Brown Medicine CEO Kashmanian’s path to leadership was steered by mentors

TAKING NECESSARY STEPS: Brown Medicine CEO Ann M. Kashmanian says having a mentor, as well as being one, is important to climb the management ladder. 
PBN PHOTO/DAVID HANSEN
TAKING NECESSARY STEPS: Brown Medicine CEO Ann M. Kashmanian says having a mentor, as well as being one, is important to climb the management ladder. 
PBN PHOTO/DAVID HANSEN

2023 C-Suite Awards
Career Achiever: Ann M. Kashmanian | Brown Medicine CEO


IF IT TAKES A VILLAGE to raise a child, it takes equally committed supporters to mentor a career. As East Providence-based Brown Medicine’s CEO since 2018, Ann M. Kashmanian leads one of the state’s largest multispecialty medical groups with more than 200 doctors, as well as several patient care offices around Rhode Island. If you’ve visited a specialist – an endocrinologist for example, a gastroenterologist, or an infectious disease expert – chances are you’ve seen a Brown Medicine physician.

Having a mentor – and being one – is important in climbing the management ladder, Kashmanian says.

“You look for someone to help steer you. It’s crucial in becoming a leader that you have a team that you’re building,” she said. “People need to feel someone’s interested in their development.”

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Kashmanian nods to her first Lifespan Corp. job, as Newport Hospital’s treasurer and chief financial officer, as pivotal in illustrating this belief. Arthur Sampson, hospital president at the time, was a mentor to Kashmanian. “He had a vision about health care and great relationships with physicians,” she said. “I respected how he interacted with people.”

She says Dr. Louis P. Rice, Brown University’s chair of medicine, has also been influential. Kashmanian says Rice’s vision for Brown Medicine and his attitude toward senior management is that “we work for the doctors.”

Like many top professionals, Kashmanian, a Lincoln native, explored a slew of interests as an undergrad. She majored in art history at the College of the Holy Cross. Her parents believed in a liberal arts education, she says, which helped her become a good writer.

Always intrigued by numbers, Kashmanian also took economics classes. The deal was sealed when she realized she could do both, and graduated from Northeastern University with an MBA and a Master of Science in accounting.

Kashmanian began her career at KPMG LLP, an accounting firm where many of her clients were hospitals. It’s a complicated field, and hospital accounting strategies are challenging, she says.

“I was drawn to the industry because of their mission-driven purpose. I felt I could contribute,” Kashmanian said.

After holding top-level financial positions at Lifespan, Kashmanian was named Brown Medicine’s chief financial officer in 2016. When Rice stepped aside two years later, she became CEO, leading the group’s mission – providing high-level care, advancing medical knowledge and science, and developing medical cures. “It became clear that her talents in operations were as prodigious as her talents in finance,” Rice said.

Since then, the medical group has opened an endoscopy facility in East Providence, expanded services and locations to Smithfield and East Greenwich, and offered a same-day respiratory clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 didn’t change how she does her job because her role as an administrator is in supporting the group’s physicians, she says. It did change how the doctors interact with patients, however, shifting to telemedicine quickly because of a good administrative and information technology team, she says.

Staffing levels at Brown Medicine have climbed from 541 in 2020 to 611 in 2022, in part because of an increased number of providers, Kashmanian says. Gross revenue, on the other hand, has fluctuated between $94.4 million in 2020, $98.7 million in 2021 and $91 million in 2022.

Brown Medicine was helped by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which allowed the organization to stay open even as revenue from patient visits dropped during the pandemic, a decline that affected its bottom line, she says. Expansion plans will help address this, including a clinic to treat irritable bowel disease, and a lung institute, in partnership with Rhode Island Hospital.

With workdays starting as early as 7 a.m., Kashmanian does yoga and enjoys walking. It clears her head, she says. She also credits her husband, John, for being a big supporter.

“He’s always encouraged me to have faith in my abilities to take on more challenges and responsibility,” she said. And most challenging of all? “Being open to new ideas, having a good team, and following the mission. That’s why I enjoy coming to work every day,” she said.

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