by Jeanine Genauer
Senior Housing News recently ran a series of comprehensive interviews with industry-leading executives to bring you unique insight into their personal stories. One of those executives was our very own founder and president, Lynne Katzmann. In a very candid and touching discussion she opens up about her motivations for starting the company and her philosophy toward business.
Below is a brief excerpt of that interview or you can click here to read the full story:
Meet Lynne Katzmann, founder and president of Juniper Communities. Juniper operates 18 communities across New Jersey, where the company is based, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Florida. An entrepreneur at heart, Katzmann comes from a long line of businesswomen and credits her upbringing in part for making her the successful businesswoman she is today. Taking a forward approach, Juniper is making strides with its approach to technology and staffing, among other areas that often challenge senior living providers. We sat down with Katzmann to hear how her business savvy has evolved over time, why women make for good leaders, and why managing millennials is shifting the industry’s take on staffing.
Tell me about how you started Juniper.
I started Juniper when I was very young, much younger than I am today. I went to school in London and I studied the German Social Insurance System between 1883 and 1911. A totally esoteric topic, one would think, but it wasn’t.
When that was finished I did a Medicare demonstration project, started a not-for-profit company and then went to a dinner party and was invited to go to New York to help run a public health care company.
What was the name of it?
It was called Metrocare. It operated skilled nursing and retirement housing in Florida, California and New Jersey. When I got there, I worked directly for the board of directors. We grew the company and we started a managed care division in which we partnered with Baxter Travenol [now Baxter International Inc.] and doubled the company’s value in two and a half years. It was taken private and I went on to form Juniper. I was, at the time, in my early 30s and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, if you want to know the truth. It was great fun. I put together some angel investors.
Were those the original investors?
Those original people are still with me today. It was friends of friends. We raised initially $440,000 to seed the company. Later on, over the course of the next 10 years, we raised about another $11.5 million. We thought we were going to be a private REIT, and ended up just having to do property-specific deals because we weren’t able to raise the $100 million fund that I thought we would raise. We bought our first properties in 1990.