Health Forward Foundation

Working with Health Forward Associates a Privilege

My time at Health Forward is coming to a close.

On Aug. 14, I participated in my last Health Forward board meeting. These last few days are full of cleaning my office (which is no easy task), finishing some projects I am working on, and sharing stories and memories of the last nine years. My last day as President/CEO is Aug. 31.

If you have never been part of starting a new organization, put it on your bucket list. If you like chaos, uncertainty, planning, excitement, hard work, and an occasional screw up, a startup experience is something that you will enjoy. Remember, the worst the screw up, the better the story!

The startup of this Foundation was one of the most exciting and meaningful times in my life because of the people I was privileged to work with.

In my case it started with Dr. Harry Jonas and Mr. Gurnie Gunter, our founding board chair and vice chair, respectively. These two men helped create the Foundation’s culture, ethics policy and values and beliefs statement that have served us well in the last nine years. These two men were hard-working, fair and accessible. They knew the difference between board governance and management responsibilities. Every startup should be so lucky to have Harry and Gurnie as their leaders.

Before I was hired, Dr. Jonas hired a professional assistant to help him with his duties as board chair before a President/CEO was hired. So, I inherited Tracy Skidgel, and it was the best gift any new President/CEO ever received.

During my tenure, I was honored to work with each new addition to the Health Forward family:

  • Rhonda Holman, Sylvia Robinson, Dan Couch, Karen Guile, Joyce Tennyson and Graciela Couchonnal (joined Health Forward in 2005)
  • Mona Miranda Van Noy, Jennifer Sykes and Mary Kettlewell (joined Health Forward in 2006)
  • Jane Mosley, Adriana Pecina, Karen Waller, Khary Floyd, Oral Fisher and Andres Dominquez (joined Health Forward in 2007)
  • Melanie Patek and Jessica Hembree (joined Health Forward in 2008)
  • Rick Zimmer (joined Health Forward in 2009).
  • Brenda Calvin (joined Health Forward in 2010)
  • Liana Riesinger and Ashley Macken (joined Health Forward in 2011)
  • Cheryl Parker (joined Health Forward in 2012)
  • Tywanna Brown (joined Health Forward in 2013)

Thanks to our current and former associates for your friendship and dedication to the mission of the Health Forward Foundation. It was an honor to be your associate.


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Health Forward's Local Health Buzz 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 Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at jsykes@hcfgkc.org.

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2300 Main Street, Suite 304
Kansas City MO 64108
(816) 241-7006