Topic for Discussion: Why Few Women Occupy Hospital C-Suites

By AAPL Staff
March 16, 2018

Cleveland Clinic regional hospital chief McKenzie to speak at AAPL Thought Leadership Symposium in April.

The divide between the number of women graduating from medical school today (about 50 percent) and those reaching hospital leadership positions (about 20 percent) is decidedly vast but not impossible to close.


Margaret McKenzie

Why the inequity?

“Mostly, it’s because women are coming to the table unprepared or else are afraid to toss their hat in the ring because they don’t feel like they have the right skill sets,” says Margaret McKenzie, MD, president of the Cleveland Clinic’s South Pointe Hospital in Warrensville, Ohio.

It’s a subject McKenzie will address during the American Association for Physician Leadership’s Thought Leadership Symposium, April 29 in Boston, Massachusetts. McKenzie will be a discussion leader during a women’s leadership forum, where the subject will be “Assessing Your Value Proposition as a Leader.”  

McKenzie, who grew up in Georgetown, Guyana, and immigrated to the United States at 18, began her ascension through the leadership ranks with the help of mentors and supervisors who recognized her passion and potential, then positioned her with opportunities to develop leadership skills. She answered by “demanding excellence in everything I did and being authentic about my mission no matter what.”

cpe 20


What: Physician Leadership Summit. Includes Spring Institute, Thought Leadership Symposium, celebration of CPE 20th anniversary, and more.

When: April 26-30

Where: Sheraton Boston Hotel. Call 1-888-627-7054 for hotel reservations.

Margaret McKenzie: On April 29, she will discuss the impact of physician engagement on bottom lines for CEOs during the Thought Leadership Symposium and address the Women’s Leadership Forum on “Assessing Your Value Proposition as a Leader.” Click here to register.

Summit information: 1-800-562-8088 or

A big part of that mission has been to pay it forward — to advocate for others as others have advocated for her throughout her career.

“One of my passions is developing physician leaders — developing leaders, period, but specifically physician leaders,” says McKenzie, whose aims to help women build confidence by helping them to identify and maximize their strengths.

“Part of our issue as women is that we have a lot of difficulty in viewing ourselves as we are being viewed by others,” McKenzie says. “As women, we are great at finding other people’s strengths, [but] we tend to view all of our strengths as weaknesses — or not good enough.”

McKenzie uses assessment tools to establish solid foundations for female leadership candidates by helping them understand their values, “because in doing your daily work, if you’re playing to your strengths, it gets noticed without much effort on your part.”

The objective, she says, is to “craft a goal and a vision, and then figure out what kind of experience they’re going to need to develop in order to put themselves in the place of the most potential for leadership.”

In another sessions earlier in the day, McKenzie will address how physician engagement produces results that impact bottom lines for CEOs.  

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