A leader with vision

Hockaday and her team recently visited with the Sisters of St. Scholastica to document the history of St. Anthony’s as remembered by the remaining sisters who worked there. They were accompanied by Dr. Charles Wells, a physician who worked at St. Anthony’s for most of his 50-year career. This visit was a special one for Hockaday. Not only was she traveling with the doctor who delivered her, but she also got to meet the remaining sister who helped with her delivery at St. Anthony’s.

At a young age, Hockaday appreciated the healthcare field and held a dental assistant position at the age of 16. After graduating from Morrilton High School, she attended the University of Central Arkansas, where she majored in chemistry and music. She received a bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and worked in direct patient care for seven years. During this time she attended graduate school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and achieved a master’s degree in health services administration. 

After graduate school she completed an administrative fellowship with Sparks Health System in Fort Smith and later followed that experience by accepting an administrative and business development position at Conway Regional Medical Center.

“It was at these places where I began to grow as a leader and learned how to get work accomplished through others,” Hockaday said. “With the right people on the right team doing the right work, much can be achieved.”

Hockaday first learned about the open position from St. Anthony’s previous CEO. 

“I was on the phone with the previous CEO, who had phoned me personally about the position, when my dad walked into my office with a newspaper announcing the CEO’s resignation,” Hockaday said. “It was at that moment I knew this was the right direction to take.”

She began working for St. Anthony’s in January 2007. Under her leadership, St. Anthony’s has undergone a complete internal renovation, seen growth in services and continues to be a leader in quality care.

“Under a leadership change there is always an opportunity for new growth and direction,” Hockaday said. “The people who work at St. Anthony’s give enormous effort and talent to the healing mission every day. Without them we would not have accomplished all that we have today.”

St. Anthony’s has renovated patient rooms and the rehabilitation department and is working to improve and grow the emergency department. There have also been significant increases in surgical, rehabilitation and out-patient services. This past year St. Anthony’s received the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care Innovator Award and was recently recognized by AFMC in its quarterly rank in state as third among 29 Arkansas Critical Access Hospitals and fifth among 74 Arkansas hospitals.

Hockaday, who is a senior member of the St. Vincent Health System executive team, sees part of this growth due to being part of the St. Vincent Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives.

“There are many opportunities in St. Anthony’s future,” Hockaday said. “With the contributions from St. Vincent, we are able to provide services found in larger facilities right here in Morrilton.”

St. Anthony’s is not the only way Hockaday gives back to the Morrilton community. As chairman of the board of the Conway County Economic Development Corporation, Hockaday has led the board to achieve community development progress by integrating its work with the Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce, city council and Conway County Quorum Court.

Hockaday and her husband, Chris, serve together in their faith by using their skills and experiences in music to lead the worship ministry team at Faith Church in Conway. As a lifelong learner in music that began at the age of 4 and included church music, community arts and university music, Hockaday describes music as part of her “soul.”

Hockaday has a passion for progress that can be seen in everything she touches. From the improvements and growth at St. Anthony’s to her involvement with the CCEDC board, Hockaday is committed to the growth of the local community.

“I want to give back to the community that gave so much to me.”