Today United Way Suncoast CEO and President Diana Baker has announced her plan to retire at the end of 2014.
Diana is also an ordained minister and is retiring to pursue her personal mission to improve the lives of others through ministry work.
Baker notified the United Way Suncoast Board of her decision in late 2013 to ensure ample time to identify a successor. Citing the organization’s solid strategic plan, organizational stability, and the strength of the United Way Suncoast staff and Board leadership, Baker felt the timing was right to make this leadership transition.
Baker’s career with United Way spans 35 years from her first role as an Administrative Assistant to her current role as the CEO for the past 14 years. During her tenure, Diana championed the concept of regionalization, as the strength of the organization has a direct correlation to the impact it can make in the community. Reflecting on highlights of her United Way career, Baker shared she was exceptionally proud of the evolution from a fundraising organization to the current community impact model. “The new model enables us to be more innovative and creative in how we address the social issues in our community and create real and lasting change,” said Baker.
The United Way Suncoast Board has convened a CEO Search Committee, which is being led by Gary Sasso, president and CEO of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt and former Chairman of the Board for United Way Suncoast, and a team of United Way Board members and volunteers.
Bill Merrill, shareholder with Icard Merrill law firm in Sarasota, and current Board of Directors Chair for United Way Suncoast, stated “Diana has done an amazing job of leading this organization for the past 12 years as CEO. She is encouraging us to look for the right person to take the organization to the next level of leadership and performance. We expect our search process to do just that.”