Kansas City,
08:46 AM

Children's Hospital Association: Cultivate Leaders from Within the Organization

Though Children's Mercy Kansas City recently established Berry Institute is named in honor of the hospital's founding sisters, Jennifer Watts embodies the Institute's modern-day values.

A highly respected emergency medicine physician, Watts, M.D., M.P.H., maintained a somewhat low-key profile in the organization until the COVID-19 pandemic thrust her into a leadership role. Now, she's part of the hospital's team coordinating with the Missouri governor's office and regional pandemic response units.

"In many respects, she's the face of Children's Mercy in those activities now," says Paul Kempinski, M.S., FACHE, president and CEO at Children's Mercy. "She's one of the growing and developing leaders here and is now our medical director for emergency preparedness."

Children's Mercy launched the Berry Institute in fall 2020 to help foster a culture of leadership and engagement across the organization. Enrichment opportunities are geared toward employees at all levels and include operational innovation, personal growth and well-being, career navigation, community/engagement and core learning and development.

What makes the Berry Institute unique, according to Kempinski, is its alignment with the hospital's goals. His team has set up a series of five-year goals with annual benchmarks they'll measure to track progress toward the hospital's aspirational goals.

A primary focus of the program is targeting frontline employees—not just existing leaders. Kempinski says that focus will identify and cultivate potential leaders already in the organization, and points to Watts as a prime example.

Ultimately, he adds, the aim of the Berry Institute is to help every employee perform to the ideals established by its namesakes.

"These were two sisters who were really innovators and broke down barriers," Kempinski says. "We live out their legacy and vision every single day."


Read the full story via Children's Hospital Association

Learn more about the History and Culture of Children's Mercy