Laura Pickens, vice president of marketing and public relations for St. Bernards, has been announced as the recipient of the 2014 Rising Star Award for Outstanding Young Strategy Professionals under the age of 40 from the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) of the American Hospital Association.
SHSMD President Mark Parrington presented the award to Pickens at the society’s annual conference in San Diego recently.
As a member of the corporate leadership team, Pickens oversees marketing, public relations, physician outreach, brand management and strategic planning for the medical center as well as all other St. Bernards’ affiliates and businesses that fall under the corporate umbrella of St. Bernards Healthcare. She has led the marketing and public relations efforts of St. Bernards through a period which has seen the explosion of social media. During her tenure, she has overseen strategic campaigns for the healthcare system, resulting in enhanced consumer awareness, brand position and digital media engagement.
Pickens currently is finishing her third term as president of the Arkansas Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations, a division of the Arkansas Hospital Association. She was named one of the leading Women in Business with Your Arkansas magazine and was named an Outstanding Young Executive by Northeast Arkansas Business Today. In addition, she received the honor of being named one of Arkansas’s 40 under 40 Business Leaders across the state in 2012 by Arkansas Business.
A graduate of The University of Mississippi, Pickens is a native of Winona, Miss. Before joining the staff at St. Bernards, she served as the first executive director of Healthcare Medical Group (HMG) and has worked in healthcare marketing for more than a decade. In her present position, she has played a key role in the development of Matthews Medical Mile, the premiere healthcare destination in the region with more than 100 medical businesses located within a mile-long strip of Matthews Avenue in Jonesboro.
She has contributed to St. Bernards Healthcare garnering numerous awards and recognitions, including “Best Places to Work” awards for 2013 and 2014 from Arkansas Business, “Official Healthcare Provider for A-State Athletics” from Arkansas State University and numerous awards from the Arkansas Hospital Association for marketing, including 11 Diamond Awards this last year.
Pickens has been active in numerous community civic, professional and philanthropic efforts. She currently serves as president-elect for the Downtown Jonesboro board of directors and is on the Regional Impact Committee for the United Way. She has served as president of the United Way of Northeast Arkansas, is on the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce membership services committee and is a graduate of the Leadership Jonesboro Class of 2000.
She is a member of the chamber’s Leadership Link and is a Chamber Goodwill Ambassador. In addition, Pickens is a life member of the Junior Auxiliary of Jonesboro and has has worked with several non-profits including The Learning Center, CityYouth, United Cerebral Palsy, March of Dimes, Arthritis Foundation and most recently The Miracle League of Jonesboro.
Pickens also is a member of the St. Bernards Advocates, where she has served on the board of directors, as well as the St. Bernards Women’s Council. She holds memberships in the American Advertising Federation-Northeast Arkansas, Phi Mu Alumnae Association of Northeast Arkansas and the Northeast Arkansas Ole Miss Alumni Association.
About the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development
The Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development is the premier organization for healthcare planners, marketers and communications and public relations professionals. A personal membership group of the American Hospital Association, SHSMD serves more than 4,000 members and is the largest organization in the nation devoted to serving the needs of healthcare strategy professionals. The society is committed to helping its members meet the future with greater knowledge and opportunity as their organizations work to improve health status and quality of life in their communities.