Women In Healthcare Leadership

About Us

Women in Healthcare Leadership (WiHL) is a leadership development organization, and education summit opportunity.  With the renewed spotlight on the low number of women in healthcare leadership roles, and the need to develop the next generation of leaders, WiHL is bringing healthcare leaders together for an annual event to connect, develop, and advance. 

Inspired by the women’s leadership movement that came out of Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In”, Women in Healthcare Leadership was founded to provide leaders in healthcare the networking opportunities and professional development tools and education that, when combined with passion, drive and desire, will lead to personal and professional development for Women in Healthcare.  

Our goal is to inspire and motivate individuals to make a meaningful difference by discovering and maximizing their strengths, building new competencies, strengthening their network, and building the confidence needed to continuously strive for greater success.

Our goal is to create an environment that fosters strong business relationships through a network of resources that are aligned around similar goals and objectives for achieving success in the ever changing Healthcare market.


To provide leaders in healthcare access to networking opportunities and professional development tools and education that, when combined with passion, drive and determination, will lead to greater success and fulfillment. 

Advisory Board

Lisa Mathews

2014 Chairperson

Lisa Mathews is the Director of Business Development for Berkeley Research Group (BRG) and is responsible for Business Development for the Healthcare Performance Improvement practice. She has over 20 years’ experience in the Healthcare Industry with a concentration in Customer Relationship Management, Business Development, and Marketing. 


She is passionate about development and helping others achieve their goals. She is an advocate for the “value of volunteerism” and is actively involved in several organizations. Lisa serves on the Board for the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Florida Chapter as the Director of Statewide Education/Program Chair for 2014/2015. She served on the Advisory Board for the inaugural WiHL event and is involved in other Healthcare and charitable organizations.


Committee Members:



Roxann Arnold

Director of Patient Financial Services, Emory Healthcare

 As director of Patient Financial Services at Emory Healthcare and employed in the Emory system for more than 37 years, Roxann Arnold has seen her share of change!  From manual charge posting and hand-assembly of monthly billing to today’s electronic claims adjudication and pre-certification – the world of patient accounting and admissions evolved tremendously since she started working part-time in many different business office functions during high school and teaching vacations.

Roxann was nominated to Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s Woodruff Leadership Academy (WLA). Roxann’s leadership is known as a real strength at Emory Healthcare,  her management skills and industry knowledge often responsible for her being asked to join, or lead, a variety of hospital and system projects. 


Abby Birch, Founder

Director of Client Development, Advanced Patient Advocacy (APA

Abby Birch is the Director of Client Development for Advanced Patient Advocacy (APA), a company specializing in Eligibility Enrollment and Patient Navigation.  Her passion and enthusiasm for the healthcare industry and a belief that women leaders can change the world led Abby to collaborate with a talented group of women to found WiHL, a leadership development organization.  Abby’s professional leadership experience was developed through volunteer organizations such as Florida HFMA and AAHAM.


Abby graduated from the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!) and is a member of the South Florida UCF Alumni Chapter.  She is married to the man of her dreams and in her spare time Abby is learning espanol.


Alice Childs

Business Development Executive, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

Alice serves as a Business Development Executive for Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, joining the firm in September 2014. Her responsibilities include advancing growth and business objectives, and for creating and recognizing opportunities for meaningful visibility for attorneys and the firm in the marketplace. Prior to joining Nelson Mullins, Alice briefly served as Regional Business Development Executive for AMCOL Systems, and before that enjoyed eight years with the national healthcare practice of Dixon Hughes Goodman, DHG Healthcare. As a professional in a business development and marketing role, her responsibilities have included creating, leading and implementing strategic marketing, communications and business development initiatives to help expand, develop and retain a client base.


Throughout Alice’s tenure at Dixon Hughes Goodman, she led development of client focused relationship enhancing initiatives, represented the firm at numerous industry trade events and executive summits, leveraged her roles on numerous committees/industry associations, and developed several initiatives to increase efficiencies across the practice.


Karen Dillard

VP Business Development at Healthcare Payment Specialists, LLC

Karen Dillard, VP of Business Development, has over 20 years in healthcare experience with a heavy emphasis in revenue cycle and finance.  Karen has led by managing staff and relationships in the Southeast region.  She is active many associations and has held chair positions in multiples HFMA chapters.  In her spare time she loves spending time with her husband, Ronnie of 28 years on the lake, reading, and spending time with her grandchildren.


