Person 2 Person | Stories - Person 2 Person: Linda Leckman
Sunday, October 27 2013, 11:05 PM MDT
Person 2 Person: Linda Leckman

The Athena award is given each year by the Salt Lake Chamber to a woman who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in business
This year Dr. Linda Leckman of Intermountain Healthcare has been named the winner of this award. This week Shauna Lake sits down with Dr. Leckman Person 2 Person. 

Below is a transcript of the interview.

SHAUNA LAKE: Linda, Dr. Leckman thank you so much for being with us today I just so appreciate your time. I know you're a very busy woman.

Linda Leckman: Well it's my pleasure to be here. Thank you.

SHAUNA LAKE: First and foremost I guess I should congratulate you on the Athena award that is a huge honor. How do you feel about it?

Linda Leckman: it is a huge honor and I am very appreciative obviously but I also realize there are many outstanding women in this community, some have already received the award some will receive it in the future and I think all of us realize that what we are, are simply representatives of teams with whom we work.

And you have had a long career in medicine. You started as an actual surgeon is that correct?

Linda Leckman: I actually came to Salt Lake City in 1977 for my general surgery residency and at the University of Utah I was the first woman to finish the general surgery residency

SHAUNA LAKE: What was it like to kind of be the only woman in that world at that time?

Linda Leckman: There were actually some funny things that happened. During my internship year, the first year I was meeting some of the surgeons at LDS hospital and one of them said to me you know doing a general surgery residency is a very hard way to get a husband. And I had to agree it was a hard way to get a husband.

SHAUNA LAKE: Do you feel encouraged that more and more woman are becoming surgeons and doctors and getting involved in the medical community?

Linda Leckman: Oh absolutely, in fact the year after my internship they took 3 women into the program. So I took that as a sign that I probably hadn't messed up too badly.

SHAUNA LAKE: Was medical school something you had always wanted to do even as little girl? How did that come about for you?

Linda Leckman: In high school I was a candy striper. I grew up in Oklahoma City and there was a large hospital where I was a candy striper and at that time candy stripers actually got to be involved with caring for patients. I mean it was limited; they were more like nurses assistants. When I started college I was a premed major and ended up in medical school

SHAUNA LAKE: Were your parents encouraging of you?

Linda Leckman: Oh no. You have to realize I was in college in the late 1960s, and my father had been a farmer.  It was totally outside his realm to think that his daughter number one would go to college or become a doctor. And so there was not really that support from him. My mother was always my strong support.

So you go from general surgeon then you get into this completely different line of work. What was going through your mind when you made that huge transition and change?

Linda Leckman:
I was kind of a Pollyanna I had very much been involved with the medical politics of the Utah medical association but what I really wanted to do was be able to contribute to how patients are cared for; to really make a difference in that part of it and to support in terms of being able to do that. So when this position of heading this employed physicians group was opened I thought I bet I could do that. And there were 7 applicants and I ended up getting the job. And I can tell you on my first day in that job I knew I had made the worst mistake ever.

SHAUNA LAKE: Why do you say that?

Linda Leckman:
I had no training for the job.

But you knew you could do it somewhere inside?

Linda Leckman: Oh yes ever confident, yes I did I know I could learn it because I had faith; faith that I could learn it, and a real interest in learning it.

So you have this huge job you've had this major career what do you do wellness wise to decompress and calm yourself down?

Linda Leckman:
I walk my dogs I have 2 elderly Labrador mixes and early in the morning late in the afternoon I walk my dogs and that's actually some of my best thinking time  I love to hike, I love to backpack I love to run rivers, snow shoe.

And tell me about your sons?

Linda Leckman: I have 2 wonderful sons. They are both here in salt lake one of them is appearing in a small production of Macbeth and he is Macbeth so I can't wait to see that and my other son has been working as an armed security officer.

SHAUNA LAKE: What would you tell your 18 year old version of yourself?

Linda Leckman
: I would say number one to maintain your integrity; privately and also very publicly. It's very important to do that. I would also say it's critical to be kind. I have seen people who are just kind of picking and picking; be kind. And I guess the last thing I would probably say is be sure and eat lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid those chocolate chip cookies

SHAUNA LAKE: Excellent advice to end on; Linda thanks so much. It's been so nice getting to know you person to person.

-Produced by Angie Dennison

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

Person 2 Person: Linda Leckman

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