Allison Perry

Remaining “Chronically Curious” Key to Ann Smith’s Success

Published: Dec 17, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) – Though she acknowledges that “ambitious” is a valid descriptor, UK HealthCare Chief Administrative Officer Ann Smith says there’s a different term she’d use to describe how she’s developed her career path.

 

“I call myself ‘chronically curious,’” Smith said. “The word ‘ambitious’ sometimes carries a negative connotation – so I prefer ‘curious.’”

 

It’s her innate curiosity – and a willingness to try just about anything new – that took Smith from working as a hematology lab tech to one of the top administrative positions for UK HealthCare.

 

Originally from Tennessee, Smith’s family moved to Winchester when she was a teenager, and upon graduating from George Rogers Clark High School, she came to UK and majored in medical technology.

 

Technically, Smith says she began her UK career 40 years ago, when she served as a babysitter for a UK personnel director. From there, she started a more official form of temporary employment, working in the hospital’s human resources department during the summer of her junior year of college.

 

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Smith said she had worked out a plan: work in a lab at UK for three years to garner experience, then move back to her hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn.

 

“And then,” she says with a laugh, “I would slowly but surely move closer to the beach!”

 

However, she found herself staying in Lexington and taking on new challenges in the lab – even after being told by a supervisor that there would be no higher career path for her at UK. Whenever a new opportunity arose, Smith said she was always willing to jump in, whether it was trying a task she’d never done before, or simply offering a suggestion.

 

“I was always right there, ready to go,” she said.  “I was always willing to give things a shot.”

 

She moved up from a lab tech to the medical plaza’s lab supervisor, then on to lab administrative manager. Meanwhile, as UK’s medical center grew, new positions popped up. After then-CEO Joe Claypool created service line areas for the medical center, Smith took on the role of Director of Diagnostic Services, which involved overseeing the lab, radiology and special diagnostics areas and technology – just before the Y2K scare of 2000.

 

When her boss retired in 2001, he suggested that she should apply for his job. Smith was put off by the academic requirements of the position, which would require her to go back to school to earn a graduate degree. But she was prodded into action by one simple statement.

 

“He said, ‘Ann, not everyone chooses to limit themselves,” she said. “And so I started back to school a month later.”

 

Over the next five years – and two babies – Smith earned a masters degree in public administration with a concentration of classes in health care management. She moved up on the ladder again, accepting the role of Associate Hospital Director.

 

Then, as the plans for Pavilion A began in earnest, Smith says she was called into the office of Dr. Richard Lofgren, who was chief clinical officer at the time. With so much administrative focus on Pavilion A, another new position had been created, one with a senior-level focus on the day to day operations of the existing UK Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital. 

 

Smith accepted the job, becoming the interim Chief Administrative Officer in 2008 and formalizing the position in early 2009. Since then, her concentration has been on ways to keep the daily hospital operations running efficiently while still maintaining a personal touch in regards to patient care. In 2012, UK Good Samaritan Hospital was added to her responsibilities.

 

Fostering an environment that builds camaraderie between staff and respect and humanity between the patients and caregivers is very high on her list of priorities. She embraces change, especially any changes that may have a positive effect on patient care.

 

“The challenge is to not get stuck thinking, ‘It’s always been this way,’” she says, noting that she and her staff talk with colleagues at other major medical centers all across the country to share ideas.

 

Much has changed around campus in Smith’s time at UK – when she began her career, the UK medical center landscape looked very different. The UK Markey Cancer Center didn’t yet exist, nor did the Kentucky Clinic. There was no critical care tower at Chandler, and the VA hospital was only a few years old.

 

Looking forward, Smith said she’s eager to open up new floors of Pavilion A for patient care. As for what’s next in her own career path, Smith said she always keeps her mind open.

 

“Whenever I’ve been ready for an opportunity, UK has always provided one,’” she said. “That said, there are opportunities everywhere. One just needs a bit of curiosity!”

