It’s hard to say goodbye


It’s hard for me to believe that I’ll soon be leaving Sarasota Memorial to return to Michigan. In these final weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the past amazing nine years.

Health care has undergone an enormous transformation over the last decade, and it’s because of your great work, support and dedication that we’ve been able to navigate the many changes successfully. We have accomplished so much together: The opening of new outpatient centers, the North Port Emergency Room and several Urgent Care Clinics, the move into our Courtyard Tower, several outstanding Joint Commission surveys, Magnet re-designation and other prestigious honors, enhancements in quality and the patient experience, pioneering advances in medical technology and treatments, bond rating upgrades – the list goes on and on. Countless hours of planning and hard work went into all of these efforts, and the results wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of our incredible team – staff members, physicians, volunteers and community and business partners.

Throughout all of the changes, I think we can be proud that we have not strayed from our mission as a public hospital and provider of essential medical care that’s critical to the health and wellness of our community.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone how fortunate we are to have an elected hospital board to provide oversight and guidance. Most hospital boards are appointed, but the members of the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board are elected by voters and directly accountable to the community they serve. They devote hundreds of hours without pay, and you won’t find a more dedicated, experienced group of leaders anywhere. Personally, they have given me invaluable support, expertise and direction over the years.

I’m also grateful to the hospital’s entire leadership team for their tireless efforts and the wonderful example they set for the rest of the organization. As I pass the baton on to the extremely capable hands of interim CEO David Verinder, I leave knowing Sarasota Memorial will continue to flourish.

I’d also like to express my gratitude to our outstanding Medical Staff, an exceptionally talented group dedicated to providing top-quality care. Many thanks go as well to our volunteers, who selflessly contribute so much to the health system. Our successes also have depended on our remarkable community leaders and elected officials who have demonstrated time and again their commitment to excellent health care. Indeed, our entire community has shown extraordinary support for Sarasota Memorial and we take our responsibility to those we serve very seriously. There are many challenges ahead, and the loyalty of our patients and community will be key to our continued success and won’t be taken for granted.

It’s been an absolute pleasure and privilege to be a part of this outstanding organization and wonderful community. I look forward to hearing about your future accomplishments and hope you will stay in touch when I start my new role with Ascension Health in Michigan. You will never be far from my heart or thoughts.

Again, thank you.

•• Say goodbye to Gwen at a reception from 3:30 to 5 p.m., today (Wednesday, May 14) in the Surgery reception area, located on the first floor of the Courtyard Tower between the lobby and Emergency Care Center. All are invited to stop by for refreshments and to wish Gwen well! **


Donna StJean

Just wanted to say it has been a pleasure to work for and with you!!!!

Lee Gordon

Thank you Gwen, for your outstanding leadership. Never give up the dress for a business suit! Looking forward to hearing about the great things you’ll be doing for others. God bless you always…

Stephanie K.

Thank you for the service and commitment to Sarasota Memorial Hospital throughout the years.
We wish you all the best in the years to come.

Jonathan Albano

So sad to hear that you’re leaving, sorry I couldn’t make it to the farewell party, but I wish you the best of life, and GodBless!

Barbara Vetri

I will not be able to attend your reception and wanted you to know you will be missed. Thank you for all have done for SMH. Best of Luck in Michigan.

Sheryl & Carl McIntyre

It has been a pleasure having you as our CEO, And thank you for all the outstanding accomplishments you have done for our community.May you and your family always be blessed.

Betty Patnaude

I have always had great respect for you Gwen and am sad to see you leave. I have always felt you have not only looked after the hospital with great care you have also done the same for its employees. You will be missed and I wish you nothing but the very best

Paul Repass

I will so miss you and your amazing leadership. Thank you for all the hard and exhausting work you have done for SMH. I am so glad we got to know each other. Not sure if I ever told you but your hair style “rocks”!

Rev. Ken Briggs, Per Diem Chaplain

As a pastor & former denominational health care director in Chicago, I can say SMH is the finest acute-care facility with which I have ever been associated. This is all due to your excellent leadership. May you go now, surrounded by our love, and led by the promises of God, the presence of Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Dave Williams

Gwen, It was such a shock to hear you were leaving SMH. Since you took over a CEO, the entire SMHCS has improved in so many ways. You have always supported our small part in the system, & we appreciate everything you have done for us. You have definitely made SMHCS a GREAT place to work, or be a patient. I hope your replacement can follow the systems you have already set in motion. I wish you the best in your future endeavors, I will never forget when you knocked me out in the WEI competition, We will miss you!!! Sincerely, Dave Williams


Thank you Gwen, for you excellent leadership!You will truly be missed. It was nice working for you and with you. I will miss you leaderership, your smile, and your style of fashion. Best wishes,God bless you and your family!

Natalie James

Thanks for everything you have done for this organization. I wish you well on your new chapter in life. You will do an exceptional job. You inspire me to continue to press towards my goals. Stay blessed

Melody Benoit

Gwen, best to you in your new position. You will be greatly missed around here. Take good care!

Helen Clifford

Dear Gwen: I was just invited to be a member of the Senior Advisory Committee at Sarasota Memorial and was looking forward to meeting you. I have my masters in Hospital Administration and worked in the field since 1960, its a wonderful professional and I wish you the very best in your next adventure. I’ve been a Eucharistic Minister at Sarasota Memorial for St. Michael’s Church for the past 10 years – It’s a great hospital and you
have done a wonderful job. Good luck and may
God be with you. Sorry I missed your reception today – previous commitment.
Helen C.Clifford

Leslie Taylor

You will be missed for your unending wisdom and guidance, your genuine friendliness and humor, and most of all your “we can do it” attitude. Your enthusiasm inpired all of us to be proud of our jobs and our workplace. May God bless you as you meet new challeges ahead and whenever the day finally comes when you’re ready to retire…Sarasota has a palm tree waiting and a beach chair with your name on it!

Anita Hird

Thank you for all you have done to make SMH the best hospital in the area. Your drive and vision have allowed us to become a premier organization that values both our patients and employees.
You will be missed but we wish you well in your next endeavor!

Dr. Washington Hill

Thank you again, Gwen, for all you have done to make SMHCS a better place for all of us – the community, patients, employees and medical staff. We will all miss you and your energy. You have been a friend to women and children and we will always remember your accomplishments. You have left your mark. All the best from Rwanda.
– Washington Hill, MD, FACOG

Leslie Silva RN

Thank you for your excellent leadership. Good luck and best wishes in your new endeavour. Cheers!


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