Celebrating Women's History Month with Tricia Costigan on Women in Leadership
In honor of Women’s History Month
, we want to celebrate some amazing female leaders at Northern Light Inland Hospital. Tricia Costigan is Inland Hospital's president, and we asked her to share her perspectives on Women in Leadership.
1. Who was your first leadership role model?
My grandmother, who was a traditional housewife, was always someone I looked up to for the way she kept our family grounded and together. To me, that’s leadership and she still inspires me. She was a role model for kindness, compassion, and respect - ideals that are important to me today as I lead a hospital and continuing care center where the mission is to take care of people.
2. Is there a leader in your work life who inspires you?
My CEO at my former hospital in Pittsburgh, Leslie Davis, is someone I look up to and admire. She was enthusiastic and made you excited about the work. I respected her honesty and integrity, and also her kindness.
3. When you began your career, did you know you wanted to be a leader?
Not really, I knew I just wanted to take care of people. I started as a CNA in a nursing home in Dover where I grew up before joining the Navy as a corpsman. Soon I started working on the administrative side of healthcare, at hospitals in Virginia, New York, and Pittsburgh. When I returned to Maine in 2019, I was excited to join Northern Light Health in a medical group operations leadership role and then became Inland’s president in 2022. I feel lucky that the leadership opportunities before me have always been exciting, challenging roles that fit my interests and skills.
4. What do you enjoy most about leading others?
Seeing people succeed and live up to their potential! When you have talented leaders and staff, get out of their way, and let them do what they do best! I enjoy helping to break down barriers, and I see how teamwork can really make a difference in everything we do. I also enjoy connecting with our staff and learning how they’re doing, what’s their motivation, and what matters most to them. Healthcare is about caring for others, and that includes our dedicated staff. I am constantly amazed and humbled by their commitment. It’s an honor to lead them.
5. How have you built confidence over the course of your career?
By working hard and not giving up. Face each problem and just keep moving forward. Even pulling myself and my kids out of a very difficult domestic violence situation in my first marriage was extremely challenging. Coming through that time taught me that there is nothing that life throws at you that you can’t handle. I also learned to “donate trust” because you really never know what people are going through behind the scenes and how they may be doing the best they can at the time.
6. What are the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself?
Thankfully, I am surrounded by a supportive, loving family with two sons at home and three other adult children, most living in other states. My husband and I disconnect from work life and travel to see the kids for fun when we can. Right now, we love to ski and ice fish - anything outdoors. I have to admit, I’m not perfect at work-life balance, but I know it’s important and I do try. I work hard at staying present when I’m with them and focus on the fun in front of me.
7. What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Stay the course, believe in yourself, and understand that one or two mistakes don’t define you. It’s about learning and growing.
8. What advice would you give to the next generation of female healthcare leaders?
Be nimble. What you see today will likely be very different from the healthcare of tomorrow. It is constantly evolving to meet the changing dynamics and needs of patients. I consider myself to be a life-long learner, and I believe that has helped me in every leadership role. It’s about being open to new ideas and viewpoints so that you can be ready for what’s to come. I’m really excited to be part of healthcare right now because we are looking ahead and building to make a patient’s experience the best it can possibly be.
9. Any advice for girls as they look at careers and leadership?
I’m excited to be working with five young girls on the Advisory Network for the Olympia Snowe Leadership Institute. While they may not choose healthcare as a career path, I remind them that they don’t have to know what the rest of their lives will look like today. Live to who you want to be and lead through your actions. I’ve always believed that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in life, if you just keep taking a step forward, you are unstoppable. We all have the potential to live our best life because of the amazing things other women have done to help pave the way for us.
10. What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
It’s a chance for us to reflect and thank those who came before us, who helped us get where we are today. Now it’s our turn to make a difference for women!