Thrive October 2021

Page 39

Tonya Richard ,



Tonya Richard,

a Lake Charles native, always had an interest in healthcare, but she didn’t think it was the career path for her because of her fear of needles. Yet, fate found a way. After she attended McNeese State University and worked in the accounting and mortgage lending department of a local bank, she received a job offer in the accounting department of The Clinic (now Imperial Health). “This was an opportunity to work in health care on the administrative side in support of the clinical team – a perfect fit for me. I’ve been with Imperial Health for over 21 years now and have never looked back.” Since she first joined the group, Tonya has held several management positions with Imperial Health and was named Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2020. “As COO, I’m able to work with all of our departments and service lines, as well as a variety of clinical and nonclinical positions, giving me the opportunity to learn and grow daily,” she explains. “I’m often approached by people in our community who tell me how well Imperial Health physicians and staff take care of their healthcare needs. Knowing that I’m a part of the health and wellness of our community is very rewarding.” The challenges of providing health care in the 21st century are well-documented, and over the past 18 months, COVID-19, Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, Winter Storm Uri and a 1,000-year flood event brought a new level of challenge and uncertainty to Southwest Louisiana. “Having to adapt to reduced or partial closure of services due to COVID-19, shortage

of staff and the physical devastation from the hurricanes has been a real test, but I do believe these sort of challenges reinforce the strength of our community and our determination to recover our livelihoods. As the COO of a healthcare group, it was important for me to lead the recovery of our services as quickly as possible to meet the needs of our community.” Tonya says she is very fortunate to have a caring and understanding husband who fully supports her career. “We have one son who is now in graduate school, however during his early school years my husband and I agreed I would handle homework and he would handle everything else in our household. I did not miss out on many family events, but on the occasion I did, our son was always understanding as well, because his dad led by example. The mutual support and respect allowed me to have a healthy work life balance and grow to where I am today in my career. I’m very grateful to both my husband and son.”

Awards and Recognitions: • Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE), designation awarded by the American College of Medical Practice Executives, the certification entity of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Best Advice: Don’t give up! Find a healthy support system, don’t be too hard on yourself and keep moving forward. Woman Who Most Inspires You: My mother had a full-time career for over 37 years, and I learned from her the value of working hard in order to be strong and independent. Her example contributed to my drive and desire to have a successful career.

Groups and Community Service: • MGMA member • Chamber SWLA Board member • St. Louis Catholic High School Rebuilding Project Committee • MGMA Community Connect + Volunteer Calcasieu Community Clinic, volunteer

Consulting with Dr. Richard Gilmore


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