BJSPH/PWH president Chris Watts addresses Young Professionals group at recent town hall
Young professionals and young at heart team members from across BJC recently attended a town hall meeting held by the Young Professionals Connection group. Chris Watts, Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Progress West Hospital president, was the event’s guest speaker.
One of the youngest hospital presidents at BJC, Watts answered questions from the group and shared insights as to what has helped him get to this position in his career.
“My mother is a nurse, so I grew up around a hospital and saw firsthand the passion that health care workers have,” Watts said. He had originally set his sights on studying to become a doctor, but after discovering that he and chemistry classes didn’t get along, he pursued a business degree with a concentration in health sciences.
Watts started his BJC career as an administrative fellow at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and quickly advanced into leadership roles as associate administrator and then director of ambulatory services at BJH. Before being named president of BJSPH and PWH, he was vice president of planning and construction for BJC.
When asked by the group what characteristic or trait has been most influential in helping him in his career, Watts stressed the importance of being humble.
“I believe humility is essential for leaders,” he told the group. “I’ve led teams of RNs with years of clinical experience that I didn’t have. I had to quickly learn what I could bring to the table without stepping on their expertise.”
Watts advised those in attendance to take advantage of the learning and development opportunities at BJC, and to build relationships along the way.
“The relationships you make and the people you get to know at BJC are critical to your development,” Watts said. “We’re an organization focused on learning and developing, so just be yourself. Make a path for yourself. Opportunities will come your way.”
Watts also noted the importance of surrounding yourself with good people. In the end, he hopes that it’s the team’s accomplishments that are remembered.
“Make sure you have the right team in place and trust them to do their jobs,” he said. “I hope my legacy is not so much about me, but more about what my team and I accomplished by
Prior to the event, the group collected non-perishable food and personal care items for the Jewish Family and Children’s Service’s Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.
To receive future news and event information for the BJC Young Professionals Connection group,
contact Carmel Hannah, Barnes-Jewish Hospital associate administrator, [email protected].