Mazzoni Center's CEO is stepping down by 2019 - Generocity Philly

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Nov. 13, 2018 1:32 pm

Mazzoni Center’s CEO is stepping down by 2019

Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino joined the embattled LGBTQ healthcare nonprofit as CEO in March. A former director-level staffer said they think a better future for the org is possible, but only under more diverse leadership.

Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino.

(Courtesy photo)

Update: Comment from Mazzoni Center Board Chair Chris Pope has been added. (11/13, 7:50 p.m.)
Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino is reportedly stepping down from the embattled LGBTQ healthcare nonprofit she joined as CEO in March.

Mazzoni Center COO Ron Powers is also stepping down on Dec. 28.  after more than 20 years in his position.

A statement published by Philadelphia magazine indicates that a shared leadership model may be adopted in the future: “Sciarrino’s tenure has demonstrated, both to the Board, and to Sciarrino herself, that no single person can lead Mazzoni Center in the way our staff and communities need at this time.”

Three staffers will serve as interim heads of the organization, according to Philadelphia Gay News: Medical Director Dr. Nancy Brisbon, Care Services Director Alicia Manley and Chief Financial Officer Racquel Assaye. They will be advised by an HR consultant and a new director of diversity, equity and inclusion, who would be hired by Jan. 31.

A representative for the Mazzoni Center did not respond to requests for comment. As of press time, the organization’s website had not been updated with a public statement. Its Twitter account is promoting its Transgender Awareness Week events.

The organization’s former director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Kay Martinez, who was fired from their five-month-long role in August, said in an email that the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is currently investigating the working environment they were “subjected to under previous leadership,” specifically incidents of “incidents of misgendering, discrimination, and retaliation.”

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Martinez said they are optimistic about the nonprofit’s future under the three named interim leaders.

“I believe it is possible to transform working environments in to safer spaces for Trans and Non-binary people, particularly Trans and Non-Binary Black and Brown people. However, to do so, these identities must be in positions of leadership to ensure diversity, equity, inclusion and a positive working culture,” they said. “While I look forward to Mazzoni’s future as it is a vital resource for my LGBT community, they still must make amends for their past.”

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Update: Board Chair Chris Pope provided comment about the interim leadership model after publish.

“The organization’s interim leadership plan moving forward, until a permanent leadership solution is determined, will employ a collaborative leadership model, which is typically used during times of leadership transition. This collaborative leadership model brings together some of Mazzoni Center’s brightest leaders in finance, medical services, care services and human resources to lead the organization on an interim basis.

We feel strongly that this interim collaborative leadership model, made up of current Mazzoni leaders, is what the organization needs right now. Meanwhile, the board is taking this time to step back and really reflect – with the input of stakeholders, including staff, patients and community leaders — on what leadership model will work best for the organization moving forward.

The preliminary feedback we’ve received from staff has been positive, and we believe that it will foster greater opportunities for employee engagement and departmental collaboration throughout the organization.”

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