Editor’s note: The August issue of The Lane Report features our semi-annual list of the Top Women in Business. At lanereport.com, we’re shining the spotlight on one of the honorees each day. Day 9: Kansas ‘Kandi’ Justice, senior vice president/chief operating officer of Pikeville Medical Center.
Our occasional feature, Top Women in Business, highlights some of the women in and around Kentucky who are making an impact in business, the professions, politics and economic development. The feature recognizes women in key roles whose work ethic and body of work are making important contributions to commerce—and life—in Kentucky.
Top Women in Business has grown to become one of The Lane Report’s most popular features. Over the years, we’ve profiled more than 100 women who shatter stereotypes, encourage other businesswomen and help their Kentucky companies reach new heights. The women featured in this issue are no exception. From airport CEO to hospital executive, and successful online retailer to construction company VP, these women are forging their own paths, proving that hard work, perseverance and creativity pays off.
Kansas ‘Kandi’ Justice
Kansas ‘Kandi’ Justice is senior vice president and chief operating officer of Pikeville Medical Center (PMC), where she has overseen capital investment projects that are improving health care access and outcomes for residents in the region. Later this year, the medical center will open a children’s hospital that will care for patients who previously had to drive several hours to get care.
Title/company: Senior vice president/chief operating officer of Pikeville Medical Center (PMC), a 348-bed referral center offering over 400 services. My primary responsibilities center around ensuring our more than 3,000 employees have the tools and resources they need to carry out PMC’s mission to advance the health and well-being of our region through comprehensive care in a Christian environment. I am extremely passionate about that mission.
How long at company/position: I started at PMC in August 2016 as the vice president of professional and support services. In February 2018, I was promoted to my current role.
Previous jobs/positions: I have always felt a calling to work in health care and have held many positions in that field throughout my 24-year career. During college, I worked as a phlebotomist before becoming a medical technologist in the laboratory. I advanced to a laboratory section supervisor before being promoted to laboratory administrative director. As director, I developed a deep passion for hospital operations, which challenged me to learn more.
Education/training: University of Pikeville: Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology, 1997; MBA, 2013. Obtained certification as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) from the Healthcare Quality Certification Commission (HQCC).
Top accomplishment: Since I have been at PMC, I have been responsible for overseeing many capital investment projects that have dramatically changed health care for residents in the region. Since 2018, PMC has invested over $75 million in capital projects. These endeavors have enabled us to expand key service lines such as oncology, heart and vascular. We have opened four additional outreach clinics that provide both primary and specialty care. Our focus now is on pediatrics. We recently opened the Appalachian Valley Autism (AVA) center and added a pediatric-friendly wing to our emergency department. The Drs. R.V. and Jyothi Mettu Children’s Hospital will open this year. It will be the only children’s hospital in our service area.
The person who most influenced or mentored me: My mother showed me by example that hard work and a strong will opens doors to success. She spent her career as a high school student services director. Her main goal has always been helping others achieve their highest potential. All that I am today or hope to be in the future, I owe to my mother.
My biggest challenge and how I overcame it: I tend to be a perfectionist and can linger on details. I have found the best way to overcome this is by surrounding myself with a strong team focused on success. Our team at PMC is very accustomed to using checklists and has developed excellent communication skills. This enables us to work on multiple projects at the same time without missing any details or deadlines.
My advice to younger women in business: Aim high and never settle for less than you desire. With hard work and determination, you can achieve your highest goals. I would encourage any young woman entering the business field to surround herself with people who challenge and support her.
Something I learned during the pandemic: Preparation is key. Keeping a certain level of supplies and having a great number of annual drills has enabled PMC to continue providing services to our patients during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown me how dedicated and resilient our 3,000-plus employees are. They embraced every changing guideline to keep our patients safe.
When I was a child, I wanted to be: A laboratory technician. I loved science and math and was constantly conducting experiments.
I’m inspired/driven by: I am blessed to work with eight other executive leaders who all share a common passion. We are driven to ensure that comprehensive health care is accessible to the people of our region. Many times, this team has been able to accomplish what we first thought was impossible. This team inspires me daily.
One important skill everyone should have: Active listening is one of the most important skills anyone can demonstrate and builds a solid foundation for successful communication. I often find solutions to many complex problems by listening to those who are experiencing them firsthand.
Lorie Hailey is special publications editor for The Lane Report. Reach her at [email protected].