In high school, Leslie Huitt thought about going to medical school. But she was drawn to finance through her exposure to her family’s business and interaction with certified public accountants.
More than 20 years later, her career path merged those early interests. Huitt was hired as controller at Bradley County Medical Center in Warren in May 2019 and promoted to chief financial officer a year later.
Named as interim chief executive officer of the hospital in November 2021, she became CEO seven months later. Huitt, a CPA, credits non-accounting experience as foundational to preparing her for the dual role as CEO and CFO.
Huitt returned to the classroom in August 2007 as a math teacher for the Hermitage School District. She considers the time spent teaching geometry, algebra II and more to high schoolers and middle school students among the most valuable of her career.
“Looking back, I’ve had some unique experiences,” said Huitt, who grew up in Warren and Hermitage. “Five years in a classroom, you might wonder how that prepares you to be a CFO. That’s where I really learned patience and how to work with people. Those type experiences prepare us for the path we need to be on. Some people might wonder how did [teaching] get me from college and an accounting degree to CFO? I think it was one of the biggest learning experiences I had.”
In 2012, the school district was in fiscal distress, and she accepted the offer to help put its financial affairs in order as treasurer and business manager.
Huitt graduated in 2002 from the University of Arkansas at Monticello with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She followed that in 2006 with a master’s in business administration from Harding University in Searcy while working at Murphy Oil Corp. in El Dorado.