Study after study shows that mentorship throughout all stages of personal and professional development is an important factor in individual growth and career success. This is especially true in industries where women and minorities are underrepresented.

On the heels of Partners HealthCare CEO Anne Klibanski, MD, being honored by Modern Healthcare, Karen K. Miller, MD, Chief of the Neuroendocrine Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), chronicled Dr. Klibanski’s career. Dr. Klibanski, who has served as Dr. Miller’s mentor for many years, forged a career in research and clinical medicine when women weren’t encouraged to do so. She was the first woman in the Department of Medicine at MGH to become a full Professor at Harvard Medical School and created the first and only multidisciplinary pituitary disorder tertiary Center and Unit in the U.S. More importantly, throughout her journey she mentored and led by example, enabling others to thrive and develop along with her.

During her career at MGH, Dr. Klibanski had the insight to do what was best for the organization while removing barriers and setting up programs that had a lasting benefit for all junior faculty, regardless of gender. She helped to drive the establishment of the MGH Office of Women’s Careers, which provided educational leadership programming and advocacy for women negotiating the promotion process. Dr. Klibanski also played a critical role in the establishment of an on-site back-up childcare center at MGH and in the creation of the Claflin Distinguished Scholar Awards, which provides two years of support for research assistance to women with significant childrearing responsibilities and promising research careers.

Dr. Miller, who succeeded Dr. Klibanski as Chief of the Neuroendocrine, and believes that Dr. Klibanski’s leadership approach—focused priorities, hard work, and dedicated mentorship that enabled work/life balance—offers lessons for women throughout, and beyond, medicine. “As I now take on her prior role as Chief of the Neuroendocrine Unit at MGH, I understand that the most powerful lessons were conveyed by example – she mentored by modeling a leadership approach that enables all faculty members to thrive and to develop to their full potentials,” says Dr. Miller.

Read more of Dr. Miller’s observations on Dr. Klibanski’s mentorship and leadership here.