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or allison.perry@uky.edu

ann_smith_branded_photo.jpg
April
 
 
 
1
LNFS Presents: Inherent Vice
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Successful Networking & Job Search
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
The Arboretum presents a Party for the Planet! Celebrate Kentucky's Past
Mr. PharmD Pageant 2015
Wed
2
LNFS Presents: Manakamana
LNFS Presents: Donnie Darko
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
SEC-ACC Virtual Career Fair
Massage on the Go #3
Thu
3
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Fri
4
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sat
5
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Sun
6
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Age Friendly Community Panel
Resumes & Cover Letters that Work
Mon
7
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Tue
8
LNFS Presents: The Godfather
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
UK Remembers
SpeakBlue: Richard Sherman
Wed
9
LNFS Presents: The Shawshank Redemption
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
From Plows to Plates: A Journey Through Kentucky Foodways
Workshop on Publishing
Teached Documentary
Thu
10
LNFS Presents: Enemy
LNFS Presents: Seven Psychopaths
Cultural Coffee Hour
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Robert C. May Photography Endowment Lecture: Julian Cox
Fri
11
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
fab-ric-ate Exhibit
Sat
12
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Kentucky's Present - Learn about the Bluegrass region of the Walk Across Kentucky and about invasive plants that threaten Kentucky landscapes
Sun
13
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Get Your DIY On! Fix-It Station Demonstrations
Mon
14
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Job Club - LinkedIn: Your Job Search Best Friend
Tie Dye Tuesday
#UK Kick Butts Day
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 2 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 3 p.m.
Take Back the Night Lexington
Tue
15
LNFS Presents: The Godfather: Part II
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 11 a.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ Noon
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Affrilachian Poets
Bike-In Movie: The Bicycle Thieves
Wed
16
LNFS Presents: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
CANCELED: Bike-In Breakfast
Human Rights in China: a panel discussion
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: North by Northwest
LNFS Presents: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Cultural Coffee Hour
Car-Free Day
Performance Conference
Audience Appeals and Performing Assistance Conference
Holi: The Indian Festival of Colors
Fri
18
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Bully Breed Awareness Walk
Spring Carnival 2015
Taste of Africa
GAYla Drag Show and Silent Auction
Sat
19
 
Sun
20
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Floral Sculpture
Pinterest Party #3
Mon
21
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Student Center "Farewell" Informational Fair
Tour de Downtown Art
Tue
22
LNFS Presents: Birdman
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Healthy Smoothie Demonstration
Ping Pong Ball Drop
Shake the Stress Fest
Wed
23
LNFS Presents: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
LNFS Presents: The Avengers
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Wildcat Wrap-Up
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
Kentucky's Future - Plant a Tree in the Pennyrile region of the Walk Across Kentucky
Thu
24
LNFS Presents: Batman
LNFS Presents: O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Cultural Coffee Hour
Art in Bloom Weekend
Fri
25
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Network Publishing: Digital Writing in the Humanities
The Party for the Planet final event in April is Arbor Day at The Arboretum!
Art in Bloom Weekend
Raise the Chinese Dream in Kentucky
Art in Bloom Cocktail Party
Sat
26
Art in Bloom Weekend
Sun
27
Resumes & Cover Letters that Work
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Fuel for Finals
UK Ag Equine Programs Distinguished Lecture Series
Mon
28
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Be PAWsitive!
Job Club: How to Write the Perfect Resume and Cover Letter
Showcase of Undergraduate Scholars
How to Impress Your Boss: Employer Panel
Tue
29
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Appalachian Research Day
Wed
30
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Thu
 
 

Repeats every week until Thu Apr 30 2015 except Mon Mar 16 2015.
Mon, 04/27/2015

Mon, 04/27/2015

Repeats every week until Thu Apr 30 2015 except Tue Mar 17 2015.
Tue, 04/28/2015

Reset Page