Yale-New Haven Hospital CEO Encourages Graduates to ‘Work Smart’
Yale-New Haven Hospital CEO Encourages Graduates to ‘Work Smart’

by Jackie Hennessey
Communications and Public Affairs Writer/Editor

In her keynote address during Winter Commencement on Jan. 18, Marna Borgstrom, president and CEO of the Yale New Haven Health System and CEO of Yale-New Haven Hospital, said success doesn’t come simply from working hard.

Borgstrom’s advice to the 179 undergraduates and 235 graduates receiving their degrees: work hard but also work smart.

Borgstrom, who was recovering from surgery, was not able to attend Commencement. In her place, Kevin Myatt, a member of the University’s Board of Governors and Borgstrom’s colleague at the Yale New Haven Health System, shared her address.

Kevin Myatt, a member of UNH's Board of Governors, delivers Marna Borgstrom's address as part of Winter Commencement.

“When you walk, don’t meander,” Borgstrom wrote in her prepared remarks. “Chart out your pathway and follow it with deliberation but also with reflection throughout your career. When you speak, don’t mutter. Proclaim your passion and commit to seeing it through. Read your environment, examine it, process it and understand its cues.”

The way to read those cues in a world of white noise and constant bombardment from new technologies is to step away from the screen, put down the phone and engage with people face to face, she said.

“Don’t ignore technology, but use it to supplement your recognition and understanding of the power and importance of human emotion,” Borgstrom urged.

Borgstrom, who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration degree, began her career at the hospital as a post-graduate fellow more than three decades ago and held a variety of staff and senior management positions before becoming CEO. She has won numerous awards for her commitment to the Greater New Haven community.

Each day, she said, she sees the power of an individual – and the power of a personal connection – when she watches the work of Yale physicians, nurses and therapists. “As an optimist, I believe strongly in the ability of individuals to have a positive impact on the people that surround them,” she said. “Don’t turn a deaf ear to suffering and injustice. Listen for the opportunity to become involved.”

As part of the ceremony, honorary doctorates also were awarded to William Chowanec `70, a member of the Board of Governors and an entrepreneur and business executive with more than 35 years of expertise in the manufacturing industry, and Gordon Edelstein, the award-winning artistic director of Long Wharf Theatre.

Zani Imetovski `14, president of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, encouraged the graduates to set aside self-imposed limits to accomplish the extraordinary. “Like the time four and a half decades ago when our grandparents’ eyes looked to a far reaching sky, and, after hard work and dedication, watched as man stepped foot on the moon, simultaneously eliminating all preconceived notions of what was possible,” he said. 

Teshia Randall ’14 M.S., vice president of the Graduate Student Council, told the graduates that their efforts will pay off throughout their lives as employees, mothers, fathers, supervisors or CEOs.

“If you have not already, you will soon discover that the long process and sacrifices were worth every penny, every tear, every report, every Blackboard discussion, every email to a professor,” Randall said. “Use the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired and the networks and contacts you’ve developed to your advantage. Charge out into the great unknown with a purpose.”

View photos from Winter Commencement.

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