New CFO joins Northwestern

Rob Karwath | February 29, 2016

New Northwestern Chief Financial Officer Kathy Panciera says she likes to work with others to understand the best application of resources to accomplish goals.

Northwestern Health Sciences University has hired Kathy Panciera as Chief Financial Officer.

To Kathy Panciera, finance is more about partnership and possibility than it is simply numbers and spreadsheets.

Panciera, the new Chief Financial Officer at Northwestern Health Sciences University, has spent her career in financial roles that were more about what could be done and understanding avenues for growth and innovation. Her approach in finance, she says, has been to work with others to understand the best application of resources to accomplish goals.

“The way I like to approach the work is to look at the financial aspect as a partnering role across the organization,” Panciera says. “It’s important to me to learn and understand the needs in other areas of responsibility and then determine how I can help them succeed. I really enjoy that collaborative style of work and leadership.”

Panciera joined the Northwestern team March 1 and is responsible for all financial aspects of the university, including reporting and compliance. She comes to Northwestern from Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where she held a similar role. She has worked in a series of financial positions throughout her career, in the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

Panciera has particularly enjoyed her work in higher education and looks forward to new opportunities and growth at Northwestern—for herself and for how she can help the university.

“It’s exciting to be at a place with a strong vision that’s looking to grow,” she says. “Northwestern has been smart and savvy about the higher education and health care industries and finding its role in them. I see Northwestern on the cutting edge of a lot of what is happening in both fields.”

Northwestern President and CEO Dr. Christopher Cassirer says Panciera is the right fit for the university at a time of growth and change.

“Kathy has seen the benefits throughout her career of collaboration, with finance playing a key role,” he says. “We look forward to benefitting from her knowledge throughout the university as we pursue our vision for elevating health and wellness and creating a healthier world.”

Organizations that have been poised for growth and experiencing periods of change and innovation have been highlights of Panciera’s career. At Mitchell Hamline, she was part of the senior team that expanded online access to legal education through the creation of a hybrid law degree program in which students do half of their coursework online. The hybrid program has been successful, filling up quickly and drawing interest and praise nationwide.

In part because of the new program, Panciera says of Mitchell Hamline, “I think it’s the most innovative law school in the country.”

She’s looking forward to bringing that same collaborative approach to Northwestern, with finance seen as a resource for making new thinking reality, benefitting students, patients, faculty, staff and the communities that Northwestern serves.

“It’s important to have all of the right people at the table, and all departments represented, when we’re crafting policy,” Panciera says. “When that happens, we make collaborative decisions and do collaborative work. We all understand that we have a place and an important responsibility in moving the organization forward.”

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