Newsmakers – New Inova CEO jumps right in


The Boston Red Sox paper weight on Christine Candios desk betrays her shes not from here. But a key to the city of Medford propped against the bare office wall seems to say she should be here anyway.

Candio is the new CEO of Inova Alexandria Hospital. Along with her title, she brings success from a healthcare circuit not unlike Alexandrias a suburban system outside of Boston. But Candio, speaking with a Havad yad tinge, says she wants to dive deep into her new community along the Potomac.

People here have been so welcoming, Candio says. It feels right. Its a great fit.

Shes been on the job for less than a week and seems enveloped in her staff, which she visited during a two-hour stroll through the halls with the president of medical staff. They plan to do it every week.

I feel very strongly that the leader of an organization needs to be visible to the patients to staff, to the physicians and one very important way to do that is to get out there with the department as well as with the community, Candio says.

Its all about relationship-building. Thats been one of my strong suits in the past, and that includes the community. Before I even started, about a month ago, I came down and met with the mayor and the city planner. It was a great first meeting.

Aside from Bostons weather (Ice, snow, you can keep it!), Candio says there are subtler differences with which she needs to become more familiar, like local regulations regarding Medicaid and Medicare. But most of all, she wants to hit the ground running.

She is noticebly excited when talking about Inovas 2010 Project, a $92 million expansion and reconfiguration project already begun in 2003 that Candio says will improve services throughout the hospital and the community. Were moving in a very positive direction, she says.

The CEOs first order of business? Candio wants to take a deep dive and understand the operations. I know what the goals are, but its really important that you get in deep and understand the staffs and really get an understanding of their perspective.

Candios last outfit won the first ever chamber of commerce award for outstanding community service, even with big city Boston competition. She analogizes it to Alexandrias situation: Were right outside of the District, and in Medford, we were about 4 miles north of Boston, she says. So Im very versed and experienced in how to deal with that competition and really focus on the strengths of your organization and build on those strengths.