Sharon R. Gabrielson, M.H.A., is a healthcare
executive with over 20 years of broad-based leadership experience in strategic and operational planning,
practice, quality improvement, outcomes, safety, and
service. She has held many positions within Mayo
Clinic, her most recent being chair of Mayo Clinic
Global Business Solutions, which extends Mayo Clinic
knowledge and expertise by delivering an integrated
portfolio of market-leading products and services to
meet the needs of people across the health spectrum—
and throughout their lives. She also is a member of
AMGA’s Board of Directors and is very active in the
Women in Leadership Council. Group Practice Journal
recently asked her about women in health care and the
challenges they face becoming leaders.
“Women bring different perspectives
and approaches to business, resulting in a more inclusive workplace
and often better performance for the
GPJ: According to report by PwC (Price Waterhouse
Coopers), the share of incoming women CEOs in the
world’s 2,500 largest public companies dropped to
2.8% in 2015, the lowest level since 2011. Among
healthcare companies, the rate was even lower at 1.6%.
What are your thoughts on the challenges of breaking
the glass ceiling for women in health care?
Gabrielson: Many believe that although it has been
slow, there has been progress made in breaking the
glass ceiling. This is a misperception. In reality, the percentage of chief executives of Fortune 500 companies
who are women is at 6.0%. That number has dipped
below 6.0% at times, but has NEVER passed 6.0%
since the Fortune 500 list was first published in 1955.
That’s not progress!
Earlier this year, The Rockefeller Foundation
GPJ: We know women make up a huge portion of the
funded its second annual study as part of its 100x25
campaign to increase the number of women CEOs at
Fortune 500 companies to 100 by 2025. That study
identified that “hurdles to female leadership are often
driven by company culture and the attitudes of men in
the workplace (the ‘boys club’), which play a major role
in the struggling number of women in top leadership
The healthcare C-suite is no different than non-
healthcare C-suites. The challenges are the same, and
if anything, there is greater disproportion, given the
number of women in the healthcare field.
healthcare workforce. Why do you think they are so
under-represented in the C-suite?
Working to Make It Happen
An Interview with Mayo Clinic’s Sharon R. Gabrielson, M.H.A.