August 22, 2019
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Small Talk

Get to know local leader Chris Ryan

A graduate of Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois, Chris Ryan moved to Evansville in 1999 with her husband Ron Ryan (Boys & Girls Club executive director). After being with The Women’s Hospital for nearly 20 years, the CEO understands determination, compassion, and leadership, overseeing more than 700 employees. We sat down to ask her five questions about her life and career.

How does your career today compare to where you imagined you’d be 30 years ago?
I started as a pediatric nurse and always wanted to improve the experience when caring for children and their families. When a child is admitted to a hospital, the parents are scared and the child is scared. We basically speak a different language (health care), and there are sounds and noises children aren’t used to. At the time, I never saw myself as a CEO, because really there were only men CEOs. Today, I still get to focus on the patient experience and quality, but I also get to focus on my employees. I love playing a part in making a work environment that provides the best patient care and a great environment for my employees.

What’s the most valuable life lesson you’ve learned so far?
Be significant in your life. When you look at what you want to accomplish, if your only motivation is success, you’re basically seeking to improve yourself as an individual, whereas if you strive to do something that matters beyond yourself, then you seek significance.

What’s your regular coffee order — how do you think it reflects your personality?
Black. It’s authentic; it’s clean, simple, and true to loving what I do. No enhancements, just the real thing.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Take risks. Believe in yourself as much as those around you. When I was younger, I had great parents to motivate me, yet I don’t know that I believed in myself enough. Never be afraid to seek advice.

What are you looking forward to right now?
Continuing to groom young leaders and watching them grow with the hospital. I love being able to let people go with their ideas. It’s what I really appreciated when I was young and eager, because it’s truly motivating. Seeing them take an idea and letting them run with it — there is no better sense of accomplishment.

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