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Rhea Morrison, senior director of network operations, St. Luke’s Health Partners

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Rhea Morrison loves a challenge. She thrives on bringing order to complex situations.

George Beauregard, chief physician executive at St. Luke’s Health Partners, has seen Morrison in her element.

Rhea Morrison. Photo by Pete Grady.

Rhea Morrison. Photo by Pete Grady.

“I consider Ms. Morrison my ‘Swiss Army Knife’ – a versatile and flexible leader responsible for a range of activities, from network strategy development to daily operations,” Beauregard said in a letter of recommendation. “She is a skilled, savvy, calm and smart business professional whom I depend on to support St. Luke’s Health Partner’s mission of improved care at better cost.”

The website for the iconic Swiss Army Knife says the product “embodies functionality, quality and innovation.”

Those are all qualities that Morrison embraces.

“I told (Beauregard) that was the best compliment I have ever gotten from anybody,” Morrison says.

Morrison’s functionality and innovation have been on display throughout her career, even though her career path had some surprises in its early stages.

“I fell into health care,” Morrison says. “That was not originally my plan. I was intending to pursue marketing, but I fell into health care by accident. I figured out pretty quickly that was the place I wanted to be.”

State University, Morrison started her career as a new patient and marketing coordinator for a local orthodontist. Eventually, she had performed almost every role in that office – and others in the area.

“I needed more to challenge me. So I would go to new providers in town and I would set up their office, set up their billing plans,” Morrison says. “I did everything to get them up and running from an operational perspective and making sure they were getting off on the right foot.”

Eventually, however, Morrison found herself seeking another opportunity.

“I really need a challenge, and I have a tendency to gravitate toward things that need to be restructured, built, created or improved,” she says. “Once I get things up and running and humming along really well, I tend to get bored.”

And so, in 1998, Morrison took a new position with St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center. Since then, she’s taken on several new roles and challenges – willingly.

Prior to her current position as the senior director of network operations at St. Luke’s Health Partners she served as a director in two different areas of St. Luke’s Physician Services and two other management positions. She has also earned her MBA.

“I’m always up for a challenge,” Morrison says. “I enjoy challenges. So it’s been kind of fun.”

Speaking of fun, Morrison currently loves nothing more than watching her two boys compete in their various athletic endeavors (her daughter, Alexa, is 24 and lives out of state). Cameron, 15, is a freshman at Bishop Kelly. Drew, 11, is a fifth-grader at Hidden Springs Elementary.

“I’m a good cheerleader,” Morrison says. “Most of my summer is spent driving or flying to different lacrosse tournaments. We plan our family vacations around lacrosse tournaments.”

Like a good Swiss Army Knife, she makes it work.

About Chris Langrill