Giving People Purpose

Louis Shapiro purposely set out to take New York's Hospital of Special Surgery from good to great, but before the new president and CEO could lead, he had to listen and learn.

Success Magazine—March 8, 2011

On Louis Shapiro’s third day as the president and CEO of the celebrated Hospital for Special Surgery, a single-engine light aircraft owned by New York Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle crashed into the Belaire apartments. The apartments are connected to the Manhattan hospital by guest facilities for patients’ family members. Lidle and his flight instructor were killed, and 21 people were injured, including 11 firefighters.

The new executive was about to see his nationally acclaimed team in action.

“I remember I was meeting with someone, and we were interrupted with the news that a helicopter may have hit our building. I said to myself, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Am I dreaming?’ ” Shapiro recalls. “What the experience told me, however, was that no matter what, you always need to remain calm. You have to stop for a moment and develop a plan, show leadership. Fortunately, that is what happened. The way we responded made me proud of the people who are here.”

That pride in the people of Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) has continued to drive Shapiro in the way he leads the oldest orthopedic hospital in the United States to be the best at helping people get “back to doing what they love to do,” he says.

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