Molly Carpenter, Judy Faulkner, Nancy Howell Agee: The Few Women Executives In Healthcare

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” Angela Davis.

Our World is a diverse place divided into many countries containing many, many cultures and sub-cultures. Among a lot of diverse anatomies, one thing remains common in all of the cultures, and that’s a woman’s ability to be a decision maker regarding the health of her family.

She has always been a stepping stone when it comes to the health of her family. Even when they aren’t “Head of the Household” financially, sisters, daughters, and aunts are often involved in critical healthcare decisions.

It’s God gifted to them and almost every religion and community is a reflection of that.

Things are the same when it comes to the organizational side According to Bureau of Labor “About 73% of the managers in the healthcare sector are women”. But sadly the percentage drops down to significantly as we move up the corporate ladder. From a staggering 73%, it drops down to a measly 4% percent.

According to RockHealth, women make up only 14% of the Fortune 500 healthcare company boards and only one CEO. But things are improving every year. When asked women about gender diversity in healthcare system about 33% of the women said things would change in the next 25 years and about 27% said the same thing but in 10 years.

Judy Faulkner

One of the biggest names in Healthcare is Judy Faulkner. This Greenfield residence is currently working full time as CEO of Epic Systems. A master’s degree holder in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After which started Human Service Commuting which later became Epic Systems (A privately held healthcare software company) with just an initial investment of $6000. Due to intense hard work, the investment later has grown to generate a revenue of 2.5 billion dollars last year. Making Judy Faulkner a billionaire.

Molly Carpenter

Benistar is one of the recent organizations to gain certifications from WBENC under the leadership of Molly Carpenter. Established in 1978, it is an organization that is leading nationwide in the design, installation, and administration of group retiree medical benefits. Benistar is currently well over the benchmark of standard 51% actually it’s closer to 60%. Since 2001 when they became ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan).

According to Molly Carpenter diversity is important in the organization. She quotes “Diversity and equality have always been a cornerstone of the Benistar philosophy. It was important to us that we give back to the employees as they grew with the company that was the genesis of becoming an ESOP. We wanted to make our woman-owned status official by partnering with the WBENC knowing the importance of this certifications to our customers and suppliers as well as to our employees.” 80% of the senior leadership board members are females and the percentage is up to 60% in the case of the workforce.

Diversity has always been a frontline solution for Molly Carpenter and Benistar in order to meet the ever-growing needs of their associates, insurance partners and customers.

Nancy Howell Agee

Another prime example of a rising veteran in the field of healthcare is Nancy Howell Agee. After gaining 20 years of well-earned experience and using it along the way to excel through different managerial roles, in 1996 became the President and CEO of Carillion Clinic. Which serves as an integrated healthcare organization serving in West Virginia. It is a multi-specialty physician group, eight hospitals, the Jefferson College of Health Sciences and a ventured Medical School with Virginia Tech fall under the control of Carillion Clinic and the leadership of Nancy Howell Agee. Thanks to her it is a quality healthcare inspiring good health throughout the region.

Needed, more men to get out the way

In healthcare, although the number of women CEOs is comparatively outnumbered, their work surely shows their capabilities and desire to work head on. There are also organizations who are acknowledging this fact by providing a certificate of acknowledgment to these organizations led by women. WBENC is one of the prime examples. They work under a simple yet effective motto “Join forces. Succeed Together.

The criteria are really simple.

• In order to get recognized by this organization, the applicant company must be owned or controlled by more than 51% of women, who should be either a US citizen or a permanent legal resident.

• Management and daily operation must be controlled by one or more of the women.

• WBENC uses a two-part process to ensure that the applicant company meets their standards. First, they will thoroughly review the documentation presented followed by a site visit interview with the employer.

The standard is accepted by more than a 1000 corporations. After the submission of required documentation, the whole process takes around 90 days to complete. They also provide best-in-class programming, events and networking opportunities for women-owned business. In order to tackle the challenge many women face in building and growing a business. WBENC provides support and resources through a full cycle of entrepreneurship.

It is important to remember that having a diverse workforce is worthwhile and powerful. It fosters innovations, opens up global opportunities, improves the company’s brand value and is massively helpful in providing better customers service.

No doubt gender diversity is a problem, not only in the healthcare sector but throughout the US. You will see some of the signs in almost every industry.

But on the positive side, as compared to the last decade where gender diversity in healthcare was almost 10% but now it has increased to a quarter. More and more organizations are taking measures to tackle this problem. And also the number of brave women building startups in the healthcare is also on the rise.

Useful Links:

WBENC certification process.


Forbes article on the role of women in healthcare.