The C Suite: Alfonso “Al” Cornish


Alfonso “Al” Cornish
Norton Healthcare

From our modest faith-based beginnings, Norton Healthcare has grown to be the area’s leading health care provider with some of the most advanced technologies and well-trained physicians, nurses and staff in the area.

Norton Healthcare includes five large hospitals, 13 Norton Immediate Care Centers and 190 physicians practice locations. Through their extensive reach, they are committed to caring for their patients and community.

1. How did your childhood prepare you for your work today?
I was very fortunate to have a great childhood. I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD. I came from a large family – two brothers and five sisters. My parents taught us three main doctrines that have guided my life.

First was education. Though my parents did not have a high school education but they instilled in us the importance and value of education. They believed in scholarship, pushed us to excel in school and made sure we all received our education. They demonstrated through their own sacrifices, the love that they had for each of us. That lesson of sacrifice to achieve a higher mission is one that has been central to my life.

Secondly, they also instilled in us the concept to work hard regardless if we were at home, school or on the athletic field. Hard work was equated with success. And finally, they provided us with a strong religious foundation. Our lives were always centered around the church. They taught us to believe in a higher power and to be good stewards of all that we were given (talents, treasures and time).

No matter what I have done in my life, these three principles have driven my behavior.

2. How do you define success?
Success for me is measured in the value I bring to the lives of others. I believe that I have been blessed by God to be a blessing to others. He has provided me with countless opportunities and exposures that have enabled me to experience the best of life. By no means is my life perfect, but the ability to assist and help my fellow man is at the root of the way I try to live my life every day. If I am successful at accomplishing that, I am a successful person.

3. What are four criteria that you believe are essential in leadership?
Integrity, Commitment, Vision and Engagement

4. What is one piece of advice you would give a young person who wants to become a future business leader?
I think the key to success is “proper preparation” for whatever you choose to do. I would encourage them to prepare for their professional lives, get as much education as they can and continue to be a life-long learner; because if there is one constant in life, it is that there is constant change. If you are not learning and growing, you are going backward and soon will be a relic.

5. Someday when they write your eulogy, you hope they say ………….
What I have written in my personal legacy statement:
Al was:
• A compassionate, loving, authentic and fun loving father, partner, friend and co-worker;
• A loving and caring leader who was able to touch and change people in the organizations that he served;
• The embodiment of the quote “Loved oneself from the very beginning so it became a life-long love affair;”
• A lover of God and had HIM as the “pilot” of his life;
• Committed to his community and provided whatever support necessary to make it a better place;
• Committed to helping and supporting his family, friends and co-workers to be all that they could be; and
• A person who enjoyed and embraced life, travelled extensively and lived every moment like it was his last.

Diane Tobin, Ph. D. is currently the Special Assistant to the President at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.  She is the former Executive Director of two non-profits, a co-owner of a for-profit business and a former Dean of the College of Business and Communication at Spalding University.