Corner Office: Vedner Guerrier's journey from staff therapist to C-suite

During his 20-year journey at Memorial Healthcare System, Vedner Guerrier has risen to become CEO of Memorial Hospital Miramar (Fla.).

Mr. Guerrier, who is trilingual and the son of Haitian parents, joined the Hollywood, Fla.-based health system as a staff therapist in 2001. He then became manager of radiation oncology at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines, Fla., and later led Memorial Healthcare's cancer institute.

In his newest role, which he took in January, Mr. Guerrier leads Memorial Hospital Miramar, a 178-bed facility. Memorial Healthcare said he runs a Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital level 2 neonatal intensive care unit, as well as an area where critical care is provided to COVID-19 patients. He is also overseeing a construction project for a women and children's specialty services pavilion on the Memorial Hospital Miramar campus. 

Here, Mr. Guerrier answers Becker's Hospital Review's seven Corner Office questions.

Editor's Note: Responses have been lightly edited. 

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

Vedner Guerrier: My aunt is a nurse, and I grew up admiring her and the medical profession. Later, my best friend's aunt was a charge nurse at a local hospital, and she hired us to work as unit service assistant (U.S.A.). The USA was a mixture of patient transporter, patient care assistant, orderly and environmental services. During my time as a USA, I had the opportunity to take patients to the oncology department and befriended the radiation oncology department engineer. I was taught about the treatment machines and the role of a radiation therapist. At that time, I was in school learning radiology but switched programs to radiation oncology and started working at a local hospital as a radiation therapist after graduation.          

Q: What do you enjoy most about South Florida?

VG: The mixture of cultures that makes my home unique. I can eat Latin food, island food and seafood and never eat the same dish because of the diverse varieties. Being able to go to the beach year-round is also a plus. Lastly, the great people who make up this vast conglomerate of cultures make South Florida a special place to live.   

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

VG: I'd eliminate the stereotyping, bias and prejudice that creates healthcare disparities and keeps underserved and underrepresented communities from having better healthcare outcomes.

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

VG: My ability to connect and engage with people by getting to know them, hearing their stories and sharing some laughs.  

Q: How do you revitalize yourself?

VG: I work out to clear my head and raise my spirit. Also, enjoying time with my family and friends. Professionally, I revitalize myself by teaching others to use Lean Six Sigma methodologies for process improvement.  

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

VG: A mentor once told me there are three types of people: those that watch it happen, those that ask what happened, and those that make it happen. He then asked, "Which kind of person do you want to be?" I always want to be the person that makes it happen. 

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement at Memorial Healthcare?

VG: I previously led Memorial's cancer institute and the progressive growth of the oncology program is what I'm most proud of. Working synergistically with our outstanding team of caregivers, we became just the fifth program (out of 80 in the state) to be recognized as a Florida Cancer Center of Excellence. The journey to achieving that designation forged a bond among the team and inspired all of those involved. 

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