In our next Celebration of Women Dealmakers, we highlight Courtney Midanek, managing director for Kaufman Hall, a provider of strategic and financial advisory services to healthcare and higher education institutions.
Courtney Midanek was born and raised in the Chicagoland area, more specifically, a small town near the border of Wisconsin. She hasn't moved far since then. Courtney completed her undergraduate work at the University of Illinois, where she earned a bachelor's in finance and then an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. She began her career in investment banking/mergers and acquisitions (M&A) at Robert W. Baird & Co. in Milwaukee and then moved to BMO Harris Bank in Chicago.
Following a brief pivot to the fixed-income side, Courtney landed at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, where she was first exposed to the healthcare industry. Little did she know at the time, but her M&A background coupled with the exposure to healthcare would provide the ideal platform to bring to Kaufman Hall. Courtney is a leader in the firm's partnerships, mergers and acquisitions practice.
At Kaufman Hall, Courtney provides partnership advisory services primarily to not-for-profit hospitals and health systems and other healthcare providers. She finds the mindset of the key stakeholders for not-for-profit organizations fascinating, noting that it is more nuanced than the for-profit world where the overarching goal is maximizing shareholder value. In transactions involving not-for-profit hospitals and health systems, board members are tasked with maximizing the value to the communities they serve. That's often easier said than done, considering that today's environment makes it increasingly difficult to operate in a financially sustainable manner. The organizations Courtney supports seek opportunities to operate at a more optimal level by leveraging clinical, back-office and other synergies. Since the health system space remains highly fragmented compared to other industries, she helps ensure partnerships are centered on these opportunities by directing clients to focus on the business case and let form follow function.
Courtney attributes much of her success to how she was raised. She considers herself fortunate to have grown up in an environment where nothing was handed to her. The need to work hard for everything kept her hungry. When Courtney went away to the University of Illinois, she felt like an underdog as her classmates included students from top high schools with impressive academic achievements. This feeling drove her to work hard day in and day out, providing the foundation to how she approaches her work today.
Further obstacles along the way provided additional opportunities to grow through hard work, including the turmoil of the 2008 financial crisis. It was tough, and Courtney and her husband needed to claw their way back from impacts they experienced. But equal doses of grit and hope carried Courtney and her family through challenging times to a place where they were positioned to succeed. She considers the partnership with her husband as the rock in her life, with his support essential to maintaining a strong balance of work and life, which now includes two children.
Women in Private Equity & Finance Initiative promotes the advancement of women in private equity and lending through a
series of varied experiences that provide substantive educational and