“He’s always looking for the next opportunity for improvement.”
Mark Klosterman’s early interest in science developed into a medical technology degree and led to a job in hospital laboratories. But it was the desire to improve healthcare and guidance provided by an informal mentor that drew him toward the C-suite. Klosterman, 40, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, Ill., says he benefited greatly from an accessible chief executive at the Minnesota hospital where he landed one of his first management jobs.
“He really influenced me in a positive way,” says Klosterman, who says he hopes he can “be an inspiration to somebody and give them a good idea if this is something they want to do.”
From that Minnesota hospital where he served as director of laboratory services, now the Sanford Worthington (Minn.) Medical Center, Klosterman quickly went on to become a CEO himself.
Klosterman left the Minnesota hospital in 2002 to join then-Sioux Valley Hospitals & Health System, now part of Sanford Health, as an information technology project manager. He holds a master’s degree in information technology, in addition to his MBA. Less than a year and a half later, he was named chief executive of Avera Health’s Gregory (S.D.) Healthcare Center. Mark Reifsteck, who recruited Klosterman to his current role as head of St. Joseph, part of the Hospital Sisters Health System based in Springfield, Ill., says Klosterman’s combination of clinical laboratory experience, knowledge of information technology and his executive-level experience made him a standout candidate for the hospital’s top job. Reifsteck, president of Hospital Sisters’ southern Illinois division, says Klosterman has motivated his employees and met tough times with an approachable style. “Mark is a very hands-on,” he says.
Klosterman pledged to shave his head—and raffled off the rights to the clipper—if the hospital reached 100% participation in an employee-satisfaction survey. It did. Funds raised through the raffle went to the Joplin, Mo., hospital destroyed by a May 2011 tornado.
Reifsteck says it would be easy to dismiss Klosterman’s challenge as kitschy. “It isn’t,” he says. Klosterman did something personal to accomplish an important goal and help another hospital.
After an inmate being treated at St. Joseph’s wrestled a sidearm from a guard and fired it in the ER, Klosterman raced to the hospital to meet with patients and employees. No one was injured, but Klosterman “understood this was a traumatic thing,” Reifsteck says.
Mary Starmann-Harrison, president and CEO of Hospital Sisters Health System, says Klosterman also seeks to learn from his colleagues even as Hospital Sisters looks to St. Joseph’s for successful strategies. The hospital’s patient satisfaction, employee engagement and financial performance are strong, she says. “He’s always looking for that next opportunity for improvement.”