Cathy Dougherty, FHFMA

Vice President of Revenue Cycle Management, Gwinnett Health System

Cathy Dougherty, FHFMA, is the Vice President of Revenue Cycle Management at Gwinnett Health System in Lawrenceville, GA, where she has been employed since 1990.   She is currently responsible for the system’s revenue cycle operations, and has been employed in healthcare revenue cycle management for 30 years.  Cathy has been a speaker in the healthcare revenue cycle area in many venues over the years.

Cathy is a Certified Healthcare Professional (CHFP) and a Fellow in HFMA.  She served as the 2005-2006 President of the Georgia Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and represents Region 5 as the Regional Executive   for National HFMA.  In 2012 the Georgia Chapter of HFMA recognized Cathy’s service and love for mentoring by naming an award in her honor:   “ The Cathy H. Dougherty Distinguished Mentoring Award”.


Karen Fry

Chief Operating Officer, Parallon Business Solutions

Karen Fry currently holds the position of Chief Operating Officer for Parallon Business Solutions in Largo Florida, managing revenue cycle operations for 25 hospitals.  Karen started her career in healthcare in the early 80’s working for National Medical Enterprises now known as Tenant Healthcare and later directed operations for revenue cycle centers in Washington DC, New Orleans Louisiana, and St Louis Missouri.  Prior to her work with Tenant Healthcare, she worked for Sisters of Mercy Healthcare to plan, open and operate a multi-facility revenue cycle center in the mid 90’s giving her experience on the non-profit side of healthcare.

Karen received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Management from the

University of Phoenix.  She is currently on the National Advisory Council for the Healthcare Financial Management Association and was awarded the designation of Fellow in that organization in 2005. She is a Past President of the Florida HFMA Chapter, works as an advisor to the current Board of Directors and is Chair for the Revenue Cycle Forum.


She is very involved in community activities and is a past Chairman of the Board for the Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce.


She enjoys golf, running and travel.


Brook Jefts

Regional Vice-President, Parallon

Brook has more than 18 years of experience as a sales and marketing executive and has worked with academic medical centers, community hospitals, and many of the nation’s largest healthcare systems.  She is a Regional Vice-President at Parallon, a leading provider of revenue cycle and consulting services, workforce management, IT, group purchasing and supply chain solutions.  Brook is currently responsible for sales and marketing in the eastern United States for the revenue cycle services division.  Prior to joining Parallon, Brook founded a healthcare consulting company and was a Regional Vice-President at NCO Financial Systems, Inc. (now Expert Global Solutions). 

Brook has been involved with the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) since 1999.  She earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Georgia Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications and recently moved back to Athens, Georgia with her husband of 10 years and their three young children.      


Ann-Marie Knight

Operations Administrator at Mayo Clinic & President of N. Florida ACHE

Ann-Marie serves as an Operations Administrator, Mayo Clinic, President, North Florida Chapter ACHE, Adjunct Faculty, Department of Public Health, University of North Florida and retired from the US Navy after 24 years of service. Her areas of responsibility include; Critical Care Medicine, Hospital Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Pharmacy and Respiratory Therapy.  
Ann-Marie earned her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Baylor University and an Undergraduate Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Florida and possesses over 12 years of healthcare management experience. She is board certified as a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.


Cindy Kushner

Partner, Crowe Horwath LLP

Cindy Kushner, a Partner with Crowe Horwath LLP (a top 10 accounting firm) has been in the accounting profession for 30 years, 25 of which with Big 4 accounting firms.  As a tax partner in Crowe Horwath’s healthcare practice Cindy serves private, publicly held, private equity owned, and not-for-profit healthcare systems, pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, physician practice management companies, nursing homes, cooperatives, and technology and manufacturing companies.  Cindy manages several tax outsourcing engagements and has extensive experience with mergers and acquisitions, tax structuring for global and multi-state companies, accounting periods and methods, debt restructuring and recapitalization; including experience with apportionment planning and tax efficient supply chain planning. Cindy has been a speaker for the Tax Executive Institute (TEI), HFMA, WEL, FICPA, and firm-sponsored conferences.

