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AdventHealth Kissimmee CEO remembers her roots during Hispanic Heritage Month

Fla., Kissimmee, Florida – Sheila Rankin is passionate about two things: education and perseverance. She used both to achieve success as a leader in health care.

Sheila Rankin CEO AdventHealth Kissimmee

Born in San Andrés Islas, Colombia, Rankin grew up wanting to make a positive impact, and she planned to become a doctor.

“Making a difference in someone else’s life motivates me, which is something that I learned from my family,” Rankin said. “I am thrilled by seeing people grow and learn, and I have a deep desire to improve our community.”

Gradually Rankin’s plans shifted, and she went to school to study business administration and computer information systems instead of medicine. But she still found her way into the health care field, and is making a difference not as a doctor, but as an executive.

Rankin has been with AdventHealth for 15 years, starting her career in the finance department and rising to become the CEO for AdventHealth Kissimmee. Under her leadership the campus has undergone major expansions to better serve the community, including adding state-of-the-art operating rooms and three new patient floors. Furthermore, Rankin spearheaded the opening of the AdventHealth Partin Settlement ER and Health Park, a first-of-its-kind for the health care system.

She believes her heritage has played an important role in her career growth, and how she leads with compassion and empathy in a community that is heavily Hispanic.

“At AdventHealth we are blessed to have team members from diverse backgrounds who enrich our company’s culture. Their contributions go beyond professional excellence, the biggest ones are in the small gestures of kindness, especially when it comes to treating our community as family,” she said. “That special connection we can develop by simply understanding their culture, sharing traditions, and speaking the same language gives our community a sense of relief and comfort.”

Rankin says leading through a pandemic has been one of the most challenging experiences of her career. Having to manage and inspire people when they are drained mentally, physically, and emotionally – and instilling courage when people are scared – has tested her character and resilience, she said.

Rankin said through this experience she developed a deeper trust in God, who gave her the clarity of mind and strength to lead her team members through one of the biggest battles of our lifetime.

“God pulled us through,” she said.

In celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, Rankin said it’s important to lift future generations and be an example that you can do anything you want -- you only need education and perseverance.

“My life motto is, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions,’” she said, quoting the author Stephen Covey.

Rankin also advises that each day at work presents a test – and an opportunity.

“Make no mistake, every day of your professional career you are on an interview,” she said. “Be prepared and always do your best. Be authentic and know yourself.”