Trustee Spotlight: Joel Junker

Hill Country Memorial, Fredericksburg


Hometown: Originally from Winona, MN, and have lived in Fredericksburg, TX, for 23 years.

Joel Junker

Occupation: I am Partner and Senior Vice President for Cameron-Brooks, Inc. We are military to business transition firm. We partner with Junior Military Officers (commissioned officers with about 4-14 years of experience) and assist them in their transition from their military to a career in business. I also earned a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership Coaching from Northwestern University, and I am a certified coach through the International Coaching Federation.

Family: Married for 26 years to Susan. We met as juniors at the University of Notre Dame. We have 4 children. Maeve, 23 years old, is a Biomedical Engineer; Ella, 21, is studying Environmental Engineering and is a senior at the University of Notre Dame; Elijah, 17, a junior in high school and Leah, 15, is a sophomore in high school.

Hobbies/Interests: I have been a reader since college. I mostly read non-fiction books that include biographies, history and leadership development. In 2008, I went on my first daytrip on a kayak on the South Llano River and it hooked me. Now, I own four kayaks and love getting out on the river at all times of the year. I also really enjoy golf. It is a great stress relief because I don’t think about anything else when I am on the golf course.

As a Board Member

What has been most rewarding during your board service? Hearing about topics discussed in the board room in action and the impact they are making in our organization. I also find it rewarding that while we as board members have different viewpoints, we come together on one common goal, exceptional and affordable health care for our community.

What has been the most challenging issue for your board? I think the most challenging issue is that health care seems to be in constant change. What is a challenge now, is different than what needed to be addressed six months ago.

What has been the biggest surprise during your board service? I feel like I get more back from my service on the board than I give. I learn so much and often take ideas back to my own workplace. I am also surprised on how gratifying it is to serve on the board. I feel like I am finally giving back to my community.

What was your/your board’s proudest moment? The Hill Country Memorial Executive Team asked me to be the key speaker at their 2021 Veteran’s Day Ceremony. As a board member, I don’t get to talk to the front-line team members very often. I am honored they thought I was worthy to give a talk to the team and address the veterans in the organization.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a board member? The most important thing I can do is listen and ask questions. Some people might think being a board member is about what you know and sharing your knowledge and expertise. That is likely true in some areas, but I found that it is better to be curious, ask questions in the meetings, ask questions of the Executive Team and the other board members. Do not make assumptions. By asking questions we help the Executive Team, who is out on the front lines every day running the operation, to think and come up with better solutions and ideas.

What are your board’s priority areas for 2022? I think our priorities are similar to everyone else’s across the state. How do we get our costs and budget in order with rising costs across the board? In conjunction with that, hiring and retaining great people. Those two challenges go hand in hand and do not seem to be going away any time soon.

Why did you choose to become a Certified Healthcare Trustee? I thought would be important to earn the certification to set an example that it is important to engage with the learning resources available. Healthcare is incredibly complex and different than a traditional business. The resources available to learn through THT got me up to speed in my first year and helped me stay current each year through continuing education.

About Me

My background: I am originally from a small town in southeastern Minnesota. While attending Notre Dame, I participated in Army ROTC and when I graduated, I was commissioned as an Armor Officer. I served four years at Fort Hood, TX, and then made the transition to my current company, Cameron-Brooks and moved to Fredericksburg, TX.

My childhood ambition: I wanted to attend the University of Notre Dame. My dad took me to a football game when I was little, and I dreamt of attending school there one day. I am not the smartest person but with a lot of hard work, I got in and lived my dream. Still living it too since I met my wife there!

My favorite person (living or not!): My wife. Hands down.

Last place I traveled: Flagstaff, AZ. Susan, my wife, is from Flagstaff. I just started playing golf a few years ago and my father-in-law has been playing his entire life. He is really good. I brought a friend and we played 80 holes in 3 days (one round was cut short due to rain). Beautiful mountain air and much cooler than Texas in July.

What are you currently reading? My parents and in-laws are aging. I just read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. This gave me great perspective on what they are experiencing as they age, how I can help them, how our medical society treats the aging population, and what I can start doing now to slow the aging process for myself.

My favorite place in Texas: I have a few. First, my back patio having a glass of wine with my wife and my dog sitting next to me. Second, the Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course in Fredericksburg. I try to get out after work most nights and play a few holes. Great way to decompress from the day. Third, the South Llano River in Junction, TX.