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UCF commencement addressed by UCF Lake Nona Hospital CEO Wendy Brandon

Brandon spoke to graduates of UCF College of Health Professions and Sciences, College of Medicine and College of Nursing during the ceremony.

May 01, 2024

UCF Lake Nona Hospital CEO Wendy Brandon to UCF Grads:
‘Never underestimate the value of trusting relationships’

Dream big and build connections. That was the advice Wendy Brandon, CEO of UCF Lake Nona Hospital, gave the graduates of University of Central Florida College of Health Professions and Sciences, College of Medicine and College of Nursing during her commencement address during the ceremony at Addition Financial Arena on Friday, May 3.

Brandon was welcomed and introduced by UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright.  Speaking from the experience of a successful 30-year career in hospital leadership at HCA Healthcare, she emphasized the impact of relationships, especially for those called to a career in healthcare. Brandon encouraged the graduates to never forget the life-changing impact of trusting relationships, not just with their colleagues but also with their patients.

“When you encounter your patient, they will often be at their most vulnerable—sick, injured, scared, needing your help, expertise, compassion, and wanting a good outcome,” Brandon said. “When you can give them what they need and want while building a connection with them, that's when the magic truly happens for you and for your patient.”

Brandon went on to share her advice for building relationships with people in all walks of life.

“Invest time to get to know people. Be interested and curious to learn what they value. Communicate to build trust with them. Present yourself as a happy, positive, approachable person. Have empathy for the life circumstances of others. These approaches can lead to real connection and relationship with others,” she said.

Brandon is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Since 1995, she has held numerous leadership positions in hospitals owned by HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services.  For the past seven years, she has served as CEO of UCF Lake Nona Hospital, a partnership hospital between the University of Central Florida Academic Health Sciences Center and HCA Healthcare. She led the design and development of the hospital campus and built a premier team of talented people to serve Lake Nona and the communities in Southeast Orange and Osceola counties through this technologically advanced medical facility.

Through her volunteer leadership, she has worked to improve quality of life in the Orlando region by serving as a trustee and chair of the board for Seminole State College. She currently serves as a board member and former chair of the board of CareerSource Central Florida and is a member of the Orlando Economic Partnership Board of Directors. Additionally, she has been part of the executive committee for the American Heart Association (AHA) Central Florida Heart Walk since 2023 and will serve as event chair in 2025. She is a member of AHA’s Circle of Red and serves on the board of Shepherd’s Hope.

The commencement for College of Health Professions and Sciences, College of Medicine and College of Nursing was one of six UCF commencement ceremonies this week.  Other speakers include former Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA administrator; Kevin Thibault, CEO of Greater Orlando Aviation Authority; Ericka Pace, division president for Lennar Orlando; Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports, and Robert Long, president and CEO of Space Florida.

UCF awarded about 9,800 degrees this spring, sending a talented group of highly skilled graduates into careers in in-demand fields across Central Florida and the state. Those degrees include nearly 3,000 in STEM fields, about 1,400 in engineering and computer science, about 1,400 in business and about 400 each in nursing, digital and emerging media, and hospitality management.

Published:
May 01, 2024
Location:
UCF Lake Nona Medical Center

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