Our weekly guide e to healthcare's most influential people No 55

Published: 31/01/2002, Volume II2, No. 5790 Page 20 21

Name: Carolyn Regan

Job: Chief executive, North East London strategic health authority

Style: Out and proud.Happy to speak out, not just as a lesbian chief exec, but also on the more contentious cash issue: 'I am constantly saying east London needs more money.'Writing to ministers over an inequalities formula that saw one of the country's most deprived areas miss out on£1.2m was typical.Hit headlines at West Hertfordshire HA when it threatened to dock the pay of a GP who issued NHS prescriptions for that favourite tabloid tablet, Viagra.The NHS Executive was not amused.Swims, cooks and used to make stained glass - 'you can hammer away'and let off steam, she says.

Background: Began her career stage-managing and directing with New Shakespeare Company of San Francisco.The frenetic pace and teamwork needed to put on Macbeth is 'very similar' to the NHS, she says.Three months'work at a London drugs clinic sparked a desire to join the NHS management training scheme in 1980.Set up a learning disabilities service with 100 staff from scratch at Riverside HA - 'one of the better things I've ever done'- then in 1989 moved to Ealing HA, where she rose from elderly-services manager to associate director of planning, then finally acting chief exec.A commissioning director post followed, before a switch to manage press and PR for Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow HA from 1993 to 1996.Three years as chief exec at West Herts and two running East London and the City HA led up to her SHA appointment.

Future prospects: Looks set to be one of the livelier SHA chief execs.'I'll still speak out and wave the banner for east London, ' she promises.