A Study in Leadership in Three Acts

Headshot of Marianne Raimondo

From high-powered healthcare management executive to dean of RIC’s School of Business, Marianne Raimondo is blazing a path of innovation.

Preparation for leadership started early for the children of Joseph and Josephine Raimondo. Today, Marianne Raimondo ’09 M.S.W., the eldest, leads RIC’s School of Business; her brother, Thomas Raimondo, is a noted pulmonologist; and her sister, Gina Raimondo, is Rhode Island’s first female governor and current U.S. secre­tary of commerce.

first act

As a young girl, Marianne Raimondo once asked her father, a longtime chemist and chief of materials science at the Bulova Watch Company in Providence, why he rose so early each morning from their Greenville home to head off to work. She says his answer provided her with her first example of what it means to be a leader.

“He said he had guys on the shop floor and in the lab and he had to be there for them. As a young kid, it showed me that being a leader is about being there for those who work for and with you. My father was there helping, coaching and teaching his team members,” she says.

Raimondo’s mother served as a worthy example, as well.

“In the 1950s mom went to Bryant College at a time when few women attended col­lege,” she says.

“She went on to become executive secre­tary in the Office of Personnel at the U.S. Rubber Corporation until she became pregnant. In those days, once you became pregnant, they made you quit. So, she became a stay-at-home mom. After my grandmother passed away, my grand­father moved in for 25 years and mom became his caretaker as he got older.”

In the Raimondo household, education was paramount.

“My siblings and I were encouraged to study and do our best,” she says. “I wouldn’t say there was pressure to succeed, but we were encouraged to keep getting better.”

Raimondo learned another lesson in leader­ship as a teenager waitressing at the Galilee Beach Club.

“The chef would make food and then ask all of us, mostly teenagers, ‘What do you think? How does it taste? How does it look?”’ she says. “I was struck by that and thought, ‘What do I know? I’m just a kid.’ However, later in life, I realized that this chef was empower­ing us by engaging us. And that’s how I lead now, by listening and engaging.”

second act

Like her father, Raimondo earned a bach­elor’s degree in chemistry at Providence College. It wasn’t until she had enrolled in a doctoral program in analytical chemistry at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst that she realized chemistry wasn’t her calling.

She ended up earning a master’s degree in epidemiology/biostatistics at UMass. Epidemiology is the branch of medicine that deals with the incidence, distribution and possi­ble control of diseases and other factors relating to health. After graduation, Raimondo began working in healthcare. Along the way, she earned a Ph.D. in public health/health policy and man­agement at UMass.

Raimondo rose through the healthcare ranks to become vice president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, an organization that assists member hospitals with meeting the healthcare needs of Rhode Islanders through advocacy, representation, education and services.

She later joined a national healthcare manage­ment consulting firm, climbing to the role of vice president/partner of the firm.

“As the only female member of the senior man­agement team, I was constantly challenged and discredited,” she says.

Another battle she faced was convincing CEOs to focus on quality assurance issues.

“Like any other organization, hospitals and healthcare companies have to balance a budget and make a profit and sometimes qual­ity is compromised,” Raimondo says. “When I got into the healthcare field, manufacturers were ahead of healthcare when it came to qual­ity improvement methods. I brought their methods to healthcare organizations. I was often bucking the system in persuading CEOs to get on board. I did a lot of pioneering and challenging work in the early 90s.”

At age 39, Raimondo married the love of her life, David Jasinski, a health­care administrator. At age 41, pregnant with their first child, Gianna, Raimondo decided to leave her consulting firm. Her son, Peter, was born a year later.

“I had enough clients to start my own con­sulting practice,” she says, “which I ran for seven years.” Raimondo also taught reli­gious education at her church.

“One day, the director of religious educa­tion approached me and said, ‘I’m retiring. Would you like this job?’ Initially, I was thinking, ‘No, I’m going back to healthcare management.’ Then I decided to take the job and to continue my healthcare con­sulting part time.”

It was her work at the church that influ­enced her to consider adding another field to her healthcare career – social work.

“As director of religious education, I helped families who were having prob­lems with finances, substance abuse, their marriage or their spiritual needs, but at the end of the day, what they needed was counseling,” she says.

That realization prompted Raimondo to enroll in RIC’s School of Social Work at age 50. She earned her M.S.W. degree in 2009 and went on to become a licensed clinical social worker.

third act

“I went from consulting CEOs of healthcare organizations to being a social worker sitting at the bedside of hospice patients,” she says. “While visiting every nursing home in Rhode Island, I saw all the management and quali­ty-of-care issues I had been consulting about for years, but it wasn’t my role anymore to address such issues with administrators, and it was difficult to bite my tongue.”

When a healthcare administration faculty position at RIC opened up in 2013, Raimondo saw it as an opportunity to marry her training in social work with healthcare. “It was also an opportunity to teach future generations about how to improve healthcare,” she says.

In 2014 Raimondo established the Institute for Education in Healthcare at Rhode Island College. It is a regional model for training current and future healthcare profession­als. Now in its seventh year, the institute has gained recognition for training healthcare providers and social service organizations across the state and has been praised for its programs in leadership development, behavioral health, aging, dementia, case management and other programs.

Raimondo says, “When the institute first started, we partnered with the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, who contacted healthcare organizations across the state and asked them what their training needs were, and we listened,” she says. “At the time, behavioral health was the top concern everywhere. I feel like our institute has had an impact. Our challenge now is to grow and build capacity.”

In fall 2022 Raimondo was appointed dean of the college’s School of Business by RIC President Jack Warner.

“My challenge, as dean, is to make sure the cur­riculum is contemporary and meets the needs of businesses today and in the future, and I want to make sure our students are prepared to land jobs. I’m confident we can grow and move forward,” she says.

Tonya Glantz, who now serves as interim director of the Institute for Education in Healthcare, says Raimondo’s work ethic, compassion and just-do-it spirit has been a tremendous asset at Rhode Island College.

“I have long admired the way she truly cares about RIC students, how she goes above and beyond to ensure that they receive a quality education and, more importantly, connect them to meaningful experiential learning opportunities,” Glantz says. “She sets the bar high and she sets an example that should not only be applauded but emulated.”

So, what is Raimondo’s fourth act? Some pieces of it are already taking shape: the School of Business will launch a new sports management major and new cybersecurity major in the fall, and the college was recently approved for funding to create the Institute for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies, which will also be housed under the School of Business. With a leader as innovative and multifaceted as Raimondo, anything is possible.