Joan & Lee Hope Award

On Monday, November 19, the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, Kernersville News and community members stopped by Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center (KMC) to surprise President and Chief Operating Officer Kirsten Royster by presenting her with the 2020 Joan & Lee Hope Impact Award.
Joan and Lee Hope were key people in the Kernersville community for decades. Joan was involved in Kernersville Little Theatre and Kernersville Kiwanis and volunteered in the Chamber office, just to name a few organizations. Lee was on the Oak Ridge Military Academy Board, served as long-term chairman of the Kernersville Christmas Parade until his death, and was instrumental in fundraising for the YMCA. Both provided leadership at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. This award is presented to those that are most impactful in long-term leadership and service in the Kernersville community.
As Royster exited the building with a surprising look on her face from the number of people there to present the award, Chamber of Commerce President Chris Comer announced, “Kirsten Royster, on behalf of the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce Board, staff, and volunteers, we’re here to present you with the Joan & Lee Hope Impact Award. I want to tell everyone for all that you have done for our community, not only in the past year with COVID, but since you got here, you’ve made a huge impact in our community and the committee and the Chamber wanted to let you know how much you have impacted our community with the Joan & Lee Hope Impact Award.”
Royster humbled by the award, commented, “This by far goes to the Novant Health team, many of which are represented here, but we do really special work here at Novant Health and it’s completely my honor to be part of the team here. So, we want you and the town of Kernersville to be proud of us, and the work that we do for each and every one of you.”
When talking with the Kernersville News after the award presentation, Royster reiterated her surprise.
“I was very surprised,” she remarked. “Chris had reached out to me under a different meeting topic, but I didn’t expect to see a group gathered outside the front door or with an award with my name on it.”
Royster said she chose health care as her profession because she wanted to make an impact on the health of communities.
“The fact that this is called an impact award really struck me because one of my mentors was Arnold King, and he and I often talked about having a shared passion for having as much impact as we could in our little area of the world, and so it struck me as very poignant of his passing a year ago, and that word on the award is very meaningful to me,” she shared.
Royster grew up in Charlotte and later in her youth moved with her family to England.
“We moved to the States with Dad’s job and I became a dual citizen in college,” she said.
Royster attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Policy and Administration, followed by a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.
Royster shared that throughout high school, she did a lot of junior volunteer work and really loved being in that environment; however, it was after watching a close family friend undergo long care treatment after suffering injuries in a serious car accident that her passion for pursuing a career in health care was solidified.
“That really cemented the interest of going into the field,” she said.
Royster has nearly 20 years of experience in a variety of hospital and medical group roles, including vice president of the Heart &Vascular Institute at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center, vice president of Novant Health Medical Group specialty practice operations, senior director of Support Services and director of Patient Access and Transcription.
Before joining Novant Health in 2005, Royster worked for Stockamp & Associates (renamed to Huron Healthcare) in Atlanta.
Royster came to Novant Health KMC in 2018 after serving as president and chief operating officer of Novant Health Medical Park Hospital in Winston-Salem and led the health system’s ob-gyn line.
Royster has lived in the Kernersville community for 15 years with her husband and their rescue dog. Prior to that, they lived in Atlanta.
Royster joined the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce in 2018 when she came to Novant Health KMC; however, she noted that Novant Health has been a Chamber member for 10 years.
Along with being a Chamber member, Royster became a Chamber Board member when she joined Novant Health KMC.
“The Chamber Board plays such a huge role in supporting local business and I certainly view Novant as a local business. We are truly stronger together, which we have seen during the pandemic,” she said.
Since being a part of the Chamber, Royster said she has enjoyed the people.
“The people have so much of a giving spirit of wanting the best for the town,” she remarked.
Along with being involved with the Chamber, Royster also served on the Crisis Control Ministry Board, the American Heart Association Triad Board, and the Piedmont Triad Partnership Board.
In her spare time, Royster enjoys spending time outside hiking, gardening and photography.

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