2024 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award Winner Announced!

Cathy Jacobson Named Recipient of NCHL’S 2024 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award

CHICAGO, IL, July 13, 2024 – The National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) is thrilled to announce that Catherine (Cathy) Jacobson, former chief executive officer of Froedtert ThedaCare Health, Inc., Milwaukee, has been selected as the distinguished recipient of the 2024 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award. This award has been steadfast in honoring healthcare leaders for 19 years, recognizing their unwavering commitment, exceptional values, and remarkable contributions that have significantly improved the health of the public through their exceptional leadership and organizational excellence.

“Cathy Jacobson has exemplified outstanding leadership throughout her career, creating inclusive environments that reflect the diverse communities they serve. Her vision, commitment, and achievements to creating accessible and quality care in the Midwest embodies the values celebrated by the Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award. Cathy drove healthcare innovation and community wellness while making time to mentor and develop rising leaders.  She is well deserving of this remarkable honor,” said Jill Schwieters, NCHL Board Chair.

Jacobson joined Froedtert Health in 2010 as executive vice president of finance and strategy, chief financial officer and chief strategy officer. She was promoted in 2011, becoming President and in 2012, she assumed the CEO role.  Prior to joining Froedtert Health, Jacobson spent 22 years at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago in various leadership roles. Froedtert Health combined with ThedaCare in January 2024 forming a $6B regional healthcare system.

The Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award is named in honor of Gail L. Warden, the renowned founding chairman of NCHL, president emeritus of Henry Ford Health System, and one of the foremost leaders in the healthcare industry. This award recognizes Warden’s extraordinary accomplishments as a trailblazer in healthcare delivery, community wellness, health policy, and as a mentor and inspiration to future generations. It is a testament to his enduring legacy and leadership.

“It is an extreme honor to be selected as a recipient of an award named after a health care industry legend,” said Jacobson. “While my name may appear on the award, this is a testament to a team of thousands who worked in pursuit of achieving the highest level of quality attainable – a passion that will continue well after my retirement. I am grateful to our team for pushing themselves and me to do better and be better, all because we believe the people we serve deserve the very best.”

To commemorate her outstanding achievements, Jacobson will be formally presented with this prestigious award and honored during the esteemed NCHL’s 2024 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award Celebration. This highly anticipated event will take place on Tuesday, November 19, 2024, against the picturesque backdrop of Lake Michigan at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

“Cathy Jacobson isn’t fazed by change—she knows it’s key to enhancing patient care and community well-being. Under her leadership, Froedtert Health’s commitment to sourcing from diverse suppliers is exceeding expectations, driving economic empowerment and impacting public policy through strategic partnerships. Cathy’s proactive and innovative approach is addressing the root causes of health disparities in communities across Wisconsin. She is continually working to improve the healthcare landscape, as evidenced by her service on numerous national boards and as the current Vizient board chair,” said Byron Jobe, CEO at Vizient and one of the nominators of Jacobson for the award.

The NCHL formally invites all those who wish to celebrate this momentous achievement, to join us at the 2024 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award Celebration, the evening of Tuesday, November 19, 2024.

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About the National Center for Healthcare Leadership: NCHL is the leader in advancing evidenced-based leadership practices to drive quality care and improved outcomes. Through its three premier membership programs, including the Leadership Excellence Networks (LENS), US Cooperative of International Patient Programs (USCIPP) and National Council on Administrative Fellowships (NCAF), members are supported through collaboration, education, and research. These member benefits serve as a catalyst for organizations to find and apply leadership solutions that drive achievement of organizational goals as they pursue organizational excellence. Learn more about NCHL at www.nchl.org.