The MA-RI HFMA Chapter honored five long-term volunteers with Lifetime Membership at the annual awards dinner in May. These five volunteers, Robert Ellertsen, FHFMA, Kathleen Maher, Gerry O’Neill, FHFMA, Thomas Pearson, FHFHMA, and Thomas Zubricki, have devoted countless hours to helping our chapter succeed. This is the third in a series of blog posts spotlighting our newest Lifetime Members. You can read our first installment featuring Gerry O’Neill, FHFMA here and our second installment featuring Robert Ellertsen, FHFMA here.
Kathleen has been a member of HFMA for over 33 years. Although she recently made a career change and is semi-retired while working in real estate, running an AirBNB, and doing catering on the side for Wegman’s, she spent a majority of her career in healthcare marketing and business development. Over her career, Kathleen has served in multiple leadership roles with HFMA and helped the organization innovate with new programming like the Women’s Leadership Conference.. Congratulations on your lifetime membership, Kathleen!
HFMA: What is your favorite HFMA event?
Kathleen: There are lots of great events that HFMA runs. I like the local events because you get to see lots of your colleagues. New to Healthcare (coming up on September 21st) is always exciting as you are part of the “new generation” coming into healthcare. I also think the annual Revenue Cycle is amazing. Since we outgrew ourselves in Westboro, moved to Gillette Stadium and added another 1/2 day to the session it has been awesome to see the advances in speakers and participants showing up, never mind the vendors who continue to sponsor. But, my favorite event has to be the Women’s Conference at the JFK Library. I was on the inaugural committee which planned this event. Listening to women such as Sandy Fenwick, CEO at Children’s and Liz Sheehan, Founder of C2C continues to inspire me.
HFMA: Why did you join HFMA?
Kathleen: I was asked by Gerry O’Neill to “help” on a committee – which was that of 1 – me! Once I got involved I got hooked!
HFMA: What is your favorite memory from HFMA?
Kathleen: When I won the Hernan Award. My family and friends were there to support me and Roberta Zysman provided a lovely introduction.
HFMA: How has HFMA impacted your career?
Kathleen: I truly believe that being an active HFMA member was one of the founding reasons why I had a very successful career in healthcare. I got to know the issues, understand the business and have a support network of people and resources second to none.
HFMA: How has HFMA impacted you personally?
Kathleen: I was very young when I started in HFMA. There were not a lot of women at the time. HFMA gave me the support I needed to gain confidence in myself and become a leader and a mentor. More importantly, many of those same people have become my close and lifelong friends. HFMA, for me, is certainly a life experience.
HFMA: What do you do for fun outside of HFMA?
Kathleen: As you may know, I have a large immediate family. They are the world to me. I spend a lot of time with my siblings and parents. I also like to travel, golf and spend time at the beach.
HFMA: Who have been some of your mentors within HFMA?
Kathleen: This is a hard one for me. I have to thank Gerry O’Neill who first got me into HFMA. Along the way, Gail Schlesinger showed me the ropes and gave me lots of laughs! Jim Heffernan came before me as president and helped me through a lot of difficult times. I’d also have to say even those I mentored, Beth O’Toole, Gerry Vitti, Tim Hogan, turned back to be my mentors also.
HFMA: What words of advice do you have for a new HFMA member?
Kathleen: Get involved! Don’t sit back! Work hard! It’s not all fun and games but your reward will be great!
HFMA: What does achieving lifetime membership mean to you?
Kathleen: It’s quite humbling. I remember when I won one of my first awards, Carolyn Jacoby sent me a beautiful note. I was so thankful and so humbled. I feel a bit of the same way now. To be singled out for such an achievement still seems a bit surreal to me.