Alumni Profiles    
 


Denzil Ross, '06, MBA '09
      Park Promising Young Professional, 2012

The Park Promising Young Professional Award recognizes alumni who show exceptional promise of leadership and contribution to their profession and/or community. The recipient of this award will have graduated from Park within the last five years and be under the age of 35.

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College graduates are often asked the classic question: Where do you see yourself in 3 to 5 years?
Denzil Ross, '06, MBA '09 was once posed a bolder question: Where do you see yourself in the next 30 to 50 years? His confident response crystallized his career goal: “I see myself as a successful hospital CEO.”

It was this challenging follow-up question that set Ross on a courageous career pursuit: If you want to be a CEO, why aren’t you talking to CEOs? The question paved an uncommon path to his promising future with two Park degrees: an MBA with a focus on heath care administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer science.



President Michael Droge with
Denzil Ross, '06, MBA '09


For most college graduates, meeting with a busy CEO is a pipe dream.  Although Ross considered the idea “daunting,” he forged a plan. His secret? The informational interview. 

Looking back, Ross can effortlessly recite his sincere “spiel” upon hand-delivering his resume to Kansas City area hospitals: My name is Denzil Ross. I’m not looking for a job. I’m looking for 30 minutes with your CEO. If ever he/she could spare those 30 minutes, it would be greatly appreciated.

His persistence paid off. Within six months, Ross secured meetings with CEOs in eight hospitals. With intensive research and a strict 30-minute rule, Ross asked the CEOs questions such as, How did you get started in health care? What should I be learning? Where do you see health care going?

Yet, Ross knew that if he was offered a job, he likely couldn’t accept it.

Ross came to Park from Trinidad and Tobago on a basketball scholarship in 2002. He applied for a green card every year in hopes of establishing permanent residency in the U.S. “The random process is like a lottery, and the odds are slim with about 50,000 cards available to 300,000 applicants.”

Ross doubted his ability to return to Park for his masters because as an international student, he couldn’t work outside of school. A work-study position in Park’s Office of University Advancement made it possible and Ross’ proven campus leadership made him a perfect fit for the job.

As president of Park’s Student Ambassadors, Ross doubled membership and organized a Tsunami Relief Drive. He served as Student Government secretary and was a member of the World Student Union.  As a resident assistant, he developed “community builders” for a freshman floor to build camaraderie. In 2006, Ross received the Outstanding Parkite Award, the most prestigious honor bestowed on a graduating senior.

Throughout his masters, Ross persisted with informational interviews despite the green card uncertainty. “Knowledge is king no matter what,” he said. “I firmly believe that your network is your net worth.”

In 2007, Ross won the green card lottery. Yet it would be another two years before he received the card in March 2009, just before completing his MBA in May 2009 – and just in time to accept a job from Truman Medical Centers.

Thirty minutes with John Bluford, president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers, turned into three hours. After several interviews, Ross was named special assistant to the COO in May 2009. In January 2011, he was promoted to night administrator while continuing as a special assistant. “I know a lot about very long hours,” he said. In February 2012, Ross earned his third promotion as the assistant director of TMC’s Corporate Contact Center where he manages a staff of 55 to schedule all hospital appointments.

Ross continues to lend his natural leadership skills to Park as an Alumni Council member and Young Alumni Committee chair. He is co-vice president of the 100 Black Men of Greater Kansas City and member of the Kansas City Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Ross said nothing would have been possible without his faith in God and the encouragement of his wife, Dr. Dionne Ross, with whom he maintained a five-year relationship while he completed his MBA and she completed medical school in Trinidad. Finally together, they live in Kansas City where his wife is a pediatric resident at KU Medical Center.