Sandra Fenwick is the Chief Executive Officer of Boston Children’s Hospital, where she leads a team of 20,000 people dedicated to improving and advancing child health through their life-changing work in clinical care, biomedical research, medical education and community engagement. Boston Children’s is ranked the number one pediatric hospital in the nation by US News and World Report, is home to the world’s largest pediatric research enterprise and is the leading recipient of pediatric research funding from the National Institutes of Health. We spoke with Sandi about her career path and advice she had to offer.
Find mentors that take you to new places
Sandi always loved science from middle school on, which led her to study biology and chemistry in college. But her life was changed at Harvard School of Public Health, where she was on the premed track, when she was able to do a field research project in Saudi Arabia. There she did lab work and worked with patients, doing clinical trial research, which proved to be great experience for her later career and confirmed her passion for the field.
She found her professors’ commitment to their work inspirational and many supervisors took her under their wing. People that pushed Sandi to take more risks, tackle new tasks, and go in different directions she hadn’t considered before were especially helpful in helping her find her path.
Importance of Balance
Sandi offered two pieces of advice. First, find your passion and then give it your all. Do the job with integrity, take measured risk, and make sure to explore and try new things. It is especially effective if you can advance yourself as well as your institution, and lead something important that will better society.
But beyond loving what you do, it is also important to find balance in life, with a life outside of work. Sandi is thankful to have found her husband of 45 years, two amazing children and now grandchildren and community of church and friends and advises others to develop a meaningful life outside of work.
Investing in Children is Investing in the Future
According to Sandi, she has the best job in the world at the Boston Children’s Hospital, an extraordinary institution improving the lives of children. She is in awe of the dedication, passion, and resilience of the people she works with every day and the opportunity to support direct patient care and advance the next generation of treatment. Sandi believes that healthy children make a healthy society, and the future of healthcare lies in investing in children.
Under Sandra Fenwick’s leadership, the Boston Children’s Hospital became a “place where the most difficult challenges are faced head on, where the impossible becomes possible, and where families in search of answers find them.” Click here to find ways to be involved with the hospital’s work.
MWF colleagues provide personal & professional support
Sandi credits Alison Taunton-Rigby with sponsoring her for MWF membership where she has joined a group of fellow women leaders who are helping shape the business, cultural, academic and civic leadership of Boston and beyond and who have been invaluable mentors, advisors and wonderful friends. C-suite roles can be isolating and lonely-MWF colleagues have provided personal and professional perspectives, support and sustenance.