Keena Johnson ’06 works as a controller at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He is responsible for the budget and works closely with the patient care team to ensure they have the resources needed to deliver exceptional care.
Graduating cum laude from Carthage with accounting and business degrees, Mr. Johnson uses the critical thinking skills he acquired at Carthage to problem solve the unique challenges that COVID-19 has brought forth, especially for hospitals. Because of the constantly changing rules and regulations, Mr. Johnson has depended on high-level communication and problem-solving skills which he credits Professor David Brunn for instilling in him.
While at Carthage, Mr. Johnson was actively involved in the men’s basketball team as well as many committees and social groups. He thanks his classmates and teachers for encouraging and supporting him while pursuing his goals.
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
“I’ve enjoyed the continuous learning. I work in an administrative role but work closely with medical professionals and learn new things from them every day. It’s also fulfilling to know that the role I play contributes to helping people every day.”
How did Carthage prepare you?
“My overall experience at Carthage helped prepare me for my career. I played basketball, graduated cum laude, and was very active in committees and other social groups. Just being able to juggle all of those responsibilities helped prepare me for my career. Also, my advisor/mentor, Prof. Brunn, played a huge role in helping me shape the decisions I made post-graduation.”
Why did you choose Carthage?
“I chose Carthage because I wanted to be part of its basketball team.”
What opportunities were made possible because of your Carthage experience?
“I have great relationships that I made at Carthage that I still have today. I also don’t think I would have gone into public accounting and became a CPA if it wasn’t for my Carthage experience (classmates, teachers, etc.) which was the springboard that got me to where I am today.”
How has your liberal arts education benefitted you?
“I work in a hospital so critical thinking and attacking problems are daily activities. As COVID-19 struck us last year we had to be able to pivot on a daily basis to ensure we have the capacity to care for our patients. This sometimes called for high-level communication, creative problem-solving solutions, and the ability to just be nimble. In the end, we were able to manage the crisis as well as any hospital in the nation. I like to think that my background at Carthage prepared me for these types of moments.”
What Carthage professors played a part in your success and how?
“Prof. Brunn. He was a brilliant and great mentor to me. I really don’t think I would be where I am today without his guidance.”
Tips for current Carthage students:
“Jump in feet first and step out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to stay in a bubble and just try to get in and get out of college. The experience of college is as important as the books and the grades. So get out there and meet people that don’t look like you, ask questions, build relationships, and try to leave Carthage better than when you got there.”
Favorite Carthage memories:
What role have the values in Carthage's mission, "Seeking Truth, Building Strength, Inspiring Service — Together" played in your life?
“That’s a mission we should all embrace. I think it is something I strive to achieve every day. In today’s climate it is easy to get jaded and give up, but at the core of the mission is a lifelong commitment to be better, do better, and help others. That’s how I try to live my life.”