The Board of Directors of Mazzoni Center issues statement in response to concerns regarding the CEO search process and the hiring of Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino.

The Board of Directors of Mazzoni Center issued the following statement in response to concerns regarding the CEO search process and the hiring of Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino.

“We greatly appreciated all input from the advisory group of the CEO Search Committee. Their involvement heavily influenced the CEO job description, identified key attributes and skills needed for the role, and developed interview questions—all of which gave us a solid foundation for the candidate selection and interview processes.

As we moved through the five-month search process, several of the outstanding and diverse candidates requested confidentiality, and we were faced with a choice.  We could either significantly limit the pool of candidates, or we could change the aspects of the search plan that made a promise of confidentiality difficult if not impossible to provide.  We chose to make the necessary adjustments to the search process to have the broadest pool of candidates possible. Thus, we were unable to carry out some aspects of our original plan, such as involving the larger advisory committee in final candidate interviews, and tour of Mazzoni Center, and introduction to staff.

However, it was still important to us that we have staff representation in the interview process, so a staff member was added to the executive committee which was charged with interviewing and selecting final candidates.

In addition, there has been confusion around who would make the final decision in hiring the CEO. To clarify, that decision—from the beginning of this process—always rested in the majority vote of the full Board, after receiving a hiring recommendation from the executive committee of the CEO Search Committee. After hearing from each committee member, and reviewing the candidate’s experience, the Board approved the committee’s recommendation and offered the CEO position to Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino. We remain extremely confident in that decision, and equally grateful that Lydia accepted.

When it comes to matters of employment, Mazzoni Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender identification or gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, marital status or any other protected status covered by federal, state or local law. Thus, all employment-related decisions are made solely on the basis of a candidate’s skills, ability, experience, education, training, and other legitimate factors related to the requirements of the job.

We are disappointed members of the community—our community—chose to judge Lydia without first meeting her, based on their perceptions of her race, gender identity and orientation, and not her qualifications.

Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino comes from an organization similar to Mazzoni Center in many aspects. Whole Family, where she was CEO, was an HIV/AIDS clinic before it became the larger organization.  The majority of clinic patients were LGBTQ and after the clinic expansion of services and name change, those patients remained a part of the health center. In addition, close to half of the board of directors at Whole Family identified as LGBTQ, as did some employees on staff. 

We were impressed with Lydia’s experience, which includes a background in finance that gives her a keen understanding of financial operations; her leadership skills; her proven ability to provide strategic direction; her understanding and commitment to the LGBTQ community; her dedication to creating culturally competent and ethnically diverse workforces that represent the community they serve; and, a career that has been dedicated to serving in the non-profit sector.

We understand there have been concerns about the search process, and hope we have addressed that adequately here, but we remain steadfast in our decision to hire Lydia. She is a great leader and is prepared to lead Mazzoni Center forward. We are excited for her to meet staff, and the community. We hope people will meet her with an open mind, and get to know her and the full breadth of her impressive experience. 

We appreciate that the community cares enough about the Mazzoni Center to share their concerns with us, and encourage you to share future concerns with us at [email protected].

About Mazzoni Center

Mazzoni Center is Philadelphia’s leading health center focused on the needs of the region’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ) communities. Mazzoni Center’s mission is to provide quality comprehensive health and wellness services in an LGBTQ-focused environment, while preserving the dignity and improving the quality of life of the individuals it serves. Currently Mazzoni Center provides care and services to more than 35,000 patients and clients annually.