Dear Planned Parenthood Friends:
We write today to let you know that Barbara Zdravecky has decided to retire as CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. Barbara’s contributions to this organization over the past twenty four years are too many and momentous to summarize adequately here. We offer a few highlights: Barbara bravely led PPSWCF to become the first Florida affiliate to offer abortion services. She oversaw the expansion of services to include men and members of the LGBTQ community. During her tenure she spearheaded the effort to build a beautiful new headquarters in Sarasota. More recently, she successfully navigated the merger of three affiliates into a powerful regional health care provider and advocate for our patients’ health.
While extending the services, reach and resources of our organization, Barbara led countless battles against relentless legislative efforts to block access to abortions and damage the reputation and financial stability of Planned Parenthood. Throughout her tenure, she has fought tirelessly for the healthcare needs of our community.
In her usual thoughtful and thorough fashion, Barbara strategically
prepared for this transition. As some of you may know, she has been thinking about retiring for the past couple of years but wanted to make sure that the organization’s footing was firm. The prospect and then process of merger required careful analysis and management of complex internal decisions. Barbara felt an obligation to see it through to successful completion. While there could never be a perfect moment for Barbara to retire from Planned Parenthood, she leaves in place a solid organizational infrastructure, a committed, capable management team and a talented and dedicated staff. The new CEO will inherit a strong base to build on.
We will have ample opportunity during the balance of this year to honor Barbara and to thank her for her unswerving dedication
to leading this fine organization over the years. In the meantime, our Board has begun the search to identify a person with the skills and expertise to lead us forward. A Board search committee has solicited proposals from a number of top notch executive search firms and selected one to undertake a national search. Working with the search firm, the committee is finalizing a detailed schedule for identifying candidates, interviews, and staff consultations. We will share more information about those plans as they become concrete.
Our ambition is to have a new CEO ready to start early next year. To ensure a smooth transition, Barbara has agreed to remain in her role through January 2018.
In closing, we thank you for your invaluable support of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. Providing the quality care our patients have come to expect would not be possible without you. And, your continued vigilance in the face of ongoing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood is essential to preserving the rights we have fought so hard to protect. Should you have questions, we have posted on our website, www.ppswcf.org, a document with FAQs with additional information.
We look forward to celebrating with you Barbara’s time with us and will keep you posted on the opportunities to do so.
Laurie Cowan Phillips & Carolyn Johnson
Chair & Immediate Past Chair