Updates from Mazzoni Center Board: Our Commitment to You

October 6, 2017
To Mazzoni Center Community:
Transition and change have been a constant here at Mazzoni Center, especially for much of this year. It is our commitment to you, our clients and staff, our supporters and partners, to provide on an ongoing, regular basis robust, consistent, and timely communications, beginning with this letter. 
For 38 years, Mazzoni has striven to be a safe, welcoming place, where comprehensive health and wellness services are provided in an LGBTQ-focused and supportive environment designed to preserve dignity and improve quality of life for the individuals we serve. Despite the recent organizational transition and change, that mission remains at the center of all we do. 
Good, important work happens every day at Mazzoni Center. But there is much to do to restore a sense of connectedness and trust between all levels of staff and the board, and among all those who seek care and services here. There is much to do in promoting a community that values and views the differences among us as strengths rather than seeing those differences as divisive. We are being intentional every day about moving toward these goals.  Many things are in motion to ensure our progress.  We have highlighted several below:
New Medical Director 
While this was announced previously, we'd like to take this opportunity to share our sincere congratulations and excitement at the appointment of Dr. Nancy Brisbon as the new Medical Director of Mazzoni Health Center. Dr. Brisbon comes to this leadership role with an impeccable history of patient care and 10 years of experience providing that care here at Mazzoni Center.  We are thrilled she is now at the helm of the Health Center. To read more about her appointment, visit the link here.
Board Governance & Recruitment
We have heard from staff and the community on a variety of issues and topics regarding the Board of Directors. In response to this input, we have taken the following actions:
Reviewed board policies at similar organizations and voted to establish term limits for Board service. Effective as of our Annual Meeting later this month, Board members may serve a maximum of two terms, three years each, for a total of six years. Current Board members who have exceeded this limit will be able to extend for one year, in order to complete special projects and assist with onboarding a large group of new Board members.
Reviewed the financial requirements for Board membership and voted to remove the minimum donation requirement for Board service. Going forward, Board service will require commitments of time, fundraising, and personal donations commensurate with each Board member’s ability to give.
Reaffirmed our Commitment to changing and expanding the Board. Interest in Board service and the caliber of our initial pool of new candidates have been extremely high. The depth of experience and representation from across all dimensions, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, experience, age, and ability are exactly what this organization  needs. We are thrilled to see how many people are interested in serving the community through Mazzoni Center, and we are excited to engage with them through Board service, committee leadership, and other volunteer opportunities.
We have held one informational session for prospective candidates and will soon begin the interview process to evaluate their fit for needed skill sets and commitment level.  Staff and community will be involved in this process.  The response has been so great that we expect to hold a second informational session.
Permanent CEO Search
Our next steps in the CEO search process are to solidify the job description and to form the search committee, which will include Board members, senior management, front-line staff, and community leaders. Surveys and small group discussions with staff will help clarify the needs and requirements for this position, and opportunities for staff feedback will be built into the search process. We plan to have the committee formed by Oct. 14, 2017 and the job description confirmed by Oct. 21, 2017. Every date is a target and adjustments may need to be made along the way. It is the commitment of the Board of Directors to be transparent about this plan and the process as it unfolds.
New Weekly Communication Tool
Mazzoni will be publishing a new weekly update beginning this month.  We have heard from staff across the organization about a need for improved communication both internally and externally.  As one step to address these concerns, a weekly briefing will be emailed to staff and published on social media and our website. The briefing will include short updates on upcoming events and programs, comings and goings of staff, community happenings, and other issues of interest.  Let us know what you think and share ideas to be included in this weekly communication by emailing Sean Laughlin at [email protected].
On Sept. 13, 2017, a majority of the staff of Mazzoni Center voted to unionize as members of SEIU.  Prior to the vote, management hired a union education firm with the intent of providing employees at all levels with facts that could inform their decision-making. While the decision to engage a union education firm is not unusual in these situations, we regret and are deeply sorry that a more thorough due diligence was not conducted prior to hiring a firm that was clearly misaligned with Mazzoni Center’s values. The decision-making process has been addressed and documented, and all those involved in the situation understand that improvements must be made moving forward.  We can assure you that our policies and procedures for evaluating vendors of any kind are currently being reevaluated to ensure that this situation does not reoccur.  And we will, of course, work cooperatively with SEIU to continue evolving  Mazzoni Center into a workplace that is fully supportive and representative of staff, patients and clients.
Investigation Update
Lastly, the two independent investigations that were conducted this summer by two separate law firms into the actions of former Medical Director Dr. Robert Winn are nearing completion.  We will continue to provide updates on this matter in the coming weeks.  
Thank you for your continued input and support of Mazzoni Center.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach us at [email protected]. Our thanks for all you do as part of the Mazzoni community.  
on behalf of the Mazzoni Center Board of Directors