Last September, Mankato-North Mankato had the lowest unemployment rate of any community in the U.S., at 1.3 percent. The latest rate of 1.5 percent still makes it hard to find staff members for Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows. It’s among the challenges for Kim Putz, the new Executive Director.
When Kim started in January she also was thrust into leading the response to a compliance audit from the MN Department of Health (MDH), the agency that regulates assisted living communities. “While I wasn’t in my role at the time of the survey, I accepted the challenge to respond to it,” Kim said. “Our caregiving team, with help from our Support Office and colleagues from other Vista Prairie Communities, are at work reacting to every finding and recommendation.”
Kim has the right stuff for the challenge. Her accomplishments and response to hardships combine to produce a deep well of strengths. Her academic background and experience include a BS degree in nursing and a master’s in business administration, plus 12 years of related leadership experience as a nurse. “This was an opportunity for me to branch out into the whole picture,” Kim added. “I’ve been involved with older adults since I was young and started as a nurse’s aide. My final career goal was to get my master’s degree and be an executive director, to oversee the challenges in that role.”
Kim’s personal and family health history also help her relate to the challenges that Monarch Meadows’ residents face. Four years ago, as a single mom with two kids at home, she battled breast cancer. “I underwent a double mastectomy, plus multiple rounds and chemo and radiation,” she said. Shortly after she beat cancer, she witnessed the deaths of her father and sister in 2021.
In her first communication to Vista Prairie residents, family members and staff, Kim made three promises: to be a strong leader, to value continuous learning, and to practice good communication. “Our elders deserve the best,” she emphasized. “They’re at a point in their life when they need us the most. So that’s why we must give the most from ourselves.”
Kim is literally all in. She recently moved-in to the same North Mankato neighborhood where Monarch Meadows is located.
“I look forward to having a great team,” Kim projected, “who all have the same vision, mission and goals to have a thriving community, a place where people want to come to live, where people want to come and work, to visit, to volunteer, and to maintain that through the long haul.”
Vista Prairie at Monarch Meadows offers 89 one-and-two-bedroom assisted living apartments and 11 care suites. Call Sales Manager Kim Hanson (507) 933-4681 to book a tour.