Lissa M. Southerland
Regional Director, Manhattan Borough Centers
Community Healthcare Network
IMPROVING HEALTH CARE OPERATIONS
Fast fact: Lissa grew up in Georgia
In three years with Community Healthcare Network, Southerland revitalized Harlem’s Helen B. Atkinson center (HBA), meeting performance goals and earning high marks from her staff. She works in administration but is all about action, and has been known to load up her car with Thanksgiving meals to hand out around the neighborhood. She was chosen as a 2014 NYMAPPS Fellow through the Colin Powell School for Civil and Global Leadership at City College of New York and received the Non-Profit Leader in Action recognition for her work at CHN. Southerland has also launched two successful small businesses, Candy by Lissa Southerland, and Chief Mommy Officer, offering services for moms trying to balance it all.
NYN: HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?
LS: Both of my parents are in the health care arena, so health care is sort of in my blood and has been since I was little. Originally when I first got into operations, I worked for a for-profit organization but felt like my time wasn’t really well-utilized, and I wanted to find a way to use my talent and my experience to give back, so I decided to move from for-profit into not-for-profit. That’s how I got into operations and I’ve been here since.
NYN: DESCRIBE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF.
LS: Most recently what I’m most proud of is my promotion. I started at HBA three years ago, and really have worked my way up the ranks here at CHN. I love what I do and I’m passionate about helping underserved populations, so I think to date that’s my biggest accomplishment. I would do this work even if I didn’t get paid for it, so being acknowledged for my hard work and dedication to not only the one site that I was working but being able to run multiple sites is a dream come true.
NYN: WHAT CHANGE WOULD MOST HELP THE INDIVIDUALS YOUR ORGANIZATION SERVES?
LS: There’s many things, but if I could think of one it would be on the policy side of things. Just making sure that is pushing forward when we’re trying to do all of the work that we’re doing for our patients. Because without that, it’s much harder to push things through.
NYN: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU RETIRE?
LS: I definitely will stay in health care operations, that’s my niche and I want to continue to move up. My ultimate goal is to be senior leader within an organization such as Community Healthcare Network, so definitely before I retire, my plan is to be on the VP or SVP level of an organization such as CHN.
NYN: WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR JOB?
LS: I would just want people to know we do this work because we’re passionate about it. We probably could go many other places and make tons more money and have lots of other perks, but we do it because we want to help our patients.