Senior Client Partner and Sector Leader, Healthcare Board Services

Jena Abernathy is a Senior Client Partner.  She serves as the Sector Leader for Board Services in the Healthcare Practice and is a member of the firm’s Board & CEO Practice.

Ms. Abernathy spent more than 25 years in senior-level executive management roles in finance, manufacturing, and healthcare services companies. As an organizational and performance excellence expert, Jena brings a unique skill set as a strategic adviser for clients seeking C-suite and boardroom talent.

Ms. Abernathy is a seasoned business leader and healthcare leadership expert.  Most recently she served as a consultant in the CEO, board and healthcare services practice for a national executive search firm. In addition to board development, succession, and board search assignments, she has also successfully led an extensive number of marquee CEO searches across the country, working with boards and designated search committee members to identify their next exceptional leader. In addition, she has led C-suite and executive-level searches for hospitals, health systems, behavioral health centers, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals, foundations, associations, private equity, and other healthcare-related entities.

Before joining the leadership advisory profession, Ms. Abernathy was chief administrative officer for Premier, a performance improvement national alliance of hospitals and health systems, for nearly 10 years. She was responsible for developing, implementing, and managing a comprehensive suite of human resources services and solutions, benefits and compensation, regulatory compliance and employment law and organizational development. In addition, she oversaw marketing, conference services and facilities. Most notably, she served as the executive lead for Premier’s successful Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Earlier, she held significant change and transformation roles in senior executive management positions with McKesson General Medical Corporation and Fisher Scientific International.

Ms. Abernathy is a noted leadership expert, author, and frequent speaker, and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Becker’s Hospital Review, CBS MoneyWatch,, Fortune, Trustee Magazine, and many other leading media outlets, as well as featured in Warren Bennis’ Leadership Excellence Magazine.

Ms. Abernathy graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with a bachelor of science in business administration. She is the author of The Inequality Equalizer, published by Ankerwycke/American Bar Association, which provides practical, real-world career advice. In addition, Jena served on the board of directors for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the advisory board for MedShare and is currently serving on the board of directors for The Parkinson’s Foundation and is the Chair of the Compensation Committee.