Anne Marie McKenzie-Brown MD 91R 25EMBA

Each year, the Executive Women of Goizueta gifts at least one student with their namesake scholarship. The organization, which celebrated 20 years in 2023, provides a supportive environment for women business leaders in their graduate studies and hosts events for networking and learning.

Scholarship candidates are nominated from Goizueta’s Executive MBA, perhaps without their knowledge, which makes receiving a letter stating you won the scholarship all the sweeter.

“I was stunned to realize that I was nominated for the scholarship,” says this year’s recipient Anne Marie McKenzie-Brown MD 91R 25EMBA 91R. “I checked the email many times to make sure they had the right person.”

They certainly did: McKenzie-Brown is not only a dedicated student in the EMBA program, but she also carries a wealth of knowledge and experience in the healthcare field that began when she graduated from medical school in 1987.

Now, she’s a professor of anesthesiology and the vice chair of professional development for Emory’s Department of Anesthesiology.

A History in Healthcare

McKenzie-Brown comes from a family of hard workers—she learned her determination and work ethic by observing her parents. The family left Jamaica at the end of McKenzie-Brown’s time in high school. But her father left beyond even more—his anesthesiologist practice and the legacy he created as founder of the Jamaica Anesthetist Association.

When they arrived in Maryland, her father had to start all over. He became a resident again at the age of 56.

Though her mom was not in the medical field, she was the one who encouraged McKenzie-Brown to pursue her passion for pain management and helping others.

“She was my strength,” shares McKenzie-Brown.

Her mother started her career in America as a bank teller. Despite having no previous experience, she worked her way up to become vice president of human resources.

I am thankful for the many women throughout my career who encouraged me to try ‘one more time,’ who supported my career when I was filled with uncertainty.

Anne Marie McKenzie-Brown

While working as the director of the Grady Pain Clinic, McKenzie-Brown had two pregnancies and a miscarriage. She says her supervisor at the time was unsupportive about what she was going through. Because of these experiences, McKenzie-Brown now ensures she’s the kind of leader who supports working mothers. 

“We need leaders who are encouraging, who meet people where they are. We need to see them for who they are and help them achieve their highest potential,” she says.

McKenzie-Brown started her career directing the pain clinic at Grady. She then opened a satellite pain clinic in Fayette County. That move led her to become the clinical director of the Emory Pain Center. She then progressed to take on the role of pain division chief and program director for the Emory Pain Fellowship. As program director, she overhauled the fellowship curriculum—a controversial decision. However, that adjustment has led to collaboration across the university. One of the graduates is now the pain division chief.

“I am proud to have been involved in developing the careers of many female faculty, first in our division and now in the department.”

McKenzie-Brown’s current role is professor and vice chair of professional development at Emory University School of Medicine. She enjoys having the opportunity to inspire other faculty who may feel stuck in their careers as she once did. While McKenzie-Brown has now achieved full professorship, her path to that goal was long and full of challenges.

 “My desire is to give back the lessons that I have learned. I want to help clear the path for other women leaders,” she shares.

The Foreign Language of Finance

McKenzie-Brown admits that she has long dreamed of getting her MBA. However, she put off her return to the classroom until her two daughters were adults.

McKenzie-Brown first planted the seed of continuing education when she was a division chief in the Department of Anesthesiology. She struggled to understand the financial aspect of running the division. She soon realized that in order to achieve her leadership goals, she needed the continuing education to bridge the knowledge gap.

“While medicine is a service industry, I wanted to be fiscally responsible as a leader,” she says. “I also aspire to be a leader in our healthcare system. I would like to understand the thought process of the large-scale financial decisions and the strategy behind those decisions.”

In 2023, McKenzie-Brown earned her Business of Healthcare certificate from Goizueta. The program is designed for existing healthcare professionals and only requires four courses, often taken over the span of less than three months. Courses cover cost and performance measurements in healthcare, continuous operations improvements, and how to be a strategic leader. Students can also apply the credits toward the EMBA degree.

“We have encouraged a growth mindset in our children,” McKenzie-Brown shares. “I wanted my girls to see me living out this principle of life-long learning, even though it’s hard. The program is challenging, and I have loved every minute of it.”

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Alexandra Shimalla
Alexandra Shimalla is a freelance higher education journalist.