Women’s History Month: meet the women making a positive impact across HCA Healthcare

Headshots of influential women across HCA Healthcare

Trendsetters. Trailblazers. Each March, HCA Healthcare celebrates Women’s History Month and the vital role women play in our past, present and future. Below, we’re introducing you to a group of influential women at HCA Healthcare who have enriched our organization and empowered others.

Cris Rivera, Chief Executive Officer, Rio Grande Regional Hospital (Texas)

Headshot of Cris Rivera
Cris Rivera, Chief Executive Officer, Rio Grande Regional Hospital

Cris Rivera, chief executive officer of Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen, Texas, has spent the last 40 years with HCA Healthcare. A South Texas native, she started her career as a phlebotomist during her clinical internship in San Antonio. She then transitioned into her first role at HCA Healthcare as a lab supervisor in the same hospital she now leads, in the same region she grew up.

As the first female Hispanic executive to assume the position of CEO at Rio Grande Regional Hospital, Cris credits her success to obtaining a good education, listening to the advice of mentors, never giving up on hard work, and an unconditional dedication to our mission: “Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.”

When asked about her advice for other women navigating their careers, she encourages women to take it at their own pace.

“Take the time to truly evaluate what you want to do and not what other people think you should do,” said Cris. “Consider skills, education, experience and family responsibilities, then pursue a career you are passionate about and give it your all.”

Cris is a dedicated community partner, serving on the board of numerous organizations and using her voice to advocate for women. Among many accolades, she has been recognized as a Woman of Distinction from both the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce and the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She has also been recognized by the city of McAllen for her service to the community at their International Women’s Day event.

Cris is an advocate for women at HCA Healthcare and believes our organization can further advance women into leadership roles by providing tuition reimbursement for continuing education, identifying both male and female mentors for colleagues and developing formal succession plans for women.

“I firmly believe that opportunity lies before us, and we must pursue it because anything is possible, especially with the right attitude. Always remember that the right attitude will get you to the right altitude! Si de puede! It can be done!”

Cris Rivera, Chief Executive Officer, Rio Grande Regional Hospital

Sylvia Young, President and Chief Executive Officer, HCA Healthcare’s Continental Division (Colorado)

Headshot of Sylvia Young
Sylvia Young, President and Chief Executive Officer, HCA Healthcare’s Continental Division 

Since 2012, Sylvia Young has served as president and chief executive officer of HCA Healthcare’s Continental Division, which was named one of the Top 5 Large Healthcare Systems in the country by IBM Watson Health the last two years for clinical and patient experience achievement.

Throughout her nearly career, Sylvia has felt called to mentor many leaders who have moved from her hospitals and division to other leadership roles throughout the organization and the healthcare industry.

Sylvia was recently named a ‘Woman to Watch’ by Modern Healthcare in their 2022 Top Women Leaders in Healthcare list. The recognition honors female healthcare executives advancing care delivery, community health and gender equity at organizations across the country. Sylvia has also led the Continental Division’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) council, which executes initiatives with patients, colleagues, vendors, boards and community partners.

During the pandemic, at a time when hospitals across the country were laying off and furloughing employees – a crisis that disproportionately impacted working women – Sylvia worked alongside other HCA Healthcare leaders to ensure that our organization did not have to lay off or furlough a single employee as a result of COVID-19. The Continental Division doubled down for front-line workers by focusing on providing personal protective equipment (PPE), services like scrub laundering and complimentary hotel accommodations for those who did not want to expose their families to COVID-19. These efforts, along with other financial, safety and expanded mental health and wellness programs for colleagues set leaders like Sylvia apart.

Dr. Natalie Ransom, Division Chief Nursing Executive, HCA Healthcare’s East Florida Division (Florida)

Dr. Natalie Ransom, Division Chief Nursing Executive, HCA Healthcare’s East Florida Division

This fall, Dr. Natalie Ransom, Division Chief Nursing Executive for HCA Healthcare’s East Florida Division, will celebrate 25 years with our organization. She started as a Nurse Extern in 1997 at HCA Florida North Florida Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Throughout her career, Natalie has held various leadership roles, including Chief Nursing Officer for HCA Florida North Florida Hospital, and HCA Healthcare’s MountainView Hospital and Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas. 

Dr. Ransom credits the HCA Healthcare Leadership Institute’s Executive Development Program as one of the factors in her success and surrounding herself with great mentors and leaders. “Always seek out great mentors,” said Dr. Ransom. “Sometimes, a mentor will push you to achieve more than you believe you can.”

Dr. Ransom is paying it forward by serving as a sponsor for HCA Healthcare’s Inaugural Sponsorship Program to accelerate advancement for leaders of color. She is also a member of our organization’s Black Senior Leadership Council and an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Organization for Nursing Leadership

She encourages women to be open to new challenges as they navigate their careers. “Strive to exceed expectations, and believe in yourself.” She notes that HCA Healthcare can remain committed to advancing women in leadership roles by continuing to expand leadership development programs and remaining focused on advancing diversity through robust mentorship and sponsorship programs.

