President & CEO
By Tara Kirkpatrick
Before she took the helm of Tucson Medical Center, Judy Rich helped architect a complete financial turnaround for the hospital, taking it from nearly $11 million in the red in 2007 to a surplus.
A registered nurse who became executive hospital administrator, Rich helped achieve the crucial turnaround in 2008 with shrewd staff cuts, renegotiating supply costs, restructuring debt and bolstering communication systemwide. A year later, she was named CEO.
Her steady leadership has since made TMC one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, a beacon of readiness.
“To be a good leader, you need to be a good listener,” said the 2020 Tucson Woman of the Year. “Really hear what your colleagues, your patients and your community are telling you and then make decisions based off of that. Secondly, always remember that you are there for your staff; if they feel seen, heard and appreciated, they will work harder and be happier doing it.”
This past year was surely a monumental test for the CEO of a hospital, caring for a barrage of COVID-19 patients, managing personal protective equipment for workers and collaborating with other area hospitals to best manage the regional spikes in cases. During all of that, Rich also served on the Pima County Back to Business steering committee and was chair of the Sun Corridor Inc. Chairman’s Circle.
“I’ve learned that it takes true teamwork and collaboration to get through something as monumental as a pandemic,” Rich said. “You can’t do it alone! Collaborating and working with other leaders in the community and in our organization to have a unified message and unified strategy has been paramount to getting us through all of this. You help each other, and you ask for help when you need it.”
Rich even created a school at TMC for staff children who struggled with online school and its mental toll, forcing their parents to choose whether to work or stay home with their kids. “I would say the lesson here is that you do what you can to be there for your staff when it is needed most,” she said.
“Judy is an outstanding leader,” said Joe Snell, Sun Corridor Inc. president and CEO. “She has tackled some of the biggest challenges of our time with focus and determination. Judy’s leadership during the pandemic has allowed us to fare better than most. I am thankful we have Judy Rich on our team.”