By nearly every metric, Linda Hunt is a successful businesswoman who rose through the ranks from nurse to overseeing Dignity Health Arizona, which includes St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and several other large medical facilities.

However, Hunt’s journey to success is no accident.

With purpose and passion driving everything she does, it is easy to see why a room full of ambitious professionals gathered to hear her speak at a recent Professional Women’s Alliance luncheon.

Her keys to success include recognizing past experience, persevering in the face of injustice and pursuing continuous growth.

Hunt contributes parts of her success to her upbringing in the southern United States. There she quickly learned that to be successful she had to learn lessons and listen to a wide variety people. Her past helped shape her goals and passion for helping others.

PWA Linda Hunt

Moderator Kimberly Hall (left) and Linda Hunt (right)

Years of climbing the ladder at a hospital in Colorado provided Hunt so much insight, knowledge and experience that when the hospital’s CEO quit, she and a male counterpart both applied for the position. Although this occurred in the late ‘90s, hospital leadership told her that while she was qualified for the position, the organization was not ready for a woman as its top executive.

Despite the fact that she was discriminated against and likely had a solid cause for legal action, Hunt had to decide whether pressing forward with a lawsuit was worth the damage it would do to her career. Hunt chose her career.

“Sometimes things happen for a reason, when one door closes another one opens and usually that’s the better door,” Hunt said.

Despite that apparent setback, Hunt persevered and accepted a position in Arizona with St. Joseph’s Hospital shortly thereafter, where she was eventually promoted in 2011 to oversee all of Dignity Health Arizona.

In a rare episode of appropriate karma, the man the hospital hired over Hunt was let go after a mere six months on the job, and the organization reached out to Hunt to offer her the position. However, Hunt was not moved by the organization’s offer. She turned it down.

“I can’t come back, I didn’t have the sex change operation,” Hunt said to her former employer.

Hunt also revealed that she is always looking for ways to improve how she does things, even with simple tasks. She said she knows 50 unique routes to get home from the office because there’s always a better solution.

“Boredom was my enemy and I had to keep growing,” Hunt said.

She challenges professionals to step outside of traditional roles to see the bigger picture and get better results. Hunt says the type of listening that yields the best results involves setting aside your own notions to truly determine what problems exist and what solutions are suggested by others.

In any industry it’s hard to stop what you’re doing and celebrate an accomplishment. Hunt knows it can be especially hard in the health care field where there is always something else to get done, but she finds a way to celebrate success – big or small – in some way.

“Be your own cheerleader,” Hunt said. “No one is going to cheer for you like you would.”

–written by Alexie Chavez, marketing coordinator.

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