I am retiring as Health Forward’s President/CEO

Dr. Harry Jonas, Dr. Bridget McCandless, and Wayne Powell at Health Forward Foundation's rebrand announcement in Nov. 2018.

This week, I announced to the Health Forward Board of Directors my retirement. This has been one of the toughest decisions of my life.

For the past five years and four months, I have loved serving as president/CEO of this organization. I love my job. I love the mission. And I especially love my co-workers.

But there are people I love even more. My decision to retire has been steeped in my dedication to my parents, who have increasing health concerns. Family comes first. That is also a deeply held value at Health Forward. At this time, I need to shift my energy from serving as president/CEO to serving as a caregiver for those I hold dear.

As I shared with the board and staff, I am committed to staying in my position until a replacement has been identified. It is my great desire to make this process a seamless transition. And until that transition, I will be here, engaged and joyful about this work.

It has been an honor to lead Health Forward. I am so proud of Health Forward’s steady commitment to the community, the strong values that formed and continue to guide the foundation, and the ongoing commitment to providing an independent voice for issues affecting those most in need.

While this isn’t the last time you’ll hear from me, I want to take a moment to reflect on my tenure at Health Forward.

I was fortunate to follow an incredible leader in Steve Roling and have been proud to continue the work that he started.

I was welcomed by long-standing employees and, in turn, I have been honored to welcome new associates to the foundation. We’ve celebrated retirements, birthdays, anniversaries, babies, grandbabies, graduations, and grieved losses. We are a family here.

There is no doubt that this staff comes to work every day with a devotion and fierce commitment to those most in need. They provide daily leadership, creativity, a connection to the community, and commitment to the mission. They are also a joy to work with, and have inspired me over the last five years.

Health Forward board leadership has been nothing short of incredible. I had the privilege of knowing the 23 founding board members. They most certainly left their mark on our organization and would be proud to know that subsequent boards have brought that same dedication, passion, and commitment to this work. We just elected new members to our 2019 board, and I know that we have the right people in place to lead the foundation during this next era.

And then there’s the community of servant leaders who work every day to improve the lives of others. I’ve been so fortunate to get to see first-hand the work of our hundreds of grantees and community partners. There is an energy and momentum of collaboration and possibility in our community that is one of this area’s greatest assets.

As we move forward, know that we will continue to uphold the founding principles of compassion, inclusion, diversity, and stewardship. We hold dearly the knowledge that we are entrusted with public funds and that comes with great responsibility.

It has been my great honor to serve with you on behalf of this wonderful community. As I move on to this next phase of my life, I will stay active in the community and support policy efforts where I can. I look forward to celebrating the next evolution of leadership and success of Health Forward Foundation.


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2 thoughts on “I am retiring as Health Forward’s President/CEO

    Dr. McCandless,
    I’ve only had the opportunity to speak with you three or four times over the past few years, but I wanted to tell you that each time I walked away I was impressed, inspired and happy to know that a person such as yourself held the reigns on such an important mission.

    I’m wishing you all the best as you move forward. I’m praying God’s touch upon you as you care for your parents. You are a good soul Briget McCandless. May God bless you always.

    Bridget -you’ve done a great job. Sorry to see you leave and you still have a lot to contribute in your life!! Take care. Arthur R Smith CEO HEMACS, Inc and Board member Mercy and Truth Medical Missions

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Health Forward Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact Health Forward Communications Officer Jennifer Sykes, at jsykes@hcfgkc.org.

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