'Times of crisis also bring about times of innovation'

  • Roxann Barber

    Roxann Barber

  • Ascension Illinois Hospital

    Ascension Illinois Hospital

Posted4/24/2022 1:00 AM

Q: Describe your company.

A: Ascension Saint Alexius is my home away from home, and we're proud to take on more fully the Ascension Mission in Illinois. Ascension is an organization that cares about ensuring we have people, sites of care and connections to care for the communities we serve. Our mission to serve goes beyond the hospital structure -- ensuring we're there during times of illness is what we do -- but we also continue to broaden our sights.


We build programs to connect our community to resources promoting wellness and good health. Our organization also welcomes ways to be innovative and sharing of ideas from all levels locally, within the region and nationally.

Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

A: Here at Ascension Saint Alexius, we have an important renovation project underway for our Emergency Department to create a dedicated space to care for patients with behavioral health needs. Our current footprint doesn't allow us to consistently provide private space for those in crisis, and this new area will do just that. We anticipate hiring associates with behavioral health experience prior to project completion at the end of the year.

Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?

A: As we transition to Ascension Saint Alexius and Ascension Illinois, it's important our community knows we remain here for them in their time of need. Our mission remains the same. Going forward, we'll need to ensure we're connecting effectively with our patients and community to let them know the high-quality, personalized care they've come to expect from us remains.

Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic set back so many areas of our lives, but times of crisis also bring about times of innovation. In health care and at Ascension Saint Alexius, we're seeing a rising use of advanced telehealth services and developing artificial intelligence capabilities in the industry.

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Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie executive, what would it be?

A: Make sure you enjoy the work you do and balance work with personal time.

Q: Do you have a business mantra?

A: If you say you're going to do something, it's imperative to always follow through. Be careful not to overpromise no matter how well intended you are, because if you fail to follow through, you risk losing trust and fostering positive relationships.

Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?

A: Keith Parrott, our Ascension Illinois Ministry Market Executive, has been leading our health system since the start of the pandemic, and his confident leadership and compassion for the many challenges over the last two years has allowed us to persevere. Keith communicated regularly in weekly written updates, as well as weekly systemwide huddle conference calls throughout the crisis.

These huddles allowed for bidirectional, real-time communications from system leadership and provided a means to relay back any challenges or concerns from the field. Because we were always in constant communication, we were all moving together in the same direction without confusion, able to best care for the patients we serve.


Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?

A: When our hospital opened up in 1979, the surrounding area was largely rural and, from time to time, cows would wander over, looking to get into our Emergency Department.

Q: Was there a moment in your career that didn't go as you had planned? What lesson did you learn from it?

A: There was a time I was part of a reorganization and it reminded me there are many talented people in health care. It's why enjoying what you do is so important, because sometimes unexpected detours can occur along the way and every path builds character and experience in the work we're blessed to do.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I really enjoy being outdoors, year-round, because there's always something fun to do whether it's enjoying nature or watching or taking part in seasonal sports, especially in northern Illinois.

Q: What book is on your nightstand?

A: Uh oh ... none!

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: Lots of things, maybe I should have a book on my nightstand! Our hospital has great associates and leaders. Everyone is committed to quality work and care about each other and our patients. We work together through challenges, celebrate our accomplishments and have terrific teamwork. I'm fortunate and honored to be a part of this amazing team.

Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?

A: Regardless of title and scope of work, for me, it's about making a difference and helping others struggle less through difficulties.

Q: What was your first paying job?

A: Working in a doctor's office as a receptionist.

Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?

A: Da Bears!

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