Stacey Petrower doesn’t usually pad around the hospital in slippers. But when Hurricane Sandy barreled into town in 2012, she was vice president of operations at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, the only level-one trauma center that remained open on the East side of Manhattan. Petrower spent five straight nights there; one evening, while making rounds, she met Manny, an environmental-services worker. She asked if his family was okay. Recalling the story, she chokes up.
“This man said, ‘I have a basement apartment that’s completely flooded. But things can be replaced. I’m supposed to be here, helping people,’” Petrower recalls.
Manny’s words perfectly echo Petrower’s own commitment to the job. Now president of NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital, she’s managing the community hospital with both hands-on care and an eye toward future growth.
Petrower’s first job in healthcare was in 1992, at Mount Sinai. Supervising seven women who’d “been in the job longer than I’d been alive” was an exercise in humility and leadership. When the nurses saw that Petrower was willing to help anywhere — even fixing a faulty bedside table with her own screwdriver — she won their respect.
In her 13-year career at NewYork-Presbyterian, Petrower has been mentored by strong leaders and now guides other women moving up the ranks. In July 2016, she assumed her current role, which makes her responsible for overall leadership at the Cortlandt Manor site, as well as at satellite medical locations. “What I love about operations is that you do something different — not every day, but every hour,” Petrower says.