Female leaders share their tips for success

Our perspective Sustainability

At Encompass Health, women’s equality is a value that is embedded into our commitment to inclusion and diversity. With a workforce comprised of over 80% women, gender equality is an important aspect of Company operations. In fact, 40% of our executive leadership team are women; we also have five females who sit on our board of directors. 

We recently asked a few of these Encompass Health female leaders to share their experiences as well as challenges they have faced, and how Encompass Health has supported their careers. They also offered advice for women looking to grow their careers and take on a leadership role.

Barb Jacobsmeyer, EVP, president of inpatient hospitals 

“I joined Encompass Health in 2007 as the CEO of our hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, and I’ve had a lot of great opportunities to grow during my time with the company. During my early years, I was invited to join committees—including the very first inclusion and diversity committee—invited to join work groups, recommended to train as a CEO preceptor, requested to mentor struggling CEOs and more. This support has helped me grow not only personally but also professionally and ultimately led to me being tapped for several promotions along the way.

“My advice for women with a passion and desire to be in a leadership role is don’t look for the proverbial ‘work/life 50/50 balance.’ It will never exist. Find a personal balance. Some days require 150% of you at work and some days home requires that of you. In particular, healthcare is a 24/7 job and so is being a spouse and a mom. Work hard but take time for yourself and your family. No one can look after you like you can. Take the time for exercise, for vacation. If you take care of you, you will be better for everyone at home and work.”

April Anthony, CEO, home health & hospice

“Being a successful leader isn’t about gender; it is about character. To be a successful leader I believe you must truly care for your team members. When I say ‘care,’ I don’t simply mean to provide for or protect your team. To me, being a leader who cares means the following:

  • Communicate – be transparent, be honest and share frequently
  • Aspire and inspire – always strive to be your best and give your team the tools they need to join you
  • Resist – don’t lose your cool; always maintain self-control in the way you make decisions and in the way you communicate
  • Educate and analyze – know your stuff and train others to be able to answer their own questions

When you can be known for these four characteristics, you are well on your way to being a successful leader.”

Dawn Rock, chief compliance officer, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals

“The most valuable advice I’ve gotten in my career came from my former boss and mentor. I never saw her flustered, angry or emotional. Her presence was undeniable; she was always direct, strong, decisive. But I never heard her raise her voice or lose her temper, even in situations when it would have been understandable, if not warranted. After one particularly combative meeting, I commented on her herculean composure, and her response has been tattooed on my brain ever since: Powerful women don’t have to throw around their power.’ I’ve often shared the same advice with other women who are at the start of their careers, in hopes that it will have the same profound effect on them that it had on me. And I encourage them to define for themselves what ‘managing your power’ means and how it will manifest itself in their professional lives.”

Bridgette Brown, senior regional vice president of sales, home health & hospice

“When thinking about what it means to be a successful woman in leadership responsibility comes to mind. To me it means that I am responsible to be the example that I wanted to see in my leaders; I am responsible for having a clear vision of what success looks like and have a strategy to get others there; and I have a responsibility to demonstrate and encourage a culture that fosters inclusion and respect for other women in the workplace.

“The advice I would give to young women looking to gain leadership experience would be to have a clear vision for your career goals, because your success is your personal responsibility. Seek out mentors and sponsors, stay curious and commit to continuous learning. Lift while you climb; bring people along with you in your career journey. Believe in yourself, take care of yourself and trust that you belong.”

Encompass Health takes pride in the women who represent our Company, at all levels. From our clinical leaders within our hospitals and home health and hospice branches, to our Home Office leadership who help to drive growth and strategy, their contributions to our purpose of providing connected care and superior outcomes are paramount.

If you are interested in exploring leadership opportunities within our company, take a look at our current openings.