Not only does Peyton Warrington hold one of the premier positions in the community, she is pursuing the passion for her profession where she chooses… Oxford.
HottyToddy.com’s Steve Vassallo caught up with the Asst. Administrator at Baptist Memorial Hospital between balancing her busy daily responsibilities.
Vassallo: Peyton, before we dive into Baptist and all you have going on here, describe your path prior for us before arriving at the hospital.
Warrington: I was born and raised in the heart of the Mississippi Delta and ended up staying in my hometown of Cleveland to attend Delta State University. In college I was involved in Kappa Delta Sorority where I served in several leadership positions including President. After graduation, I attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and received a Master’s of Health Services Administration degree.
Vassallo: Growing up in Cleveland, obtaining your education at Delta State and then pursuing your Masters in Little Rock, you laid an excellent foundation before landing in your “dream job.”
Warrington: I’d like to say that all of my life’s experiences led me to where I am today, but I really just think it was God’s plan. I definitely believe being a part of a sorority, and the leadership positions I held, were tremendous impacts on my character and career path. It helped me understand the importance of working together as a team to make a difference–whether great or small.
Vassallo: Concisely describe what your job entails involving the departments that directly report to you.
Warrington: As an Assistant Administrator I have responsibility for the operations and strategic direction for ten of the hospital departments. I work closely with about 275 staff members that support the operations of the facility. Whether it’s helping identify the strategic direction of the service lines, establishing budgets, purchasing new equipment or dealing with operational issues, I am the senior leader who helps guide their path. I am fortunate to have such a strong, supportive team. They are the ones on the front line making the difference for our patients every day.
Vassallo: Very few individuals (if any) had as much involvement in planning the new hospital as you did.
Warrington: I was fortunate to have been involved in the new hospital from conception to occupation and now transition. I still recall the day our CEO came in from meeting with the City and County and announced we were building a new hospital. Being able to gather ideas and input from physicians, staff, patients and community members and design and construct a facility that will serve our community for generations is truly the highlight of my career. Fortunately we had a great team of hospital leaders, architects, contractors and designers that all wanted the same thing–to make Baptist Oxford the premier healthcare facility in North Mississippi.
Vassallo: The hospital has definitely become a regional draw serving as a magnet for some twelve Mississippi counties.
Warrington: This is one of the things I am most proud of. For years 70% of our patients have come from outside of Lafayette County–mainly from 12 counties in north Mississippi. When Baptist took over the hospital in 1989 there were 29 physicians on staff and today we have nearly 150 representing over 30 different specialty areas. Having such a broad range of well-respected physicians and a state-of-the-art facility creates a draw for patients from Grenada to Clarksdale to Pontotoc and Holly Springs—serving a population of nearly 200,000 people.
Vassallo: Your family occupies most of your time away from Baptist. Tell us about them including the “Colonel.”
Warrington: I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 23 years. My husband, Todd, grew up in the metropolis of Shelby, Mississippi. We have one son, Davis, who is 13 years old and will be in the 8th grade at Oxford Middle School this fall. Colonel is our 10 year old Jack Russell Terrier–quite the terror. With all the kids running in and out, I have one rule at my house–DON’T touch the dog…He’s a little cantankerous!
Vassallo: You mentioned visiting all 50 states before Davis graduates from HS. Is this a goal for your family?
Warrington: My husband loves to travel. He has a passion for ‘seeing the country’ and his preferred mode of transportation is by car! He likes nothing more than getting behind the wheel, turning on “the Bridge” and hitting the road! Early on we decided we want to experience this great country with Davis so we mounted a large map on the wall and started marking off all the states we had visited. We are now at 34 states and have a goal of visiting the remaining 16 before Davis graduates from high school.
Vassallo: Although your childhood hardly crossed paths with the Oxford community, you have definitely become one of the lead cheerleaders here.
Warrington: We are so blessed to live in such a quintessential community. Oxford is truly the best of both worlds—small town charm with big city amenities! Things have changed vastly since we moved here in 1994. There are so many people moving to town–both part time and full time. I just hope that we can retain the character and charm amidst the growth we are experiencing.
Vassallo: Giving back to the community is apparently a very high priority for you. Is that a fair assessment?
Warrington: Absolutely! Not only through my work at Baptist, but through other means as well, I feel being a part of your community is important. I have been involved in the Chamber of Commerce since the late 1990s and served as Chairman in 2011. I also enjoy serving as a mentor to young professionals and often have one or two students I am mentoring. It is truly rewarding to see them find a career they enjoy and one in which they are successful.
Vassallo: How did you become a professor at the Meek School of Journalism?
Warrington: About five years ago I was introduced to one of the Assistant Deans who was brought in to spearhead the Integrated Marketing Communications department at Ole Miss. He had been in the business world and transitioned to academia. I liked his story and the idea of being able to share my experiences with young people. One day he called out of the blue and asked if I would be interested in teaching a class and I jumped at the chance. Teaching has truly been a rewarding experience for me.
Vassallo: Returning to the world of travel, your husband takes this role very seriously. What’s next on the Warrington itinerary?
Warrington: We can’t even get home from one trip and he’s already planning another, but that keeps life exciting! His Dad always takes the entire family on a big summer trip the last week of June. We’ve been everywhere from Alaska to California to Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas. This year we are going to Walt Disney World with 33 family members! On a different note, we are also planning a trip to the Northeast this Fall…Driving from Boston to Maine and exploring six new states.
Vassallo: Healthcare challenges dominate the news daily. How would you describe the greatest ones for Baptist here in Oxford?
Warrington: I think the biggest challenges we are dealing with are being able to balance expenses and reimbursement. Health care expenses are on the rise. Reimbursement continues to decline and patients are being asked to absorb more of the cost of their care. Many are putting off procedures until it is almost too late which makes their condition much more critical and difficult to treat.
Vassallo: An interesting observation about how you were directed to your preferred profession at such a young age involved a personality test which identified your true interests and passion.
Warrington: I knew I needed to further my education after receiving my undergraduate degree, but had no clue which direction to head. I ended up going to the counseling center at Delta State and taking a “career test”. To my surprise, it suggested Hospital Administration. I didn’t even know there was such a field! I researched Master’s Degrees in Healthcare Management and settled on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. It was truly one of the best decisions I ever made.
Vassallo: Your career path was greatly influenced by friends and family with your 96 year old grandmother taking a key role.
Warrington: I had always had an interest in the medical field but had a strong business background. When I realized I could do both, I knew Hospital Administration was the field for me. My grandmother had a childhood friend on the medical staff in Oxford, Dr. Purves McLaurin, and gave him a call to see if there was an opportunity. He made a few calls and the rest is history….It’s crazy how it turned out, but I know it was all part of God’s plan.
Vassallo: Your love for what you do, speaking both professionally and personally, jumps off the page. Is your middle name “Pollyanna” by any chance?
Warrington: Ha! I don’t think so, but I am typically a positive person. My husband often tells me, “Love what you do and you will never work a day in your life.” I think he is right… And, I am fortunate that I have found just that!
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is an active Economic Development Consultant working with communities globally who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 985-852-7745.