Dr. Ransom also encourages working moms who aspire to grow their careers.

“I have four children, and they are my biggest cheerleaders. Balancing work, your professional development, and a family are not always easy, but, as women, we were made to be incredible.”

Dr. Natalie Ransom, Division Chief Nursing Executive, HCA Healthcare’s East Florida Division

Jackie Van Blaricum, Chief Executive Officer, Riverside Community Hospital (California)

Headshot of Jack Van Blaricum
Jackie Van Blaricum, Chief Executive Officer, Riverside Community Hospital

Jackie Van Blaricum, chief executive officer, Riverside Community Hospital, is a 20-year veteran of HCA Healthcare, the recipient of multiple industry accolades, and currently serves on the HCA Healthcare Hope Fund‘s board of directors. She credits her supportive network of colleagues as an important factor in her success, noting they helped her to continue learning, stay positive and thrive as a more collaborative leader. 

“I have always taken on stretch assignments to push myself beyond comfort; and through passionate optimism and my belief in ‘Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life,’ I have become a stronger leader,” said Jackie.

“I’ve learned that honesty and transparency are key in building a culture where colleagues want to come to work, and in that sense of belonging is where we find commonality in caring for the patient.”

Jackie Van Blaricum, Chief Executive Officer, Riverside Community Hospital

Beginning as an administrative resident in 2000, Jackie has served in many leadership roles at HCA Healthcare throughout her tenure. Before stepping into her current leadership role at Riverside Community Hospital, Jackie was the first woman to serve as CEO of HCA Healthcare’s Research Medical Center in Kansas City, MO in its 130-year history. She advises women to stay persistent as they navigate their careers – to take on new challenges and to remember that change is opportunity.

“Whether you succeed or fail, take extreme ownership of your outcomes,” said Jackie. “It is through failure we learn and can shape our goals and ambitions, so write down and reflect often on your personal goals and make sure your leader knows your professional goals. Ask for feedback, take critique and grow from your mistakes.”

Jackie believes programs through HCA Healthcare’s Leadership Institute, like the Executive Development Program, are great opportunities for women at our organization to advance their careers. She also notes that staying committed to advancing our diversity at all levels should remain a priority.

“Women who drive progress are often faced with burnout, and cultivating a culture of inclusion can advance more women to leadership positions,” said Jackie. “Continuing to move forward the colleague-focused diversity, equity and inclusion strategies in the C-suite and division senior leadership roles can create a wider platform for conversations surrounding shared commonalities or experiences and hone discussions of importance.”

Lily Cimmino, AVP, Portfolio Management and Implementations (Tennessee)

Headshot of Lily Cimmino
Lily Cimmino, AVP, Portfolio Management and Implementations

Lily Cimmino, AVP of Portfolio Management and Implementations, is a 13-year veteran of HCA Healthcare and an integral part of our Clinical Operations Group. She currently leads a team of nurses, project managers, and implementation specialists focused on large-scale implementations across the organization.

During her tenure, Lily has been responsible for a number of programs that have positively impacted the organization, including the enterprise-wide implementation of Advanced Clinicals. Advanced Clinicals transformed the workflow of physicians, nurses and other hospital staff at HCA Healthcare, resulting in a more collaborative, safer and efficient system and, ultimately, better care for our patients. She credits her success in her career at HCA Healthcare to building trust and exceeding expectations and advises other women navigating their careers to do the same.

“Take pride in your work and hold yourself accountable to a high standard. Always strive to deliver more than what is expected of you. People will begin to trust you, and that will open doors to additional opportunities and exposure to more people.”

Lily Cimmino, AVP, Portfolio Management and Implementations

Lily also spearheaded HCA Healthcare’s Implementation Specialist Development Program, which provides robust training and shadowing for colleagues who are early in their healthcare careers. For women looking to further advance their careers, Lily said it’s all about building and maintaining relationships.

“HCA Healthcare is a large organization with many opportunities to move around,” said Lily. “You are bound to run into someone that has a different role today than they had yesterday. If relationships are intact, it makes success a lot more attainable.”

Lily continues to inspire change as the sponsor for the Nashville chapter of the HCA Healthcare Hispanic/Latinx Colleague Network, where she hopes to encourage the hiring of more women with diverse backgrounds.

“Given that the gap between the labor force and executive representation in the healthcare industry is wider among Hispanics than any other group, I am excited to serve as the sponsor for the Hispanic/Latinx Colleague Network in Nashville,” said Lily. “It is important to me that we remain focused on both recruiting and developing Hispanic talent.”

BRAVE Moments

Dee Anna Smith, chief executive officer of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare and Shannon Dauchot, incoming president and chief executive officer of Parallon, a leading provider of revenue cycle management services, recently sat down to discuss women in leadership. The conversation was a part of a new HCA Healthcare series called BRAVE Moments, which represents the BRAVE Conversations vision of being bold, relevant, authentic, valuable and educational while capturing significant experiences in a brief, pre-recorded format.

In the clip from this inaugural Moment, Dee Anna and Shannon discuss why it’s important for women to be cheerleaders for other women.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

Recent articles