Whether you are new to Practice Management Institute, a certified professional, enrolled in, or inquired about medical office training, you have probably interacted with Kathleen Riexinger at some point. She has worked with PMI for two decades and recently received a well-deserved promotion to Director of Student Experience. She chose the new title, said PMI President/CEO David T. Womack, and it fits her to a tee.
“Kathleen is constantly thinking about our students and their journey as they access and utilize PMI training,” David said. “The pandemic has presented unique challenges for people working in healthcare and our students who need access to information and training. Kathleen and our team have made significant strides.”
David has always been impressed with Kathleen’s ability to grow and stretch her knowledge. She is always on the lookout for current information to infuse into PMI’s curriculum to help students perform better in their roles.
Hired in 2001 to serve as administrative support to PMI’s Director of Professional Services, Lynn Ballard, Kathleen’s job involved coordination, printing, paperwork, and assembly of travel packets for PMI faculty, who were teaching PMI classes all over the country. She also managed certification paperwork and curriculum edits with faculty members.
“Things were so different then,” she recalled. “That was the year our first CMC classes got underway. Before that CMOM and CMIS were the only two certifications PMI offered. Back then, the graduate database was in an excel spreadsheet.”
Kathleen fondly recalls working with Lynn, saying she was the best boss and worked extremely hard to manage all her responsibilities.
“Her level of commitment was very inspiring,” she said. “Lynn was so positive, supportive, and cheerful! She always expressed her appreciation and had a remarkable influence on me. It was not what she said, it was the way she was. It was her way of being that I found impressive.”
Many times, Kathleen witnessed Lynn pausing to thank someone for their contribution, even when she was in a rush to get to the airport. She would make every effort to return calls from past students to help them with a challenge, even if it were past 5 pm on a Friday. Lynn took her responsibilities seriously but remained lighthearted and gracious.
“She would leave thank you notes for me that I’d find after she left. She always kept greeting cards stashed in her desk. She had a special gift for educating her students, who adored her!”
When Lynn retired, Kathleen assumed more responsibility, which included more interaction with our faculty team and content contributors who helped Kathleen keep our curriculum current. Over the years, she has continued to branch out, flexing her leadership skills to guide PMI’s customer service team, curriculum, and live training events. She has been a key player in bringing PMI's regionals and national conferences to life over the past 15 years.
"That’s part of the fun of working at PMI is getting to meet and connect our audience with industry professionals and subject-matter experts," Kathleen said. "I get to see in action how it makes a difference to our medical office professionals. I am incredibly grateful to PMI for providing me with so many opportunities to stretch beyond my comfort zone. I found out I was capable of more than I had imagined."
Recently, Kathleen reflected on what she has accomplished and where she wants to grow next.
“There is always so much to do that I rarely slow down enough to experience a PMI training session,” she said. “I observed a live web-based training session for a course that, prior to the pandemic, had always been taught in a classroom setting. It involved hands-on practice. I noticed things we could do differently to enhance the user experience in a virtual setting. I felt inspired to make a difference in this way and the ideas started to flow.” She shared her ideas with David. Late last year, he promoted her to Director of Student Experience. She said this role helps her put more emphasis on improving processes and systems that will better serve PMI students. She hopes to provide them with every opportunity possible to reach their educational goals.
“Kathleen has a firm grasp on her strengths,” said David. “Our graduates, students, faculty team, and production rely on her to keep our curriculum current and accessible. She takes this responsibility to heart, always seeking out new, helpful information. She embodies professionalism as a confident and vital contributor on PMI’s team.”
Because information and guidelines are constantly morphing, every healthcare practice must stay current to ensure they are compliant and properly reimbursed for services rendered. Kathleen said PMI is in a unique position to make a difference, and that continues to motivate her. She said she feels a tremendous sense of satisfaction in helping make medical office professionals' jobs easier.
“Creating more opportunities for students to gain the support they need to do their job better is what I want to focus on in my role,” she said. “Everyone in healthcare has been so burdened by the pandemic. Day after day, I talk with those managing departments and practices, who are solely responsible for keeping those practices going. They have stepped up and continue to find new ways to meet the needs of their patients. They are an inspiration to me.”