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naleppa-peggy-5Dr. Peggy Naleppa

Retired President/CEO of Peninsula Regional Medical Center

Dr. Peggy Naleppa credits the diversity in her education as the key to her successful career. In January, she retired as President/CEO of Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury.

Starting with a strong clinical background as a registered nurse, she earned a master’s in business administration from Johns Hopkins University, a master’s degree in finance and a doctorate in management with focuses on engineering principles from the University of Maryland University College.

“It is the diversity of that education that allowed me to collectively (become) a hospital leader who, with a team and I had an extremely excellent team, can implement change effectively through process re-engineering,” Naleppa said.

Naleppa was first drawn to the health care field after her cousin was injured from a fall down an elevator shaft. A preteen at the time, she went to the hospital every day, watched his progress at rehabilitation and got to know his health care professionals. His wife, who was a nurse, encouraged her to go to nursing school.

She would go on to hold clinical leader or senior executive positions at a number of area health care systems, including Anne Arundel Medical Center, Calvert Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital, and become director of neurosurgical services at George Washington University Medical Center.

The dual role of raising kids and working full time was challenging for Naleppa. “I worked a lot on weekends or evening shifts to accommodate family,” she said. Then, as a vice president at a community hospital, she stepped down to go back to school full time.

“That was a pivotal decision because I wasn’t sure if I would return to health care per se,” she said. “When you are a high-level senior executive, you don’t typically walk away from those positions, but I felt like the timing of the family needs as well as my going back to school were critical.” She ended up getting right back into health care as a senior executive at another hospital.

During her last year as CEO at PRMC, she went to Rutgers University to complete their executive leadership coaching program. Since retiring, she provides executive coaching, keeping a small number of clients looking to advance their leadership skills. She compares the coaching to sports.

“We think nothing of going out and getting lessons on how to perfect those skills,” she said. “Leadership is a skill. There is some intuitive process to it, but it is a skill that has to be learned,” including critical components like communication skills, how to manage conflict and how to work through teams. “When it is done well, it is an extremely dramatic advancement for the individual both professionally and personally.”

This article is featured in The Daily Record’s Path To Excellence: A Woman’s Guide To Business. The mission of the Path to Excellence magazine is to give our readers the opportunity to meet successful women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs and learn how they define success. Read more from Path to Excellence.

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