked for provider systems, technology startups, and cross-vertical health organizations (including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthspottr, and the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT). She spent time in management consulting for #1 KLAS-ranked Stockamp & Associates, where she led operational and revenue performance improvement for hospital systems. Kristi started her career at Epic Systems (with a 3-digit employee number!).
Kristi holds a BA in political science and global security from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business, and an MPH from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Kristi is from Minnesota and now resides in San Francisco with her husband and three children. She enjoys farmers markets, exploring the cold beaches of San Francisco, water sports, and Minnesota lake life.
If you wrote your story, what would be the title of your book?It’s a Small World After All
What’s your pump-up song?“The Man” by Aloe Blacc
What’s the one characteristic that has given you the edge in your career?“Everyone you meet has intrinsic value”
What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?“Play for the long game and you’ll never lose”
Julie L. Gerberding, M.D. is Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, where she is responsible for a broad portfolio focused on patient engagement, strategic communications, global public policy, population health and corporate responsibility. She joined the company in 2010 as president of Merck vaccines.
Previously, Julie was director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she led the agency through 40+ emergency responses to public health crises. She has received more than 50 awards and honors, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) distinguished service award for her leadership in responses to anthrax bioterrorism and the September 11, 2001 attacks. She was named to the TIME 100 list of most influential people in 2004 and the Healthcare Businesswomen Association’s Woman of the Year in 2018. Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health
Dr. Gerberding’s Story
Protecting Health: From Patients to Populations
“I Feel Good” by James Brown
“My North Star: leadership is a privilege and has to be earned.”
“Focus on being kind and fair, but don’t always strive to be ‘nice’.”
Dr. Sanjula Jain is a health services researcher and strategic advisor working with C-suite and senior leadership teams of healthcare organizations including Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and medical device companies, health systems, and venture-backed startups. She is passionate about leveraging data-driven insights to accelerate transformation across the health economy. Sanjula is Co-founder of Think Medium, which personalizes insights for healthcare leaders, and SVP of Market Strategy and Chief Research Office at Trilliant Health. She also serves on the Faculty of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Division of Clinical Informatics.
Sanjula has previously served in executive roles in research and advisory services, governance education and value acceleration at The Health Management Academy and Emory Healthcare. Her research has been published in academic journals such as Health Affairs, JAMA, The American Journal of Managed Care, and The Journal of Healthcare Management and leading industry publications such as Modern Healthcare and The American Hospital Association’s Market Scan.
She has an undergraduate degree from Rice University and a doctorate degree from Emory University. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Health Services Research & Health Policy, with a concentration in Economics, from Emory University.
Nancy Howell Agee is President and Chief Executive Officer of Carilion Clinic, a $2.4B not-for-profit integrated health system headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, serving more than one million people in Virginia and West Virginia.
Before becoming CEO in 2011, Ms. Agee served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. During her tenure as COO, she co-led Carilion’s reorganization from a collection of hospitals to a fully integrated, physician-led clinic. The reorganization resulted in a partnership with Virginia Tech to create an allopathic medical school and research institute.
Ms. Agee is a nationally recognized health care leader and past Chair of the American Hospital Association. She was recently named one of Modern Healthcare’s 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives. Modern Healthcare also named her one of 2021’s Women Leaders Luminaries that recognizes executives whose careers have been defined by reshaping the industry. She was first named to Modern Healthcare’s biennial list of Top 25 Women Leaders in 2017 and is perennially among its 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare. She is a former member of The Joint Commission’s Board of Commissioners and past Chair of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association and the Virginia Center for Health Innovation.
Ms. Agee was named Virginia Business Person of the year in 2017 by Virginia Business and has been on the list of most influential persons in Virginia for the past ten years. She was also named among Virginia Business Magazine’s Virginia 500 – the 2020 Power List. Ms. Agee serves on several boards including American National Bank & Trust, (NASDAQ:AMNB), RGC Resources, Inc., (NASDAQ:RGCO) and Healthcare Realty:(NYSE:HR). She is a member of The Wall Street Journal Council of CEOs, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, Virginia Business Council, Virginia Business Higher Education Council and on the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates. She is a Fellow in the National Association of Corporate Directors. In January 2022, Ms. Agee was selected by newly inaugurated Governor Glenn Youngkin to serve on his Medical Advisory Team.
