Amy B. Mansue did not have a clear trajectory landing her at Inspira Health.
“I’ve been granted so many opportunities in life,” Mansue reflected.
Of course, it was those varied opportunities – in social work and public policy, working with politicians and healthcare administrators – that helped Mansue grow into the person she is today, honing the skills and experiences to best prepare her to take the helm as the newest CEO and president of Inspira Health, a comprehensive charitable nonprofit health care organization comprising three hospitals, two cancer centers, several specialized health centers and more than 150 access points across Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Camden and Atlantic counties.
Mansue was appointed in July, and her first day was Sept. 1. When she landed the job, she relocated to Mullica Hill – a critical move, according to Mansue, to most effectively lead at Inspira.
“I have the privilege to work at a community health system; you really need to live in the community and be part of that community,” Mansue said. “I think that’s a really important part – seeing people at church or the ShopRite – you have to be present. It’s a really important relationship to have to know you live here and want to be here.”
Path to Inspira
Mansue grew up in Plainsboro, Middlesex County, a township now densely populated as a commuter hotspot, but back then a rural farming area known for its small-town charm and tight-knit community.
She watched her parents – both retired public school teachers – work hard throughout their careers, her father ending up an administrator in the same school district from which he graduated, and her mother going back to school to get her degree as an art teacher after Mansue was born. She was in the first class at Douglass Residential College, a Rutgers University institution specifically for women, at that time encouraging mothers who had opted out of the workforce to have children to return for a degree.
“It was a very big, novel idea and very cutting edge at that point in 1968,” Mansue said. “Her energy was one of the things that propelled me the most.”
Education, not surprisingly, was very important in the Mansue household. When it came to college, Mansue knew she wanted to go south, and she ended up at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, starting out as a political science major before transferring to the school of social work. The program included a three-week internship in Washington, D.C., during which Mansue worked with then-Congressman James Florio. When Mansue went on to get her master’s degree in social work, she spent six months in Washington.
“It was a really wonderful experience,” Mansue said. “I just fell in love with the work.”
However what really got her to Inspira, Mansue explained, was working as CEO of Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside.
“I think that’s when I fell hook, line and sinker for hospital administration,” Mansue said, calling the chance to work with the parents and patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals an “amazing gift.”
In 1999, Children’s Specialized Hospital became an affiliate member of the Robert Wood Johnson Health System. When Robert Wood Johnson merged with Barnabas Health in 2016, Mansue moved up and became the Chief Experience Officer for the entire health system.
Mansue wasn’t looking for a new job, but the Inspira opportunity found her anyway, largely thanks to former CEO John DiAngelo. The pair served together on the board of the New Jersey Hospital Association for about eight years.
“John and I have tremendous respect for each other,” Mansue said, adding with a laugh that they can’t agree on anything. When DiAngelo mentioned the upcoming opening, Mansue questioned if it would be the right fit. DiAngelo said yes, and Mansue soon realized he was right.
“I threw my hat in the ring. I really learned about the spirit, the work that’s done here, the mission to really improve the health of the community,” Mansue said. “I just fell in love with it. I fell in love with everything about it – the real chance to make a difference.”
Finding her footing
Mansue said everyone – the entire staff, the donors, the community – have been warm and welcoming.
“I could not have asked for a more gracious introduction,” she said. “It’s been a whirlwind for sure. I’ve really gotten to know the organization and have a sense of it.”
The new CEO said much of the hard work has already been done at Inspira. There is a High Reliability Organization (HRO) journey in place, a track record of engagement in the community, and strong partnerships with schools, food banks and other organizations.
“Part of what I bring to the table from a large organization,” Mansue explained, “is to help people see there are opportunities to dig deeper and do more as we think about the role we play in the community.
“There’s so much here and so many people here that are really looking to do as much as we can to make sure we leave the community better than we found it.”
The HRO plan is critical to that end, Mansue said, and helps Inspira focus not only on delivering the highest possible care, but also delivering it in the best way possible.
“(Patients) assume you’re going to provide the highest quality,” Mansue said. “What they want is if you’re going to treat them like a family member. Whether you’re really invested.”
Patient feedback – as well as feedback from staff and medical personnel – is key to elevating Inspira to the best it can be.
“I’m always so grateful that people trust us to care for them. They do have choices. They have choices where they can receive their care,” Mansue said. “The reality that they choose us is an honor, it’s something we don’t take for granted.
“It’s something we cherish.”