What Ever Happened to Karen Pletz?
"I just tried to be as confident as I could be. You could see them come in and they wanted to talk to anyone other than Karen Pletz."
In a man's world, she climbed the corporate ladder.
"I think it's very important to work very hard and take the challenges and opportunities that no one else wants and be successful at them."
Karen Pletz, successful here, and now successful here.
"So, I'm back full circle. I live a block from where I was born, St. Luke's Hospital here in Kansas City."
Full circle indeed. Born in Kansas City, raised in Columbia, Hickman High School, graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law, became a banker in Jefferson City, and today president and ceo of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.
From banking to medicine, seems like an unusual twist. So, how did the banker from Jefferson City end up in Kansas City? Call it pure coincidence, because you just never know who's going to sit next to you on an airplane.
"I was coming back from a meeting in Phoenix, and sat by an individual who engaged me in conversation," recalled Pletz. "And I said, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'I'm chair and active president of University Health Sciences which is now Kansas City University.'"
Although she was a lawyer and banker, Pletz served on hospital boards in the Capital City. But, she wouldn't be in her office today if she had not sat next to someone on a plane, the late Dr. Jack Weaver.
"And he didn't even have that seat assigned," Pletz remembered. "He was tall, and he moved so he wouldn't have a seat ahead of him."
The Kansas City school was looking for a leader who would be active in the community, although that means few nights off for Pletz. She never stops, Monday-Friday, although weekends are less hectic for her and husband Jack, who is also a lawyer.
Pletz was active in Jefferson City and, after 11 years in Kansas City, her resume is even more impressive. And, with both children now grown up, Karen Pletz doesn't plan to retire anytime soon!
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