Ms. Agee has received many awards over her career including the 2022 Virginia Business Magazine’s “Women in Leadership” award, the Total Action for Progress (TAP) 2021 Cabell Brand Hope Award, 2020 University of Virginia Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center Distinguished Alumna Award, Emory School of Nursing’s Nurses Alumni Association Distinguished Nursing Achievement Award, Multiple Sclerosis Silver Hope Award, the Carilion Paladin Award for Quality, and the National Center for Healthcare Leadership’s Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award.
Ms. Agee holds degrees with Honors from the University of Virginia (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) and Emory University (Master of Science in Nursing) and attended the Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University. She’s received honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Roanoke College, the Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Recently retired as CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital, Sandra L. Fenwick led Boston Children’s in advancing pediatric health care throughout the region and around the world, working to improve access to safe, quality care for all, and supporting the research and innovative partnerships required to lead the way in creating the future of care. She is a tireless advocate for equitable children’s health and has been instrumental in developing strategies that position Boston Children’s as the scientific and thought leader in pediatric health. Boston Children’s is a 415-bed Harvard teaching hospital with over $3B of revenues including $500M of research funding and 20,000 faculty and staff.
Sandra joined Boston Children’s in 1999, and was promoted to chief operating officer later that year. She added the title of president in 2008, and was named CEO in 2013. Prior to joining Boston Children’s, she worked for 20 years in operations, strategy and and business development at Beth Israel Hospital and CareGroup, Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Science, with distinction in biology and chemistry, from Simmons University and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors the Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions, Inc, Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically-inspired Engineering, Patient Discovery Solutions, Inc., Teladoc Health, Inc. and BCH UK Charity, Ltd. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum/Massachusetts and Women Corporate Directors/Boston. She has received numerous awards and honorary degrees for her contributions to healthcare and business including four honorary doctorates, the Greater Boston Chamber’s Pinnacle Award and was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians. In 2021, she received the inaugural Helen Drinan Visionary Leadership Award from Simmons University.
Dr. Carladenise Armbrister Edwards has thirty years of professional experience ranging from Assistant Dean at University of Pennsylvania to government official at the state and federal level. She most recently served as Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer at Henry Ford Health, a $6.8B integrated health care delivery system headquartered in Detroit, MI. Prior to that she led strategy for Providence St. Joseph Health, a $24B health care company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Carladenise loves taking on new adventures and solving complex problems, leading her to take the risk of moving her family across the country during the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic to serve in such a challenging role for the third time in her professional career. She was the Chief Strategy Officer at Alameda Health System from 2013-2016.
Dr. Edwards is currently devoting her time to community and corporate board service. In 2022, she was recognized by Modern Healthcare and Becker’s as one of the top Women Leaders in Healthcare and by the Michigan Chronicle as a Women of Excellence. Her life experience, academic background, and professional training in the fields of medical sociology, epidemiology, marketing & business development, managed care, health information technology, and healthcare financing makes her a highly sought-after advisor, speaker, and director. She most recently joined the board of Clover Health [NASDAQ:CLOV] and is a strategic advisor to Parsley Health, 4L Data Intelligence, Rand Health, and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.
When asked about her top priority or what gives her joy, the answer is the same “Being in a position to give back to the communities that have given so much to me and my family.” Dr. Edwards and her husband, Herman Edwards have started two endowed scholarships, one at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing and the other at Johnson C. Smith University aimed at providing financial support to African-American students seeking higher education. She is an active member of the Heluna Health Board of Directors, where she serves on the Finance Committee and Chairs the Advancement Committee. She also is a board director for the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) serving on the finance committee and Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).
Dr. Edwards received her BA and MS.Ed from University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. from the University of Florida. She studied neuroscience at the University of Leuven in Belgium and gerontology at the University of California Los Angeles. She is enrolled in Harvard University’s Adaptive Leadership Initiative as a fellow. When Carladenise is not working, you can find her sailing, reading, or spending time with family.
For exclusive access to Her Story content and program updates, subscribe here.