Nov 27, 2019, 2:41pm MST - Maureen Tarrant keeps a soft, clean diaper on her desk - one that's smaller than a business card - to remind her of some her patients.

Tarrant is the CEO of Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver. The hospital serves all needs, but specializes in blood cancer and includes the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. Some of the patients who are treated there spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit, hence the tiny diaper she keeps nearby.

"We do some of the most complex work that occurs in hospitals here," Tarrant told Denver Business Journal. For example, the medical center has the region's largest NICU with 84 beds and sees babies from 12 states.

Tarrant's path to hospital administration started with a realization: As a psychology major volunteering at a crisis intervention center, she came to the conclusion that counseling wasn't for her. She admired the people who did it, but she knew it wasn't her career.

"I looked at the executive director and thought, 'That's the path I want to go down.' I get to be with the caregivers but I'm doing the administration puzzle piece that's required." She changed her degree, eventually going to school in Boston for an MBA with the help of an employer's tuition reimbursement program.

Her administration career started on the marketing side for HealthOne. There, she was inspired while working on a building project that would eventually become Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree.

"During the journey, I thought I wanted to be CEO of this hospital, and my boss supported me."

Tarrant served as CEO of Sky Ridge from its opening in 2003 to 2014, before being appointed CEO of Presbyterian/St. Luke's and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

Tarrant is passionate about the careers of her employees. She said that she's worked at HealthOne hospitals long enough to see adult children of employees start to work for the organization themselves.

As a member of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce Board, she joined the Prosper Colorado committee, which aims to create economic opportunities for all residents, not just wealthy ones. It inspired her to have meetings with all 1,800 employees at Presbyterian/St. Luke's to discuss their career goals, which she will begin in 2020. To that end, she's also partnering with organizations like CareerWise Colorado and Guild Education.

"We want to create upward mobility, starting with our staff, to inspire them and support them," she said. She added that the hospital has a strong tuition reimbursement program, something she benefitted from earlier in her career.

"I don't know if I would have done it without tuition reimbursement," she said, adding that she's worked since the age of 14.

"Finding a company like this, that believed in me and gave me the opportunity to shadow other people, I want to pass on that message."

When she became CEO five years ago, she said one of her major goals was expanding relationships with physicians in the area. That goal continues today.

"Working with physicians is one of my favorite parts of the job," she said. Many of the physicians who work with Presbyterian/St. Luke's are top specialists in their field. In fact, one of her biggest inspirations comes from those doctors.

"I watch one of the transplant surgeons come through the library, with a cooler on wheels, knowing he's gotten off the plane with an organ," she said. "I watch him come through the lobby, knowing he's about to save the life of someone who is about to die. What do you say about that? It's incredibly humbling. Things like that happen here every day."

Music taste: Tarrant loves going to rock concerts and travels to see them. She's been to about 30 Steely Dan concerts.

Most prized possession: A John Elway-signed football. She's attended four Broncos Super Bowls.

Jensen Werley
Denver Business Journal