President and CEO, Wellstar Health System
Candice L. Saunders is president and CEO of Wellstar Health System, based in Marietta, Ga., and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). As president and CEO of one of the largest and most integrated health systems in Georgia, Saunders provides leadership for the 25,000 team members that oversee the health and well-being of people and communities across the state.
Saunders, who began her career as a critical care nurse, joined Wellstar as president of Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in May 2007. As a result of her experience and strong leadership, she was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer for Wellstar Health System in 2013. In 2015, she assumed the role of president and CEO.
Saunders has built her career around improving community access to vital healthcare needs, implementing new care models and programs to address consumer health issues, and integrating health delivery processes to improve operational efficiencies and enhance the patient care experience. From the boardroom to the operating room, and across Wellstar Health System, Saunders is a champion for delivering world-class healthcare for every person, every time.
Under Saunders’ leadership, Wellstar has been recognized as a leader in safety and quality measures, and as a great place to work. She served on the American Hospital Association (AHA) Board of Trustees and as chair of AHA’s Regional Policy Board (RPB) for Region 4 from 2018 – 2020. She has been recognized by numerous organizations for her leadership and has been named to Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women Leaders, Georgia Trend Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Georgians, and Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Most Admired CEOs lists. She has been honored as one of The 25 Most Influential Atlantans by The Atlantan Magazine, one of The Atlanta 500 and a Woman of Distinction by Atlanta Magazine, Healthcare Champion by the National Association of Female Executives, and was a recipient of the W. Daniel Baker Leadership Award by the Georgia Hospital Association.
Saunders has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of South Florida and master’s degrees in business administration and health services administration from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She and her husband Don live in Cobb County and have two adult sons.