A Life of Teamwork

Julie Wilson named Bill French Alumni Service Award recipient

Julia M. Wilson has worked diligently to connect three areas – the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Cerner Corporation and Kansas City. She’s accomplished that connection through teamwork during her basketball career, in her volunteerism and in her professional career.

“I enjoyed a very fun and rewarding intercollegiate athletics career playing for the UMKC women’s basketball team, and I was able to help recruit some other girls who were coming back to Kansas City or graduating from high school and looking for a good place to play,” said Wilson. “Many of the relationships I developed during my playing days at UMKC opened doors that led me eventually to Cerner.”

Her rewarding basketball career included two NAIA Honorable Mention All-American selections, three NAIA All-District 16 Selections and the NAIA Frank L. Hesselroth Award. After her graduation, Wilson continued to make records in the Athletics department.

Wilson was the first ‘official’ employee of the department as it moved from NAIA to NCAA Division 1, working as the business manager for Lee Hunt, then athletic director and men’s basketball coach. Julie Wilson also is at-the-ready for her former classmate, Carla Wilson, current UMKC director of athletics.

Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes 16 alumni and one family with top honors. UMKC will honor Wilson and other outstanding alumni at the 2016 Alumni Awards Luncheon April 21 at Swinney Recreation Center. The luncheon is one of the university’s largest events and proceeds support student scholarships. Last year’s luncheon attracted nearly 600 attendees and garnered more than $141,000 in student scholarships.

Wilson has been a constant volunteer at UMKC, serving on the Board of Trustees and volunteering at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management, the Bloch HR Advisory Board and the School of Computing and Engineering. In 2015, Wilson served as the commencement speaker for the Bloch School.

“I think it is vitally important for the university and the business community to collaborate to ensure that we understand what students are learning and to share our business perspective of what students need to successfully prepare themselves for professional opportunities and their future,” said Wilson.

As an example, Wilson was instrumental in establishing the Cerner Certificate in Health Care Leadership, administered by UMKC’s Bloch Executive Education program. Participants learn the intricacies of health care issues, trends and policies, allowing them to better serve Cerner customers.

In her current role as executive vice president and chief people officer at Cerner,

Wilson firmly believes that it is essential to give back and make meaningful contributions when asked, which she does daily in her position.

She did not move into human resources until rehired for her second stint by Cliff Illig, John Reedy and Jeff Reene, at Cerner in 1995. Given lead over the administrative team, the fitness center and the CernerKids childcare center, plus a small team in HR, Wilson never imagined the journey that was before her.

“Year-by-year, I was asked to take on different areas across the HR function until I was asked to step into the Chief People Officer (Cerner’s Chief Human Resource Officer) role in the summer of 2003,” said Wilson.

Her roles and responsibilities “have grown to unimaginable levels, with a strategic focus on Cerner’s investment in people – over $2.5 billion in compensation and benefits for more than 22,000 associates in 26 countries around the world,” said Wilson.

Why choose a people-focused business role? “I believe people are the most important ingredient in any company’s success, and I love the work I get to do every day,” said Wilson.

The job provides challenges as well as fulfillment, Wilson said, including technology.

As someone involved in the health care technology industry, Wilson has to stay current in order to be effective and to support the growth and advancement of Cerner. New developments in technology, government regulation and the industry impact their workforce and associates.

Wilson had this advice to those following in her footsteps: “If you can find a way to make your passion your profession, do it. If not, still pour your health into the endeavor and you will realize your goals and have a positive impact,” said Wilson.

Click here for tickets or sponsorship information for the April 21, 2016 Alumni Awards Luncheon.

Click here for more information on the 2016 Alumni Awards recipients.

Nominations are now open for the Class of 2017 Alumni Awardees. Click here to nominate fellow alumni who are deserving of the campus’ highest recognition for alumni achievement. Nominations close March 7.


Tags: , , , , , .
  • Recent UMKC News

    $20 Million Scholarship Article in The Kansas City Star

    KC Scholars partnership also in U.S. News and World Report … Read more

    Geosciences Professor’s Research Cited in New York Times

    Fengpeng Sun co-authored study on California wildfire seasons The 2015 … Read more

    Bloch Faculty Interviewed on NBC Nightly News

    Brent Never teaches about Kansas City’s racial dividing line Never … Read more