Louise Woerner '64, Blazing a Trail for Business Women
by Susie P. Gonzalez
When she graduated in 1964, Louise Woerner was the only woman in her class who had majored in business administration. After leaving San Antonio, she went to the University of Chicago to pursue a Master’s of Business Administration, which she thought would be her ticket to business success. The world was different back then. She wore gloves and a hat whenever she went downtown. And then something happened that even today’s business graduates could appreciate – she had trouble securing a business loan, so she opened her business in 1978 with a credit card.
Today, Woerner is chairwoman and chief executive officer of Health Care Resources in Rochester, N.Y., a home health-care company whose employees are involved in the care and case management of patients dealing with chronic conditions or recovering from surgery. As part of her job, she has schooled herself in public health policy.
She recalls her Trinity education as being a very broadening experience. “As a young woman, heading across country from Rochester, New York, to San Antonio, Texas, was quite an adventure,” she says, noting that her early exposure to people of different cultures and ideas helped her realize that people may share the same goals without sharing the same viewpoint. “Education should be about growing as an individual, as well as learning of a specific subject matter,” she recalls. “I experienced both while going to school at Trinity.”
On her first day of class, Introduction to Business 101, the professor said, “Management is getting things done through people.” Over the years, she has reflected upon what seemed like a simple statement at the time, but Woerner says it still holds true: she is still trying to get things done through people! She also notes that much in life revolves around relationships, some of which she has strengthened through various volunteer positions in her community. Her company is considered a good corporate citizen and has won awards such as Employer of the Year from the Private Industry Council. In addition, she has been recognized for her achievements by being the first non-nurse inducted into the American Academy of Nursing and the first woman inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame.