2018 Powered by Women
From reader nominations, DBusiness selected eight professional women who are driving growth in Michigan, the nation, and the world.
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Carolyn Wilson // Ana Almeida // Betsy Meter // Jenny McCuiston
Stacy Fox // Amanda Richie // Patti Poppe // Tricia Keith
Executive Vice President, COO • Beaumont Health, Southfield
Employees: 38,000 • Revenue: $4.4B
Carolyn Wilson considers her advancement — from starting her career as a registered nurse at Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids to being appointed to her current position as the highest-ranking female executive at Beaumont Health and its eight hospitals — to be an achievement that’s meaningful for other nurses.
“It’s extra special to me because I know there are a lot of women watching me,” Wilson says of the position she’s held since 2016 as executive vice president and COO for the health system, which includes 187 outpatient sites.
“I think sometimes women question whether continuing to do what’s right and focusing on patients and their families in nursing is going to yield long-term success. I want them to know that it all aligns, that you can start from nursing or any other profession and be successful.”
Wilson returned to Michigan for her Beaumont position from Minneapolis, where she was COO of a smaller health system. In addition to hospitals and health systems in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Grand Rapids, she’s worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.
“My roots are very strong in Michigan,” says Wilson, who grew up in Grand Rapids. Her parents and her two daughters live on the west side of the state. Wilson and her husband, Justin, have a home there, too.
When Beaumont, Oakwood Healthcare Inc., and Botsford Hospital merged in 2014 to become Beaumont Health, part of the management team’s job was to merge the three entities into a new, cohesive whole. Some of that responsibility was directed to Wilson, who was hired by CEO John Fox. "(John's) fantastic to work with — and I came to Beaumont in a lot of ways, to work with, and for, John," she says.
Currently, she’s responsible for bringing 3,000 administrative employees from 16 locations to a building Beaumont Health recently acquired for $28 million on Northwestern Highway in Southfield.
“We’re asking people who’ve driven to the same place for their work location for years to change,” she says. “We’re trying to be very respectful because we’re obviously changing our employees’ lives, but we’re doing it because we believe it will create a stronger sense of team and better outcomes for patient care, and it will reduce our costs.”
Wilson estimates the system will see 10 percent in net savings by consolidating shared services employees into one building. The move is being done in phases and is expected to be completed by year’s end.
The 2014 merger also brought opportunities for new building projects and for making renovations to older, outdated facilities. Since Beaumont’s real estate function reports to the COO, Wilson's responsibilities have included the 2017 completion of a $40-million proton therapy center; a $160-million renovation of its Farmington Hills hospital that’s ongoing; $121 million in updates to the emergency center at its Royal Oak hospital, which is also ongoing; and the transformation of the Northwood Shopping Center, on the Royal Oak campus, into Woodward Corners at Beaumont, estimated to be finished in mid-2019 at a cost of $33 million.
In addition to real estate, Wilson oversees such disparate departments as pharmacy, imaging, security, and biomedical engineering, among others.
She’s also been promoting regional transit as a public health issue for patients who lack personal transportation to see their doctor or get to a hospital for tests. As a major employer, regional transit would make it possible for Beaumont Health to offer more people jobs in health care, and would make getting to work and holding down a job more convenient for its employees, most of whom don’t live in the county they work in, Wilson says. “Beaumont believes that we really need a regional transit (system),” she adds. — Ilene Wolff