She has four academic degrees: a bachelor’s in international politics, a master’s in public health and a pair of additional graduate’s. She speaks two foreign languages—Norwegian and Spanish. She travels the world.
President Liv Vesely took over the reins of the Jupiter Medical Center Foundation in 2015 and launched a $300 million campaign to transform the hospital into a world-class regional facility, serving residents from West Palm Beach to Stuart. Prior to that, she held high-profile positions at Mount Sinai Health System in New York and Western Connecticut Health Network. This month, she will run her fourth Ironman race in Arizona.
“If there’s a theme here, it’s that I like to be challenged,” she says. “I need to be challenged mentally, physically. That’s why I took this job—it’s a challenge.”
To say that Vesely has risen to the challenge would be an understatement. She has helped facilitate more than $160 million in private donations, pushing the campaign past its halfway point. She has grown the foundation’s staff threefold, from six employees to 18. Under construction are the Anderson Family Cancer Institute, the Mastroianni Family Pediatric Emergency Department, the James J. Felcyn and Louise Brien Felcyn Observation Unit, and a five-story patient tower housing a Level II neonatal intensive-care unit.
“I had a chance to develop something here,” she says. “We built a campaign to raise money, and we have been successful. It’s all about establishing relationships.”
The campaign, “Vision. Innovation. Impact.,” will bring a comprehensive stroke center to the hospital—the first in northern Palm Beach County—and will expand cardiac care so patients in need of lifesaving treatments do not have to leave the community to get them.
“The thing we hear all the time from residents is, ‘I don’t want to go to a major medical center,’” Vesely says. “Now, they don’t have to.”
Her goals include creating a “hybrid” hospital model at Jupiter Medical Center that results in a welcoming experience with a hometown vibe and simultaneously delivering stellar services by top-notch physicians.
“The community has to believe in what you’re doing and the impact it will have,” Vesely says. “We have to show that the vision is continuing.”
Despite the long hours she works in the midst of the campaign, the wife and mother of an 8-year-old daughter finds time every day to train for the Ironman, a grueling triathlon that consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile run.
“I feel like I work harder here than in New York, but I don’t feel it,” Vesely says. “When you look around our area and see all of the beauty, it’s like you’re on vacation.”
The 49-year-old, whose background includes public relations positions at Estée Lauder in Mexico and Cigar Aficionado magazine in the Dominican Republic, where she met her husband, also aspires to write a book.
“It’s something that’s on the bucket list,” Vesely says. “One day, I’ll get to it.”