Working toward the best in healthcare.
Some people go to work and consider it nothing more than a job and a paycheck. For others, it’s a passion, a true love of what they do day in and day out.
Terrie Edwards definitely fits into the latter category.
The corporate vice president of Sentara Healthcare feels the way about her job that most people only hope to feel one day: invested, productive and involved in work that makes a difference in people’s lives. When Edwards talks about her role at Sentara, she is comfortable and wears an ear-to-ear smile. She has found the right role for herself.
“You have to love what you do,” says Edwards, who has been in the job since July 2016. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of it.”
Edwards oversees three hospitals: Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, Sentara CarePlex Hospital and Sentara Obici Hospital, and three ambulatory campuses: Sentara Port Warwick, Sentara Belle Harbour and Sentara Gloucester Medical Arts. Her office is in Port Warwick. She is a veteran of healthcare administration, having been in the business for decades. She has worked at many hospitals and overseen improvements and projects at all of them. She embraces her role at Sentara, working to make the healthcare provided the best it can be.
Edwards is proud of the Peninsula team and physicians who recently opened Sentara CarePlex Hospital Family Maternity Center. She is also excited about the expansion of Sentara Belle Harbour in Suffolk. She is grateful to be a part of the Sentara team that delivers the best healthcare it can to the community, whether in the form of copper infused linens now used to ward of infections at the hospitals, or reducing emergency room wait times. Her team has implemented many initiatives that hopefully result in a healthier community.
“I am passionate about improving healthcare, both the creation of the vision and execution of the plan,” says Edwards, who graduated from James Madison University with a public administration degree in 1980 and from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1984 with a master’s degree in health administration.
“What challenges me is that there are new initiatives all the time. Although I’m not in direct care, I’m in a position to work with people and teams to provide the best care possible,” she says.
Edwards values working with all people, no matter where they are in the organization. Recently, a man who used to clean the building at night checked in to let her know how he was doing in his new job. Edwards has worked many late nights and appreciates the work of evening employees. After all, she says, “I’m just a regular person.
“My dad always treated everyone the same, no matter what they did. I have tried to follow him and do the same. Everyone has value here. I make it a point to get to know everyone’s name here. Employees have great ideas and I want to hear them.”
Edwards, who grew up in Hopewell, was the first in her family to attend college. She is not one to work in a vacuum. She encourages teamwork and savors being part of a group of people working toward something successful.
“My job is to keep all the parts moving toward the goal of the team,” she says. “Then we can celebrate the victory together.”
Throughout her career, Edwards has worked with young leaders and employees to give them guidance and opportunities to develop to their skills.
“I really enjoy helping leaders, or anyone, progress to the next level,” “she says.
Edwards has an approachable management style. She says she is there to cheer on those who are performing well and to help those who are struggling. She is an encourager and enjoys working with people.
Even though Edwards works long hours, it is a high priority for her to be involved with community organizations. Edwards and her husband have been married for 36 years and have three grown children. Edwards is involved both on the Peninsula and the Southside. They have homes in Newport News and Chesapeake.
Edwards is on the board of the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula and is chairperson for the 2018 capital campaign. In fact, this month, she and several other community leaders will be rapelling down the side of the Holiday Inn in City Center as part of the Over the Edge to End Poverty fundraiser. She is also chairperson of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads. She is a strong proponent of the Young Life program in high schools and active in her church. One of her favorite activities, though, is doing mission work in Haiti. She has been eight times and sponsors a young lady there.
“It’s my true love,” she says. “When I retire, I can see myself being in Haiti part time.”
For now, Edwards is thriving on achieving success both in the professional and community arenas.
“I have developed friendships personally and professionally,” she says. “I feel very fortunate to be doing something I enjoy so much.”