Posted by Mary Wimberley (story by student Maegan Wilson) on 2007-09-27

John Workman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of HealthSouth Corporation since 2004, gave students and professors insight on his education and professional experiences Wednesday, as part of Samford University's School of Business Dean's Leadership Series.

Workman discussed his undergraduate career at Indiana University at Bloomington, where he studied accounting, and his graduate career at the University of Chicago, where he received his Master of Business Administration degree. He shared that he would have spent more time preparing and studying for classes and encouraged students to be familiar with business strategy in order to better understand and serve clients. He also noted that talking to professionals in both industry and public accounting firms would be beneficial to students in finding a job after graduation.

Workman also discussed his role in maintaining an identity for HealthSouth after seven years and $3 billion of fraud. Ethics was not a subject covered in his undergraduate or graduate careers, but he noted that the topic can no longer be neglected in today's education. He also commented on Samford's Christian atmosphere regarding ethics.

"A Christian foundation in ethics is fundamental, and this transfers into the business world. It all comes down to individual decisions, so know the implication and rules of any company," Workman said.

Workman also described the restructuring processes of HealthSouth's management and how the company went from the worst to the best in corporate governance. He claims the company could come back from such losses because there is real value to the organization and a high quality standard for patient care.

"We never lost sight of this foundation," he said. Restructuring and getting HealthSouth back on its feet was Workman's toughest challenge in over 20 years of executive leadership experience, he said.

Workman is also part of Samford's Business Network, a network that connects Samford business alumni, Samford alumni and business professionals, and the business school's roundtable discussions for chief financial officers.

The purpose of the Dean's Leadership Series is to showcase extraordinary leaders who lead in exceptional and challenging ways. The next series guest is Chief Executive Officer of Motion Industries Bill Stevens, who is also Chairman of Samford's Board of Trustees and a member of the Business Advisory Board. He will speak on November 5, 2007 at 11:45 a.m. in Brock Forum. The series is free and open to the public.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.