Phyllis Peoples – Women Who Mean Business 2023

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Phyllis Peoples


Phyllis Peoples, a Houma native, has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Terrebonne General Health System for over 20 years. Leading the largest health system in the region, with a healthcare team of over 1,400 employees and over 450 medical staff providers that offer 42 various specialties, Phyllis admits that her role is a demanding one. “The best part of my job is that it is extraordinarily challenging and different every day. The days never seem to end, and no two days are the same,” she shared. “The days are very unpredictable, which is what I love. My job is 24/7 and very demanding, and I am always available. What adds to this is that the healthcare industry is constantly evolving and changes very quickly, so you must be several steps ahead of the change to be prepared for it.”

Working in healthcare administration for 37 years, Phyllis explained, “I am so glad that I chose the healthcare sector as a career. It is diverse, complicated, challenging, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time.” Admiring her father and grandfather, who were pharmacists, and her mother, who managed her own real estate company, Phyllis combined the two and pursued a career in healthcare administration. “I am a lifelong learner and managed to attain a bachelor’s degree in nursing, master’s degrees in nursing administration, education, and public health as well as complete doctoral studies,” Phyllis shared.

Reflecting on her role over the years, Phyllis explained that there were not many other female CEOs when she first started. I’ve never been treated any differently than any of my male counterparts and have always felt valued. “The art of healthcare and compassion for taking care of individuals knows no gender. Healthcare is a very emotional field that requires love for people in the best and, more often, in the worst times. I have always had a larger insight and could relate to how to care for people and their families.”

Phyllis has received numerous awards and recognitions for her contributions to Terrebonne General, and specifically as a woman in a leadership role. “I have enjoyed the honor of receiving as a Women In Business Mentor with the Chamber’s Annual Athena Award, which highlights an individual who guides and mentors business women so that they can realize their full leadership potential. I was also recognized for this effort as a Women of the Year Role Model by the Young Leadership Council,” she explained.

Serving as a role model, especially among youth and women is a priority to her. “There are many women on my leadership team who I have worked with for years, and I feel it is important to support people to move forward. Give them the tools they need to be successful. For as long as I have been in my role, I have seen the importance of supporting science and technology programs to encourage women to pursue careers in this industry.”

As a mother of two successful boys, who also found careers in the medical field, Phyllis plans to continue leading by example. “I plan to enhance what I have built over the last 20-plus years and continue to grow on a state and national level. I work hard on living and demonstrating humility, honesty, empathy, extreme loyalty, timely responsiveness, follow-through, and having direct and open dialogue,” she said.