For this edition of Living Fully, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tony Armada, CEO of Western WA at Providence Health & Services and CEO of Swedish Health Services. Tony has been part of our local health care community since 2013 when he relocated from Chicago to work at Providence and Swedish Health Services. Before Chicago, he spent 16 years in Los Angeles and Detroit prior to that. He likes to joke that he brings professional sports championships with him. In Detroit it was the Pistons. In LA it was the Lakers. In Chicago it was the Blackhawks. When he came to Seattle in 2013, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl.
It’s clear, however, that Tony brought much more than sports to our city. He is actively involved in the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Washington State Hospital Association and the World Trade Center Seattle. Amidst this busy professional life, he puts friends and family first and takes time to enjoy life. I sat down with Tony to understand how he manages to Invest Wisely and Live Fully.
Tony grew up in a health care family. His father was a physician and his mother was a pharmacist. From a young age, Tony knew he would follow a similar path. After earning his undergraduate degree in human medicine and technology at Michigan State University, he practiced medical technology for four years in a 400-bed hospital.
Because education is important to Tony, he went back to school for a Master of Health Administration (MHA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) as a backup in case the MHA didn’t work out. In the end, Tony found them complimentary, and they taught him about both sides of the health care equation.
Fast forward to today, Tony manages nine hospitals and 16,000 caregivers in the greater Seattle area and western Washington. Maintaining the right work/life balance is important to Tony. On the work side, he loves what he does and his family supports those endeavors. But, family and leisure are a top priority, and Tony makes a point to use his vacation days and spend time with family.
Now that his daughters are attending out-of-state colleges, that adds a layer of complexity. His oldest daughter is following in his health care footsteps, working as an EMT in Chicago. Ultimately, she would like to go back to school to become a Physician’s Assistant. Tony’s youngest daughter is following the business path and is studying business management. She is also a Division 1 scholarship athlete, playing volleyball.
As you can imagine, not much keeps Tony up at night. As he puts it, “I am too tired!” Instead, he asks himself the question: Did I make a difference in somebody’s life today? If the answer is yes, he feels good going to bed. Whether it’s giving his daughters the opportunity to enjoy life, or making sure patients are well-cared for, the answer is almost always yes.
In the near future, Tony would like to set aside money for a foundation that will use funds in perpetuity to fund and create opportunities for young adults via coaching, mentoring and internships. Tony will also give back with his time. That question he asks himself before bed? Soon, the answer will always be yes.
Whether you are a resident, new physician or thirty years into it like Tony, my hope is that his story will give you some guidance and inspiration on how to manage a busy life and live fully. Did you make a difference in somebody’s life today?