Member Spotlight: Chris Okezie, MBA, FACHE

Tell us about your background and what inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare.

I have always been drawn to healthcare. I grew up learning from my father, who was a pharmacist who truly cared for his patients. As my role model and the most influential person in my life, I admired his zeal for his patients and the care team with whom he worked. My father demonstrated the profound compassion of a healer.
I was born in Nigeria, where I grew up playing soccer, tennis, and cricket. When I migrated to the United States to pursue higher education, I became an avid golf, football, and basketball fan. Now, I unapologetically support all Houston sports teams – win or lose.
Although my college studies were in accounting and finance, I could not resist the opportunity to serve in the healthcare industry. Healthcare is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers one can have. It gives me the opportunity to wake up daily with a sense of purpose and go home with a sense of accomplishment. Most importantly, I use my talents and skills to serve the mission of Harris Health System, providing the highest quality care for those most in need and training the next generation of healthcare professionals.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Besides spending quality time with my family and friends, I enjoy playing golf, reading, and working with young adults.  I love working with at-risk youth, who with a little guidance and inspiration are capable of such great things.  It is deeply rewarding to see their success.  I also recently started taking guitar lessons… who knows, I may end up playing like the great Carlos Santana in my next career endeavor. I’m also a devoted fan of Manchester United Football Club.

What is the best piece of advice that you received from a mentor throughout your administrative career?

Wow, I have been blessed to have great mentors and leaders that I look up to – Margo Hilliard, David Lopez, George Masi, Jessie Tucker, Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, and most recently Louis Smith. Some of the best career advice I received during my early days in leadership came from Mr. Dickson, a seasoned housekeeper at LBJ Hospital. He told me that “real leaders serve before they lead. People only follow those that serve them.”

What helped you most when preparing for Board of Governors’ Exam?

The study guide was very helpful. However, my real-world experience in the field also played a critical role in my understanding of the concepts and exam questions. I do encourage all candidates to take the ACHE-SETC prep course. My colleagues have shared that it is very helpful.

Interview by Simran Khadka

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