Having watched his dad serve as CEO, Edwards knew the job was not a typical nine to five. “It took a lot out of him,” Edwards says. When Charles Edwards died in January 2001, Edwards was gifted his dad’s journals. “He had a point where he said he had three responsibilities: his job, his family and himself, and I could tell he couldn’t do them all,” Edwards says. “So he made the decision to sacrifice himself.” Standing in the shadow of his dad’s legacy, Edwards is hyper-aware of how stressful being CEO of a hospital can be. His dad survived three heart attacks while on the job, so Edwards is vigilant about his health. He runs, hikes and kayaks and escapes with his family to their lake house (part of his life plan) where Edwards can unplug and go fishing. “As soon as we head to the lake, I can feel my blood pressure go down,” he says.
Still, Edwards admits, that like his dad, he’s not great at balancing work and life, and COVID-19 has added new stress. But in some ways, Edwards was built for a crisis. He dislikes routine and long meetings, and now that the hospital has implemented its incident command structure, policies can be implemented within 24 hours. “In health care, speed really matters,” Edwards says. “We’ve accelerated in a way I’m really proud of.”