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Thursday, October 17, 2013 - Munson Executive Vice President Retires


Kathleen McManus holds her granddaughter, Sophia, at her retirement tea.

Munson Executive Vice President Retires After 40-Year Career
Kathleen McManus: ‘I Have Many Interests I Would Like to Pursue’

One word seems to sum up the four decades of Kathleen McManus’ career – distinction.

The Executive Vice President of Munson Medical Center stepped down from her role at Munson Medical Center on Thursday, Oct. 17. Munson Healthcare President and CEO Ed Ness said he has appreciated her clinical leadership skills.

“I want to thank her for really being the clinical and operational rock of Munson Medical Center,” he said. “She has been able to successfully address complex and emergent issues while always keeping the patient and provider in mind. I believe that a lot of Munson’s recognition in clinical quality would not have been possible without Kathleen’s leadership.”

McManus’ legacy includes a list of leadership roles at the hospital, community leadership, professional respect, and brick-and-mortar buildings marked by her ability to organize, promote, and foster collaboration. She leaves with continued enthusiasm for life, and optimism for the health care business and those who choose it as a career.

“I’ve been in health care for 40 years. We have seen many changes during that time and now the changes are coming quickly,” she said. “It has a mission where one can actually visualize the good that is being done in the lives of people. Those individuals who get in on the ground floor now, as we transform how we provide health care, will find it is an exciting position to be in.”

Looking back at her time at Munson Medical Center, she sees three projects that stand out as marks of distinction. She provided administrative leadership for the Emergency Department project that went from four floors to seven in 2006. She served as the administrative lead on the the Smith Breast Health Care Center that opened on Valentine’s Day 2008, and most recently the cardiology practice integration with Munson Medical Center.

“Building the Emergency Department was a highlight because of all the changes that were involved with that. We had a terrific group of people that became engaged and passionate about making it happen. The Smith Family Breast Health Center was the same thing, the donors, volunteers, and Smith family were just delightful to work with. The Smith family really connected with our mission at the center, and still do,” she said. “The continued growth of Cardiology Services in our region has been a benefit to Munson, but also a significant benefit to the regional hospitals. It has been successful because of the true partnership with our physicians.”

During her 22-year career at Munson Medical Center, McManus has held five leadership positions. Prior to joining Munson, she was in a leadership position at Traverse City Osteopathic Hospital. She also earlier held numerous positions in Chicago and southern Michigan. Early in her career she served as a public health nurse in the projects in Benton Harbor.

People who know her understand her leadership style means she is not above grabbing napkins to clean up a spill that someone else made on the Cafeteria floor, or helping a patient or visitor she encountered in the hall find their way to a destination.

In addition to her role at the hospital, McManus also for several years has served as president of North Flight EMS. Director Joel Baille said he is glad she did.

“I’ve spent one-third of my career working with Kathleen. She is the finest administrator I have ever had the privilege to work with,” he said.

Director of Nursing Practice and Development Jennifer Standfest, MSN, RN, said McManus encouraged her development and growth, and listened to her ideas.

“Watching her meet the demands of this organization, as well as seeing her involvement with professional organizations, and community groups is really inspiring,” she said. “I have heard Kathleen refer to Munson as a jewel within our community. When you see her say that, it is so clear she fully believes that and absolutely considers it her personal duty to maintain and enhance that jewel. I have also personally appreciated in one or two situations in which I was fretting about kindergarten graduation or a child’s event, she has without hesitation said, ‘Go.’”

In a 2005 interview, McManus was asked to describe herself using one word. She chose “passionate.” She plans to carry that passion into retirement.

“I’m not one dimensional. I have many interests I would like to pursue,” she said. “I would like to connect in a more meaningful way with family and friends. The demands of a career carry rewards and a downside – not being able to spend the time you would like with family and friends.”

When her two children were young, she found time to coach soccer, lead an Olympics of the Mind team, and help with Grand Traverse Catholic School planning. Over the years she has served on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, as chairperson of the Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation Board, and chairperson of the Michigan Organization of Nurse Executives.

Don’t look for her in a rocking chair.

“I will definitely be involved in organizations in our community,” she said. “I’m also still going to be a nurse. I will continue to get my continuing education and always be a nurse.”