Penn State Health St. Joseph's CFO on advocating for herself

Courtney Coffman, CFO of Reading, Pa.-based Penn State Health St. Joseph, recently talked about advocating for herself and being assertive versus aggressive during a local luncheon, according to a Reading Eagle report. 

The luncheon was for Berks Women2Women, a special program of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance.

Ms. Coffman became vice president and CFO of Penn State Health St. Joseph in April 2017. Before that, she worked for Ernst & Young in Philadelphia after graduating from business school. She also was controller and later CFO at Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol, Pa.

At Ernst & Young, she said she "was under the totally false assumption that if I worked hard and did my job, I'd get raises and rise up through the ranks," according to the report.

But she said a lower-than-expected rating on her annual review led her to decide "that being passive wasn't working for me. So, I raised my hand. I decided I was going to have to make my own opportunities."

As controller at Lower Bucks Hospital, she risked going above the CFO to the CEO to say the hospital's financial problems needed to be addressed, said Ms. Coffman.

"I would much rather have lost my job than have many others lose theirs," she said. "I would have figured something out."

She was promoted to the CFO position there after the previous CFO left.

Overall, Ms. Coffman encouraged luncheon attendees to advocate for themselves, as she did to get the promotion to CFO at Lower Bucks Hospital. She said sometimes it's good for women to push the line between being assertive and aggressive at work.


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