For Eboné Carrington ’01, going “Far Beyond” meant taking a trip across the street.
After years of overlooking Harlem Hospital from her balcony — and after earning her BS in Business Management at Stony Brook in 2001 — the Harlem native and 40 Under Forty honoree made history in 2016 when she became the Hospital’s youngest-ever CEO at the age of 37.
Today, Eboné manages over 2,400 employees and a $200 million budget. Still, her ties to Harlem Hospital go beyond her own work as CEO. Both of her parents have held positions in the Hospital, making for over 80 years of shared public service between the three of them and a personal connection to the Hospital forged over decades.
Becoming the CEO of Harlem Hospital at age 37 is an impressive feat. What do you credit for your success?
I’m going to use a quote that my mom uses constantly: “To God be all glory.” The reason I say this is because I could easily act as if my education, upbringing, or some other contributing factor made me a CEO at 36. I could say that I had good certifications or great mentors, but that would be implying that this elevation, and ultimately this leadership role — which I believe is my destiny — was something logical. What I will say is that I’ve always tried to be prepared for success and brought a level of precision and excellence to whatever I am tasked with. I endeavor to be an expert in all things I undertake. I pray daily to work with a sense of humility, and I think that’s been recognized. I also never said, “No” to opportunities, and I think that’s why I was able to acquire the healthcare and leadership skills that I have today.
What piece of advice would you give to someone inspired by your achievements?
I would say, “Continue to pursue learning,” because as you acquire a skill, it’s already on the verge of becoming obsolete. I bring a level of passion to my work, and if I didn’t love what I do, I would quit. I continue to learn and develop aspects of my leadership “tool kit” and I always keep adding to it — it’s never full. It’s important to have an evolving skill mix.
Harlem clearly has a special place in your heart. Did you always know that you wanted follow in your parents’ footsteps by pursuing a career at Harlem Hospital?
It was absolute happenstance. I had an internship someplace else the year before that I did not find added value to my education. My father recommended — he told me — that I should look at a finance internship at Harlem Hospital. The internship was half the pay and I was older than everyone in the program. I was upset with him for suggesting it, but I fell in love with it within two days. His encouragement led me to my passion. It was the absolute right fit.
How has Stony Brook played a role in your journey?
Stony Brook is the school I credit with creating the foundation for my education. I believe advanced education qualifies you for career promotion, but your undergrad work provides you with the tools and the actual competency for entry into the workforce. I went to Stony Brook and it gave me everything I needed. I think I saw before other people that there was something amazing and advanced about this University. I also met my husband in college, which of course didn’t hurt. College is a springboard for your future, and Stony Brook was a well-functioning, diverse springboard.
You mentioned that your husband also attended Stony Brook. How has SBU played a role in your love story?
What’s so cool about our love story is that when you marry your college sweetheart, you’ve grown together through the formative years. You get first jobs together, experience work setbacks together, and to be able to do that with shared memories is really cool. We have stories that we both understand, we can talk about the “SAC” together and not have to explain what it is.
I’ve used Stony Brook as a tool for networking and building relationships in my professional life as well. I have a co-worker and friend now who is a Stony Brook alum. It works because there is no need to introduce yourself, because you know these people as they’ve grown.
What does a typical day in the office look like for you?
There are two subsets to my work — I go between being the visionary and inspiration and being a firefighter. You have to grow the business, but also make sure that the business is being well maintained. For example, I could have a meeting with the Community Advisors Board to talk about the redesign of the lobby but at the same time get a call about a four-alarm fire notification from four blocks away, and then on top of that, I might get a call to say my son’s nose is running. There is quite a diversity in what I do.
How about a typical day off?
I don’t have any days off. I serve as a trustee at my church, or I’m working, or I’m spending time with the baby and maybe if I’m lucky, I find time to wash my hair. But it’s O.K., because I find solace in achievement and community development. To whom much is given, much is required.
After reaching an amazing milestone so early in life, what is the next goal on the horizon for you?
The best way that I can answer this is with a quote: “We are the embodiment of infinite possibility.” I’m a Type A personality and the ambiguity of the future can be troubling, but I’m certain the best is yet to come, so I’ll stand and wait. I avail myself to infinite possibilities.