Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.
Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS)
Memorable Adelphi Professor: “Dr. Elaine Pasquale was the professor who I learned a great deal from—in coursework and as far as leadership and character.”
On the value of teamwork: “I’ve been lucky to be able to recruit teams made up of the best people in their fields. My only real success has been the ability to have the autonomy to hire the right people who are way smarter than me.”
Advice to current students: “Don’t fear failure. We are often taught that failure is not an option. Failure can however be a friend if you understand and reevaluate and constantly self-reflect on why things are happening.”
“At the end of the day, it all comes down to creating value,” said Leonard Achan ’99 an innovator who over the course of his career as a senior healthcare executive has become invaluable to the organizations he has served.
In February 2016, Achan was appointed chief innovation officer and senior vice president of innovation and business development at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He joins the Hospital for Special Surgery after a more than 15-year career at Mount Sinai Health System where he held a wide variety of roles.
During his tenure at Mount Sinai, Achan built the health system’s first-ever department of digital and social media, which became number one in the New York region within 12 months. Within 24 months, it was ranked top five in the nation.
After Achan’s success in transforming Mount Sinai’s social media, he was asked to restructure the system’s traditional marketing and went on to centralize the marketing communications, public relations, and crisis management for the entire health system and medical school. His efforts led to Mount Sinai being recognized number one nationally in organic media within 24 months. He was also responsible for the planning and implementing of Mount Sinai’s comprehensive rebranding effort that centered on the launch and rollout of a new logo in 2012.
Achan landed his first role at Mount Sinai when he was a student at Adelphi. “Adelphi had the top nursing program, he said. “It was the only school I applied to.” In 1998, he applied to and was accepted by Mount Sinai to complete his senior practicum there. After graduating with his nursing degree from Adelphi, Mount Sinai hired him full time.
In 2001, working as a clinical nurse for just a year and a half, he was nominated by patients and fellow colleagues to receive the institution’s Board of Trustees-Clinical Nurse Excellence Award. That level of recognition so early in his career drew the attention of many, including the president of the hospital, who approached Achan and asked him to consider a career in administration. Achan has been on that path ever since.
Over the course of his career, one of Achan’s strengths has been in his ability to look at things differently. He said that Mount Sinai is an environment that allowed him to innovate. In fact, since 2002, Achan has created every role he has been in and every department he has managed. The opportunity “to create and experiment and build things from scratch to create value” is what has and continues to motivate him.
While he is thriving as an executive today, his career started with him working successfully as a clinician. He sees the two roles as connected. “For me, I’ve had the same job since I was a nurse. I’m preventative. I think that being able to look at a patient clinically, understand what the issues are and treat them is no different than looking at and building a business,” he said.
When asked how his Adelphi education prepared him for his career, Achan credits Adelphi with providing him with his entire foundation. “I’ve been to many schools through my career and to date none of those schools can touch what Adelphi did for me. The rigor of Adelphi’s nursing program and the discipline behind it is unmatched in my education,” he said. “I graduated from Adelphi as a very strong and confident practitioner.”
Achan shares his wealth of knowledge locally and abroad, teaching as a lecturer and as a member of the faculty at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, The Wharton School of Business as well as internationally at The City University of Hong Kong, The University of Macau, University of San Carlos and at the Navy of the Philippines.
In his private life, he is an inventor and entrepreneur. He co-founded a company called Quality Reviews and is also a street and contemporary artists. He is happily married and he and his wife have two children and a puppy.
Published April 2016