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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
Donna Lynne Denver Health

Donna Lynne

Chief Executive Officer

Denver Health

Location: Denver

Founded: 1860

Industry: Health Care

In her youth, Donna Lynne was playing high school basketball and was told that girls weren’t allowed to run the length of the court because they weren’t strong enough. This experience lit a fire within her, and she knew that she was resilient to play on and off the court. “It was the first of many times in my life and career that I would advocate for myself,” said Lynne. “More broadly speaking, I was advocating for inclusivity and belonging, which I have done throughout my life.”

Lynne’s desire to fight for what she believed in fueled her career growth as she served four New York City mayors, helped to develop an emergency management office that allowed New York to better cope with the 9-11 tragedy, and when she served as the Lt. Governor of Colorado. This fuel continued in her role as the chief operating officer at Columbia University Medical Center and she continues to act on these fighting instincts as the CEO of Denver Health.

Denver Health is the oldest hospital and healthcare system in Colorado. It is a safety net hospital that has been providing superior care for the Denver community since 1860. From its renowned trauma teams, 10 family health centers, 19 school-based health centers, 29 transitional housing units, community partnerships that address the social determinants of health, and oversight of the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center and Denver’s first responders, Denver Health is at the heart of the Denver community.

“I will always fight for our extraordinary care teams, for our patients and for the communities we serve,” said Lynne.

Lynne has worked hard to secure the financial stability of Denver’s 160-year-old safety net hospital and has rallied businesses to support the organization with financial gifts. She has spent considerable time educating newly elected officials on Denver Health’s impact on the city and secured more than $16 million for Denver Health in her first year as CEO.

Lynne’s efforts throughout her career have led to an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of Denver and an honorary bachelor of science degree in nursing from Colorado Mountain College. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University since 2005.

As a mentor to others within the community, Lynne said she advises young entrepreneurs to keep taking risks. “In my view, taking risks is among the most important qualities of leadership,” she said. “It’s necessary to think broadly and boldly and to be mindful of different points of view.”

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