Tampa General CEO finds focus on the water and his eyes on the future

John Couris has been part of many achievements during his time as president and CEO of Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital, including the opening of the Global Emerging Diseases Institute and the launch of a venture capital fund to drive an innovation culture within the organization.

But he has also faced challenges, one being leading Tampa General and the region through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Couris became president and CEO of Tampa General in 2017. Before that, he was president and CEO of Jupiter (Fla.) Medical Center for eight years. 

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

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length. 

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

John Couris: I was attracted to healthcare as an industry and career because I enjoy its operational complexities and the strategies involved in the delivery of world-class care.

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

JC: If I could eliminate one problem in the healthcare industry, it would be removing the fragmented and "silo" system of operations and move the industry into a fully operational, coordinated system of care that is designed to improve quality, provide greater access to care and reduce cost.

Q: How do you revitalize yourself?

JC: My favorite way to reset is to spend the day boating with family and friends. Not only do I get to spend time with them in nature, but it also forces me to be present as I have to give my full attention to what is happening on the boat — from navigation to safety. On a professional level, nothing has given me new life like completing my doctorate in business administration focused on management science. Diving into a topic that was applicable to my career and interests, developing and exploring my research question from every angle and learning and reading all I could recharged me in a way I could not have imagined.

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

JC: My mentor, Doug Brown, former president of Enterprise Fleets and executive vice president of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, gave me the most critical piece of advice I have ever received (which is printed and sits on my desk to this day): "never trade what you want most for what you want now." 

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

JC: I think my greatest strength is my ability to connect with all kinds of people on a personal level and identify what unites us as opposed to what divides us. I love meeting and talking with all sorts of folks and am adept at recalling their stories, which allows me to build connections and relationships.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievements at Tampa General Hospital so far?

JC:  I think my greatest achievement at TGH is working every day to continue to develop, build and nurture an organizational climate and culture that directly focuses on our people. 

Q: What do you enjoy most about Florida?

JC: From a business perspective, I love the business climate that has been created by the governor and Florida Legislature. There is no better place to run an organization than here in Florida. On a personal note, I enjoy the vast and diverse opportunities of things to do here in Florida — from the theater to boating. I love being out on the water, so for me, Florida is the ideal place to live.

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