Bellin Region President Chris Woleske has been awarded the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA)’s Distinguished Service Award for her enduring impact on healthcare at the state and local levels.
WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding surprised Woleske with the accolade Tuesday, Jan. 30 during the Bellin and Gundersen Health System Board of Directors meeting in Green Bay. Awarded annually, the Distinguished Service Award honors senior healthcare executives who have made an exemplary commitment to WHA and the communities they serve.
In presenting the award, Borgerding said, “I have seen Chris in action, firsthand, for many years as a WHA member and in her role on the WHA Board. Her strong commitment to advancing healthcare goes well beyond her own organization and the Green Bay area. Chris’ exceptional leadership has made a broader impact for our state. It is my honor to be presenting her with this well-deserved award.”
Woleske joined Bellin Health in 1998 and has served in many leadership roles including general counsel, executive vice president leading hospital services and chief operating officer prior to her appointment as the president and chief executive officer in 2018. She became executive vice president of Bellin and Gundersen Health System and president of the Bellin Region when the two health systems merged in late 2022. As a member of Bellin’s executive leadership team, she has been involved in strategic planning and operational execution of key initiatives for Bellin Hospital, Bellin Medical Group, Bellin Specialty Group, Bellin Psychiatric Center and Bellin Health Oconto Hospital. Woleske has been honored for her leadership and commitment to the community and is a
recipient of the following awards, among others:
- Chamber of Commerce Athena Award (2017)
- American College of Healthcare Executives Regents Award (2020)
- Brown County United Way 2020 Campaign Leadership of the Year Award (2020)
- Wisconsin Chapter of the Harvard Business School Leader of the Year Award (2021)
- Nancy Armbrust Impact Award (2021)
- Green Bay Area Public School District Friend of Education Award (2022)
- Marquette Law Alumna of the Year Award (2022)
- Green Bay Rotary Free Enterprise Award (2022)
Woleske is a member of the Wisconsin Hospital Association Board of Directors, Green Bay Packers Board of Directors, Marquette University Board of Directors and Krueger International, Inc. Board of Directors.
Woleske was nominated for the award by Dr. Scott Rathgaber, CEO of Bellin and Gundersen Health System. In his letter of nomination, Rathgaber said, “It is apparent that Chris Woleske represents every quality listed as criteria for this award. She has shown a commitment to her community and the healthcare industry at large to improve care for all. She has been an inspirational leader in her organization, in her community, at the state and national level, and at WHA.”
Since the award’s establishment, it has recognized a number of distinguished healthcare leaders throughout Wisconsin, including former Bellin Health President and CEO George Kerwin in 2018. Award criteria include leadership in WHA and other statewide organizations, leadership in meeting and understanding broad-based community health needs, leadership growth in the awardee’s health system and recognition shown by others in commitments to broad-based healthcare activities. Award recipients receive a $500 donation to the charity of their choice and are presented with a special recognition award.