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Today, Flinn is the CEO of St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix, and Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital. But his path to the law and to his gratifying career as a leading health care executive was anything but a straight line. “My lifelong dream had been to be a police officer,” Flinn shared. “At that time, you had to wait until you were 21 before you could begin training to become an officer, so I decided that I would join the Marine Corps.” Flinn learned a lot as a Marine at the Beautfort Air Station in South Carolina, including the mental toughness and demands of being a Marine. But he still longed to be a police officer. He enrolled in criminal justice classes at nearby Beaufort Technical College (BTC), where a paper that he wrote drew the interest,

The Phoenix skyline

not only from his professor, but his professor’s wife. “My professor, Danny Crooks, was impressed with a report I had submitted,” remembered Flinn. “He even shared it with his wife, who was an attorney. She told him ‘This kid should go to law school!’” That one comment gave Flinn the confidence and belief in himself to turn his attention from law enforcement to a career in the legal profession.

Flinn, with his wife, Amy

While still enlisted in the Marine Corps, Flinn changed gears and enrolled at the University of South Carolina (USC) where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies. Following his graduation from USC, Flinn, a Greater Lansing native, returned to the area to start his legal journey at WMU-Cooley Law School. Flinn enjoyed law school and the intellectual challenge. He thrived on the National Trial Team and, in his senior year, clerked for then-Michigan Governor and Cooley graduate John Engler (Wing Class, 1982).

LEADERSHIP “I learned then that regardless of your ultimate goal, the rigors of going through law school, along with the relationships you make there, are invaluable and serve you for the rest of your life.” JIM FLINN



Benchmark | Winter 2016