Going the Extra Mile
||Elizabeth Guzman at the finish line of the 2011 ING NYC Marathon
Elizabeth Guzman completed her second New York City Marathon this past November in a little under four hours, beating her previous time by more than 10 minutes. She ran the first 26.2 mile race nearly 20 years ago in New Mexico simply to challenge herself and ended up placing first in her age group.
“When you start running a marathon it is all about your physical strength and fitness, but towards the end the mental challenge is what kicks in,” she said.
Guzman is certainly not afraid of challenges. As Chief Financial Officer at Metropolitan Hospital since 2008, she’s taken on many with a marathon runner’s discipline and tenacity. With great focus and mental endurance, Guzman recently led a number of process improvement activities at Metropolitan using the “Lean” approach, known as Breakthrough at HHC, and has helped to identify more than $3.5 million in new revenues.
She also embraces the principles of the Breakthrough model in other areas of her job, particularly to engage staff and promote human development through quarterly staff recognition meetings to give employees the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences.
“Everyone is being asked to do more with less in these financially challenging times,” Guzman says. “But we have a responsibility to our patients to provide them with the best quality of care that we can. It is my duty to provide financial leadership hospital-wide by finding ways to cut costs and generate more revenue while also keeping morale up among staff.”
Guzman began her career at HHC in 1996 managing bond deals and capital leases for the corporation. After almost ten years in the corporate office, she became Budget Director at Woodhull.
“I felt like I had worked so long for a hospital system, but never in a hospital,” Guzman says. “I really wanted to be closer to the patients we serve and to the day to day operations of a healthcare facility.”
Like many HHC employees, Guzman says that she has always wanted to be in a position where she can serve. While getting her MBA at the Wharton Business School she says that it was very clear from early on that she wanted to be in finance, but she also wanted to work for a company that wasn’t only driven by profits.
“Ultimately we are all here for a good cause. We are serving people who may be turned away elsewhere and that makes me feel like I am making a difference.”
Guzman’s recent accomplishments, on the job and on the running track, have motivated many of her colleagues.
"These days, as CFO at HHC, I feel like making the improvements we need is much more like running a marathon than a sprint. Liz Guzman's steady strength and endurance in running the NYC Marathon in less than 4 hours inspires me. If Liz can cross the finish line so can we," said Marlene Zurack, HHC Senior Vice President of Finance.
Elizabeth Guzman lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband who is a writer and photographer.