Women Executive Leadership (WEL), is an extension of Cindy's passion to advocate, educate and connect accomplished women which is precisely the reason she founded this not-for-profit organization in 1999.  WEL helps companies more easily identify female board and executive ready candidates, helps women more easily assess the search opportunities, and helps train them. In addition to serving as Chairman and founder of WEL, she currently serves as a board member for InterOrganization (ION), board member and officer for Florida Health Financial Management Association (HFMA),  serves on the Advisory Board of National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) South Florida, and the governance committee of United Way of Broward County. Cindy is a member of the AICPA; FICPA; and served on the FICPA Mobility Task Force. She has been a mentor in the Women of Tomorrow program for many years, and has served on various charitable and professional committees and Boards.

Cindy has been married for 28 years and has 2 sons, one a junior at University of Michigan, and a junior in high school.


Karen Newton

Director of Third Party Reimbursement, Clinton A. Harkins, P.C.

Karen Newton is the Director of Third Party Reimbursement for Clinton A. Harkins, P.C. where she has been employed for 15 years. With 35 years of hospital financial experience, she has held the positions of Admission Supervisor, Manager of Patient Accounts and Director of a Centralized Business Office responsible for nine (9) Long Term Acute Care Facilities located in the Eastern half of the United States.  Karen has been active with Georgia Chapter of HFMA for 22 years and the 2011 – 2012 Past President of the Georgia Chapter. Karen is the recipient of the Follmer Bronze, Reeves Silver, Muncie Gold Merit Award and the recipient of The Medal of Honor award.   


Elizabeth Richards

Attorney, Clinton A. Harkins, P.C.

 Elizabeth Richards is an attorney with Clinton A. Harkins, P.C. She recieved her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Georgia in 2003. She completed her Juris Doctor, also from the University of Georgia, in 2006. In her capacity as an attorney for Clinton A. Harkins, P.C., she represents multiple hospital clients around the state in issues regarding Third Party Reimbursement. Her expertise includes hospital liens, workers compenstation, insurance appeals, hospice, RAC appeals, and other complex reimbursement matters. 


Cheryl Spanier

Client Services Manager at MDS

As the Client Services Manager of MDS (Medical Data Systems, Inc.), Cheryl works closely with the implementation, sales and client service teams. She is the point of contact for facility/client personnel on all things system or I.S. related. She has worked for, and represented MDS for 6 years. Prior to MDS, Cheryl was the Sales & Marketing Director for BCC overseeing sales representatives and marketing division.

Cheryl has 14 years healthcare experience, and is an active member of the Florida Chapter of HFMA. She is on the Strategic Planning Committee and is the Session Coordinator for 2011 – 2013 terms. She is Co-Chair of Communications for South Florida HFMA Region of Education. In Addition, Cheryl is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and a member of Women Executive Leadership (WEL).


Diane Story

Director, Revenue Cycle Improvement Roper St. Francis Healthcare

 Diane Story is the Director of Revenue Cycle Improvement for Roper St Francis Healthcare in Charleston, SC.   In this role, she is responsible for identifying, analyzing, and implementing projects that directly impact cash collections, process improvement, cost reduction and/or revenue generation.  Her primary responsibilities currently include Project Manager for the ICD-10 Transition and implementation of a Business Process Management (BPM) tool to streamline processes and increase efficiency.  Prior to joining Roper St Francis Healthcare, Diane was a consultant with Ernst & Young and IDX, as well as Director of Eastern Business Service Centers for Olsten Health Services (presently Gentiva).


Diane has been on the Board of Directors of the SC Healthcare Financial Management Association since 2006, and has held several Committee Chair and Officer positions, including Chapter President in 2012-2013.  Diane has a Bachelor of Science and Masters Degree in Health Administration from the University of New Hampshire.  


Estelle Welte

Senior Vice President of MDS

As the Senior Vice President of MDS (Medical Data Systems, Inc.), Estelle works in conjunction with the COO, to oversee the day to day Operations and Management of MDS. She has direct oversight of the Sales, Business Development, Marketing, and Advertising aspects of the company, and has worked for, and represented MDS in the healthcare market for over 12 years.  Prior to MDS, she held healthcare and business office leadership positions, including Central Business Office Director.  

Estelle has 25 years healthcare experience, and currently serves on two boards (MDS, SC Chapter of HFMA).  Estelle has been involved with HFMA for 18 years and has held numerous leadership roles, and is their current Secretary.  In addition Estelle is a member of the Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Healthcare Industry Foundation (WBL), a member of Women Executive Leadership (WEL), an Advisory Council Member of the Advisory Board for Health Administration for Colorado Tech, and a member of the Junior League of Indian River.