— By Kathy Padro, Hope Hospice
Helen Meier, executive director of Hope Hospice for the past nine years, has announced her decision to retire in June. During her tenure, tripled in size and became the preferred leader in hospice services within the service area.
“Helen has provided outstanding leadership to Hope Hospice. A woman of great character and integrity, she has been a skillful, dedicated leader who has championed the local hospice effort and ensured that local hospice families receive the very best the field has to offer,” said Charles Crohare, president of the Hope Hospice board of directors.
“Helen has been an exceptional leader with extraordinary vision, heart and grace.”
Ann Noll, R.N., C.P.H.N., director of patient care, agreed. “With her keen intelligence, drive and dedication, Helen has led our organization through a period of major growth and helped to establish Hope Hospice as the Tri-Valley community resource on end-of-life care and grief support. We will miss her guidance and wish for her many happy years of retirement.”
Working closely with the Hope Hospice board of directors, Meier helped assemble a transition team to identify her successor and to ensure that the organization continues to grow in a responsible, sustainable manner during the transition and beyond.
Meier has been a champion for children and families throughout her career. She has nurtured and developed several nonprofit organizations and earned the respect of her staff, board of directors and colleagues for her integrity and her drive to provide the best in services and care to those who need it most.
“Each job brought joy, opportunities to learn and challenges that were sometimes daunting. For over three decades, I have had the responsibility and the privilege to lead organizations working with and for those who are less fortunate or face significant challenges," Meier said.
"I have also been blessed with the opportunity to work with supportive civic leaders, dedicated board members, extraordinary volunteers, generous donors and committed staff. Together, we have helped our communities to better serve those in need and to make the world a better place.
“Hope Hospice will forever be dear to me," Meier said. “More than just a job, my tenure at Hope Hospice was a calling, and the organization will remain very close to my heart.”
In addition to expanding Hope Hospice services and programs, Meier’s accomplishments include:
- Expanding services to twice the capacity during her 12-year tenure as executive director at Tri-Valley Haven, including the construction of a shelter and community services building to better serve battered women and sexual assault victims
- Constructing a daycare center for 72 homeless and low-income children and building an addition to a transitional housing apartment complex in the San Francisco Tenderloin area while serving as executive director
- Directing a Caltrans research project to improve disabled access to full-sized city buses resulting in a published study on development of paratransit systems for the disabled across the United States
- Overseeing the House at San Quentin, a visiting center for prison families; assisting in replicating the model statewide and working to improve medical services to prisoners
- Working as a community organizer and educator for the Latin America Mission in San Jose, Costa Rica, to improve conditions for poor and orphaned children and single mothers
“When someone like Helen, who has been with our organization for many years, and has done so much for us, mentions retirement, that’s not welcome news. Though her daily leadership will be missed, we hope she will enjoy a wonderful retirement, which she has so richly earned,” said Peter Wong, M.D., medical director at Hope Hospice.
Meier followed her retirement announcement with a commitment to remain in place through June 10, while the board of directors selects her replacement.
“When Helen advised us of her intention," Crohare said, “we began implementing a previously developed succession plan. We are mindful of the magnitude of the task before us and are confident that we will find the ideal person to build upon the legacy Helen is leaving to all of us.”
Over the past several weeks, a selection committee made up of Hope Hospice staff and the board of directors has been working to select a new CEO for the organization.