Corner Office: AdventHealth CEO Terry Shaw on 30 years in the healing ministry

Terry Shaw has worked at Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based AdventHealth for more than three decades, starting as intern in the finance department and becoming president and CEO of the health system in 2016.

He oversees 50 hospitals in nine states and more than 80,000 staff members and has led AdventHealth through a transformative time, included a rebrand from Adventist Health System, completed in January 2019.

Here, Mr. Shaw answers Becker's Corner Office questions.

Editor's Note: Responses were gathered by AdventHealth.

Question: What's one thing that piqued your interest in healthcare?

Terry Shaw: I always loved our organization's mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ and culture of serving people. This is very near and dear to me, and I have dedicated my entire 30-plus year career to this. The way I got into healthcare is an interesting story, but here is the short version: When I was going through college, AdventHealth, then Adventist Health System, would get one finance intern. And when the student who was originally supposed to go was unable to, my professor extended an invitation for me to go instead, and I accepted. It was a fantastic experience.

I went back again the next summer, and when I graduated, I was offered a job. I have been with the organization ever since. I always tell people that I didn't pick healthcare, but healthcare picked me. I am so thankful for that.

Q: If you could eliminate one of the healthcare industry's problems overnight, which would it be?

TS: The short answer is that we make it too complicated for the consumer. We need to make healthcare easier for them to navigate. I've experienced this within my own family when my wife was injured in a car accident. I would love to see a healthcare industry that cultivates meaningful relationships with consumers to make the care experience easier by enabling them to transition seamlessly from one care setting to the next to get the care they need.

Q: What is your greatest talent or skill outside of the C-Suite?

TS: I don't know if I am actually that skilled at it, but boating is something that I enjoy doing. There is just something about being on the water that is exhilarating and freeing at the same time. It is also a good way to spend quality time with my family.

Q: How do you revitalize yourself?

TS: My faith is the foundation of my life, so prayer really helps me revitalize. Just taking time each day to feed my spirit is so important for me. I have been active in my local church for many years, which includes teaching Sabbath school to help people grow in their faith. Also, spending time with my family is something that I am intentional about. Those are the things that keep me going, faith and family.

Q: What's one piece of advice you remember most clearly?

TS: Throughout my career, I have been blessed to work with many great leaders and mentors. A common theme among them has always been ensuring that everything we do is done with our mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ in mind. Knowing that our mission is the reason our organization exists has always resonated heavily with the leaders I have had the pleasure of learning from, and it continues to be the anchor point for me as CEO of our organization.

Also, one thing my dad instilled in me when I was young was, essentially, to never judge a book by its cover, to treat everyone with care and respect. This is something that always resonated with me throughout my life.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement at AdventHealth?

TS: You know what, I am really proud of my entire career with the organization. It is honestly hard to single out one thing because many of my proudest moments are tied to the people that helped me along the way. I will say that I am proud of all the things we were able to do leading up to our brand transition that made becoming AdventHealth possible.

We focused on things like making it easier for consumers by implementing a care navigation program, providing resources to deliver spiritual care and making sure that we are all on the same page in the way we provide service to consumers at our facilities. These are things we had to do in order to have the impact we want to have on lives and communities.

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