Executive Director of Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Forest Hills, Susan Browning, hasn’t just cracked a glass ceiling in the healthcare industry, she’s shattered it. And she has the award to prove it: Susan was among eight leaders to receive the Glass Ceiling Award, which honors women who rose through the ranks in their respective industries. Though there are still plenty of glass ceilings that need breaking, these women have paved the way for many others! We talked to Susan about mentorship, one of her biggest career decisions, and what’s next for her at Northwell Health:
Tell us about your career journey at Northwell Health!
I joined Northwell Health eight months after the merge of what was then North Shore Health System and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. When I was recruited, I initially had responsibility for ambulatory care operations. However, due to the evolution of the health system, I moved into a role within system operations about a year and a half after joining. From that role, I transitioned back into hospital leadership positions, first at LIJ Forest Hills and then at Staten Island University Hospital. Subsequently, I provided administrative leadership within four of our clinical service lines. And, about three years ago, I was asked to return to LIJ Forest Hills as executive director.
What was it like to make the decision about healthcare administration vs. practicing medicine?
I always knew that I wanted a career in health care, and early on I thought that would be as a physician. However, during my undergraduate studies, I met several healthcare executives through various professional experiences. It was through those experiences that I reoriented my interests towards administration, where I was focused on the health of the community and development of services to meet community needs.
What does it take to earn a Glass Ceiling Award?
I view this award as a great recognition of Northwell Health’s focus on building services in the Queens community, which meet the needs of the community. This is an award that is reserved for individuals that have achieved professional recognition, but most importantly, community recognition for their leadership within the community.
Have you had any mentors along the way who made a big difference in your career?
Absolutely. The mentors that I have had (and continue to have), provide extraordinary support, guidance, and objective insights as my career has developed. Having strong, trusted mentors is one of the most important positive factors in one’s career development.
What should women know about working at Northwell Health?
Northwell Health is an extremely innovative health system, with visionary leadership. There is a focus on building diverse talent across the organization, as having diverse voices contribute to organizational decision-making enhances the sophistication of those decisions. The culture is very supportive.
What’s next for you in shaping careers for women in STEM?
I prefer to focus on shaping careers of any young professional interested in STEM, not solely women. There is a great opportunity for talented leaders, and it is up to my generation to mentor these leaders and prepare them for the evolving industry and opportunities that will present.
Are you Made for this?