As a young girl growing up in St. Louis, this year’s grand marshal didn’t aspire to be the leader of a major metropolitan hospital. Instead, Peggy Schmitt chose nursing as her profession and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She worked at hospitals in St. Louis and Kansas City.
A friend of Peggy’s from nursing school started law school and suggested she do the same. “I remember questioning how could I leave nursing – one of the most honorable of all professions,” says Peggy. To appease her friend, Peggy agreed to take the law school admissions test.
After taking the exam, Peggy thought seriously about law school and began noticing the importance of legal issues in society. When she was accepted to Yale Law School, Peggy decided to make the most of her opportunity. “I knew I could always return to the nursing career I loved if being a lawyer wasn’t a fit,” she says.
Upon graduating from Yale, Peggy worked for a Chicago law firm but soon returned to Kansas City to work for Spencer, Fane, Britt and Browne. She worked there for four years with clients including North Kansas City Hospital.
In 1993, she was asked by the hospital’s president to become the first vice president and general counsel. She held that position for 19 years until she became president and CEO in 2012.
Today, Peggy leads the largest hospital in the Northland and one of the most well-respected facilities in the metro area. North Kansas City Hospital is a long-time supporter of Snake Saturday activities. This year is special for the Northland and for Peggy, the Grand Marshal, as Snake Saturday celebrates 30 wonderful years.
Upon learning of her selection as Grand Marshal, Peggy commented “It is an honor to participate in an event that celebrates our community, provides support to charitable organizations, and does it with the Irish spirit of having a wee bit o’ fun in the process!”