Special/Signature Issues » Top 40 Under 40

Kelly James, 33

Administrative Director, Bon Secours Health System

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Dallas native Kelly James always knew she wanted to work around health care. But when she realized she might not be the best doctor in the world, she found another way: through health care administration.

Starting as an assistant, she worked her way up in no-nonsense fashion to administrative director of governance and assistant to the chief executive officer of the Bon Secours Health System. “I get to go to work every day knowing I'm part of something much bigger than just me,” she says.

When the Greater Richmond Chamber launched Helping Young Professionals Engage, known as Hype, two years ago, James volunteered to be on the leadership committee and has grown with it, helping establish its presence in the community as a popular networking tool. She's the first leadership council chair to also sit on the chamber's board and executive committee — and also the youngest member of the chamber's board.

“Without Kelly, Hype would likely not have received a seat on the chamber's board or executive committee,” according to program manager Corey Humphrey.

Humphrey says that James was inspired by the program's Young Professional award — given for workplaces that create positive atmospheres for young professionals — to start a highly successful employee retention program at Bon Secours.

“Our employee-engagement score is in the 99 percentile for hospitals, so it makes the environment fun and supportive,” James says. “It's amazing to watch the energy permeate the community.”

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