AdventHealth Seeks to Empower Women, 77 Percent of Its Workforce

Strategic efforts help create opportunities for them to connect and support each other.

AdventHealth, for Southern Tidings
AdventHealth Seeks to Empower Women, 77 Percent of Its Workforce
Jessica Brazier (right), AdventHealth chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer and vice president of people strategy and sustainability, presents Sheryl Moorhead with the Woman of Courage Award. [Photo: AdventHealth]

With 77 percent of AdventHealth’s workforce made up of women, the organization has made strategic efforts to create opportunities for women to connect and support one another.

One manifestation of those efforts is “The Joy Project” — a women’s leadership forum led by female executives and focused on nurturing women’s growth, development, and well-being. The forum is dedicated to fostering an environment that enables current and aspiring executive women leaders to maximize their full potential and achieve personal and professional goals.

Olesea Azevedo, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at AdventHealth, and Amanda Maggard, chief executive officer at AdventHealth Celebration, serve as co-executive sponsors of the forum. Jessica Brazier, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer and vice president of people strategy and sustainability at AdventHealth, and Sheila Rankin, chief executive officer at AdventHealth Kissimmee, are also part of the steering committee along with several other women leaders at AdventHealth, bringing representation from across the AdventHealth system.

A main component of the forum is an event that takes place several times throughout the year where the women leaders of AdventHealth, both in person and online, can connect, share information, and participate in networking opportunities. In 2022 and 2023, the overarching theme for the meetings was “Women of Vision.” In January 2024, in the final meeting of the “Women of Vision” series, leaders in attendance received a master class in strategic planning and execution from Vickie White, AdventHealth chief brand and consumer officer.

Vickie White, AdventHealth chief brand and consumer officer, speaks to the forum attendees on strategic planning and execution. [Photo: AdventHealth]

The forum also supports a culture where women leaders can thrive and succeed by ensuring the recruitment, development, and career advancement of contributing leaders.

“This past year, we started our mentoring program, allowing women leaders in the forum to ask mentors on the next phase of their careers,” Brazier said. “Many women often think there’s a ceiling once they have children or start a new chapter of life. But we want to let them know that we want to work with them to make their dreams possible, whatever that looks like.”

With local chapters across the system, this culture of support and mentorship exists beyond the forum event days and creates a deeper connection among both men and women leaders at AdventHealth. “I’ve had several wonderful mentors, both men and women,” Maggard said. “That’s something special at AdventHealth. It’s not just women looking out for women, but the organization as a whole is committed to helping everyone grow.”

The mentorship program speaks to the intentionality behind AdventHealth’s commitment to building a pipeline of women leaders. “It’s not enough to talk about women in leadership; there needs to be a pathway to create new women leaders,” Rankin said.

The women’s leadership forum recognizes and celebrates the individuals who embody this commitment through the Woman of Courage Award. This award was established by the AdventHealth Women’s Leadership Forum in 2021 to honor one or more AdventHealth women each year who have shown leadership, courage, resourcefulness, and willingness to sacrifice for others — especially in supporting other women to maximize their full potential and achieve professional and personal goals.

In addition to the mentorship program, the forum provides access to online resources to encourage the continued growth of leaders, including TED Talks, Harvard Business Review articles, and more.

AdventHealth leaders explained that the Joy Project is just one way the women executive leaders at AdventHealth are taking a proactive approach. Women are now seeking “to join hands with other women in leadership and move forward together in reaching their full potential both professionally and personally.”

The original version of this story was posted on Southern Tidings.

AdventHealth, for Southern Tidings