Carolyn Caldwell is an inspirational women leader in Greater Palm Springs, and a strong supporter of Women Leaders Forum. As the president and chief executive officer for Desert Regional Medical Center, she oversees the area’s only level II trauma center and region’s only neonatal intensive care unit. Carolyn serves on the board of trustees for the American Hospital Association a national organization that represents close to 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 40,000 individual members. In addition, Carolyn Caldwell serves on the board of the Desert AIDS Project in Palm Springs. Under her leadership, Desert Regional Medical Center became the lead sponsor of Get Tested Coachella Valley.
Kate Buckley: Carolyn, where are you from originally, and what brought you to the Palm Springs area?
Carolyn Caldwell: I grew up in Alabama, and as a health care executive, lived in Dallas and the Kansas City area. I came to Palm Springs three years ago to be the Chief Executive Officer at Desert Regional Medical Center.
KB: Congratulations on both your career and philanthropic achievements and on receiving the prestigious WLF Inspiration Award. Can you tell me about any mentors or role models who were instrumental to you in your journey?
CC: I’ve had numerous mentors throughout my career. There were two female executives in the 1990s that I admired and who spent a lot of time mentoring me as a young female executive. My first CEO, James Warren, who promoted me from a Laboratory Director to a Chief Operating Office continues to be a mentor as well as a friend.
KB: What do you personally see as your legacy for future women leaders?
CC: I’m excited about the young female leaders I’ve been privileged to work with and mentor. I encourage them to have courage and be mindful of their professional brand.
KB: What do you believe is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
CC: My greatest strength is my ability to multitask with perfection which in turn drives strategic results. My greatest weakness is that I tend to drive myself too hard at times.
KB: What does a typical day look like for you?
CC: I typically work between 12 – 14 hours per day if you count the early morning and late night meetings. I never work less than a 10 hour day.
KB: You do quite a bit of work for some very important causes (among them the Desert AIDS Project). Which cause is closest to your heart and why?
CC: I would have to say that the work I do with Desert AIDS Project is near and dear to my heart because of the passion and the compassion of the entire team at DAP and the wonderful board members I have the opportunity to work with. I’m a result orientated individual and it is rewarding seeing the positive impact that DAP under the leadership of David Brinkman the CEO is having on the community.
KB: When you’re not hard at work, what activities do you enjoy in and around Greater Palm Springs?
CC: I enjoying spending time with my husband Daniel, walking, hiking or just hanging out at one of our favorite restaurants.
KB: Are there any upcoming Palm Springs events you’re particularly excited about or would like for our readers to know about?
CC: I’m extremely excited about the 2016 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala. I will be receiving the 100 Women Award and I feel extremely honored to receive such this award especially given some of the amazing women who have received this distinction in the past like Helene Galen, Terri Ketover and Annette Bloch. The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala has raised millions of dollars since 1995 for client services at Desert Aids Project.
KB: Carolyn Caldwell, what is it you love most about the community of Palm Springs?
CC: I would have to say the beauty and the people. Palm Springs is an absolutely beautiful place to live and I never grow tired of watching the sunrise or the beautiful mountains. I also have to mention that Daniel and I have made some of the most amazing friends during our short three years living in the Desert.
I am delighted to see such an apparently qualified woman as CEO of DRMC. As a former volunteer, 1995-2005, I well remember a former CEO who qustioned the point of my being a volunteer after I complained about a very rude neurosurgeon when I answered incoming calls for one of the ICU units. The then volunteer coordinator ignored my concerns completely. My expectation is that this situation has improved since her departure and that of the CEO. Nursing staff in ICU told me this doctor was routinely verbally abusive to everyone.