Kelly Mather of Sonoma Valley Hospital wins Women in Business award

Kelly Mather, president and CEO, Sonoma Valley Hospital

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Hospital administration has been a calling for Kelly Mather since graduating from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in health administration, followed later by a master’s degree in health administration from Medical College of Virginia.

“I enjoy the challenge of leading small hospitals to thrive in the difficult health care environment,” she said. “Serving our patients and the community by providing excellent healthcare in a place of healing has always been my highest priority. Over the years, I developed the Healing Hospital model to inspire hospitals to create a healthy culture in a healing environment with healers who help our patients live well for life. Sonoma Valley Hospital is truly a Healing Hospital.”

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR COMPANY

PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Various positions in Hospital Administration from 1991 – 1996. Became a Chief Executive Officer in 1996 serving San Leandro Hospital through 2001, Sutter Lakeside Hospital from 2001-2009; Sonoma Valley Hospital from 2010 to present. Founder of Harmony Healing House which publishes wellness books and created the Healing Hospital model in 2006.

EDUCATION: Bachelors of Science in Health Administration from Auburn University in 1989 and a Masters in Health Administration from Medical College of Virginia in 1992

STAFF: 480 employees

My career has been in hospital administration since graduating from Auburn University in 1989. I enjoy the challenge of leading small hospitals to thrive in the difficult health care environment. Serving our patients and the community by providing excellent healthcare in a place of healing has always been my highest priority. Over the years, I developed the Healing Hospital model to inspire hospitals to create a healthy culture in a healing environment with healers who help our patients live well for life. Sonoma Valley Hospital is truly a Healing Hospital!

To help health become more contagious in our community, I published several wellness books, including “The 5 Keys to Wellness,” “Wellness University,” “The Health Playbook,” “Create Your Health,” “Ducky Love,” “Fish Breath” and “Froggy Choice.”

I am married with three children. When not passionately following my mission or being with my family, I enjoy hiking and spas.

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO

Leading Wellness University to have over 200 Wellness Ambassadors including staff and community members. The Wellness Ambassadors use the Five Keys to Wellness health-improvement system to role-model and teach wellness.

WHAT IS THE ACHIEVEMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?

The Healing Hospital Model.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TODAY?

Maintaining excellent patient care, with physician, staff and community satisfaction in the curent state of financial instability in healthcare.

WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOU: People say I am a visionary who is inspired to improve health and heal at all levels (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.) I lead with high energy and enthusiasm to continuously improve our hospital and community’s health.

AS A SUCCESSFUL FEMALE PROFESSIONAL, WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU FACED AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?

For many years people thought I was a bit crazy because I was so passionate about creating a healing environment in the hospital and promoting wellness. I was pioneering these concepts in my 20’s and many male executives did not see the value or return on investment. My mission was not shared and I was often discounted for having this passion.

HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR PROFESSION WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

I believe that hospitals will focus more on population health and improving the health of everyone in the community.

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MENTOR?

My favorite leader of all time was Van Johnson of Sutter Health. He was an incredibly inspiring man who focused on the true purpose of hospitals. He brought the mission of hospitals alive.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG WOMAN ENTERING YOUR PROFESSION OR THE WORK WORLD TODAY?

Leadership is about service to the organization, staff and community; it’s not about you. Know yourself, stay strong and yet be open to growth and change every day.

MOST ADMIRED BUSINESSPERSON OUTSIDE YOUR ORGANIZATION: Not for profit organizations that truly make a difference through giving and altruism in the community.

TYPICAL DAY AT THE OFFICE: I don’t sit still very often. My job involves working closely with many different groups such as board members, physicians, healthcare partners, community leaders and policy makers. I am in a lot of meetings and write reports or recommendations.

BEST PLACE TO WORK OUTSIDE OF YOUR OFFICE: My front porch with a beautiful view of the lake in Lakeport.

CURRENT READING: “The Fifth Agreement” by Ruiz.

MOST WANT TO MEET: Sheryl Sandberg.

SOCIAL MEDIA YOU MOST USE: Facebook.

STRESS-RELIEVERS: Yoga, meditation, hiking in nature, spas, massage, any integrative medicine therapy, the beach, wine, time with friends and working out.

FAVORITE HOBBIES: hiking, visiting spas, writing books, creating wellness classes and scrapbooking.