Trailblazing Women: Mary Radtke Klein

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In honor of Women’s History Month, we are proud to celebrate Juniper’s many women in leadership positions and on its highly active board, who have helped make Juniper a respected leader and innovator in the seniors housing industry. This week we shine the spotlight on Mary Radtke Klein, who has served as a valued member of Juniper Communities Financial Advisory Board for 15 years.

Mary Radtke Klein brings a background in operations, development, training, and advocacy to her role on the board, and she emphasizes that a key to Juniper’s success is its leadership’s ability to balance dollar-sign issues with an authentic focus on residents and associates.

“Juniper’s board comprises a unique balance of financial expertise and emotional intelligence about the kind of comprehensive services that really provide an infrastructure for residents’ whole lives,” Klein stresses. “I think it’s one of the things about Juniper that’s been so impressive.”

Looking at Juniper from a broader perspective, Klein sees it as that rare corporation that actually values and follows the altruistic elements of its mission statement, and it’s that commitment that leads to innovation, quality care and a nurturing work environment for team members who are tasked with reflecting Juniper’s values.

“In a complex area like healthcare, it’s difficult to provide a good product, good services and still include enough financial flexibility so there is a respectable profit,” she says. “I think the more companies can actively invest energy in their mission statements as aggressively as they do their financial imperatives, the more the quality of long-term care and their bottom line will improve. This isn’t easy, but Juniper does it. It’s been a hallmark of their leadership.”

Klein acknowledges that women still face some unique obstacles when they seek to take on more expansive leadership roles, but they are finding their place. “Some women are simply born leaders with a combination of sharp intellect, nimbleness, emotional intelligence, and a willingness to confidently make decisions, learn from mistakes and press forward,” she maintains. “As I’ve looked around, many successful women (and men) also can point to an instrumental mentor, someone who will coach, caution, make connections and help you take an honest look at your strengths and options. But none of these assets can substitute for being intentional, for knowing yourself and knowing what you want to be or create. And then there is hard work and luck, not to mention the very tricky business of being able to choose the right people to support your vision.”

“Throughout my work life and community engagement, I’ve looked for spots where I could use my skills, learn and be pushed to grow among people I respected,” she adds. “I found mentors, carefully putting myself in the way of people I admired, who seemed to respect me and showed a spark of interest in what I could contribute. I’m a process person, a facilitator and conciliator who works best by springing from the contributions of a team and then shaping their work to achieve an agreed upon outcome.”

Klein believes leadership can take several forms and not everyone has the skills or personal inclination to be a prototypical CEO. “In all the opportunities for leadership I think it’s the notion of what is often called servant leadership that has attracted me,” she explains. “It’s just who I am and maybe knowing who you are and what you want are good foundations for effective leadership whether on a civic task force or at the head of a growing corporation.”

Each week during Women’s History Month, we featured trailblazing women in leadership who have been instrumental in Juniper’s past and future. Follow us to learn about their strengths, passions, and commitment to being a leader.

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