Isaac and Lois Mallah moved to Tampa in 1976 when he took a one-year internship with St. Joseph’s Hospital as part of his master’s degree program in healthcare administration. At the end of his internship, CEO Sister Marie Celeste offered Isaac a one-year appointment, after which he was asked to stay. Since then, Isaac has had responsibility for every function in the hospital and eventually became president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1997 until his retirement in 2013.
Isaac could have become CEO faster by moving from hospital to hospital, a typical career path for many administrators, but he and Lois decided stability for their family was more important than a title. “I was never driven by the title as much as I was by doing something that was meaningful, that I enjoyed, and by working with people, I respected,” Isaac says. So St. Joseph’s kept offering him ways to grow. “The hospital expanded not only regarding physical size, but also in services, scope, size of its medical staff, and complexity. It provided all the things I needed professionally.”
The couple describes themselves as homebodies who love to go out to eat and spend time with their two children. Both still live in the Tampa area. Lois’s passion is cooking and baking. Isaac’s is to find recreational activities that turn his focus away from work and help him recharge. He plays golf, builds computers, details cars, and design editing software.
Lois is accommodating of these passions that Isaac calls his “craziness” because she knows he can’t sit still, and they help him manage the challenging task of positioning the hospitals to ensure their long-term survival and prosperity. “Being responsible for the legacy of the Sisters, making sure we can continue the organization’s quality health care mission, and keeping 5,000 people employed are responsibilities I take very seriously,” says Isaac.
The garden atrium at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North is named for Isaac and Lois Mallah.