March 10, 2023

Women’s History Month: Women in Leadership at CommunityHealth

March is Women’s History Month. Throughout the month, the United States honors the advancement of gender rights, accomplishments by female innovators, and the space for growth we face with gender equality. But CommunityHealth celebrates gender equity everyday.

While less than 20% of leadership roles in health care are held by women, the staff at CommunityHealth is 93% female. Our clinic understands that leadership must represent the communities they service in order to provide Quality Health Care for All.

Learn more about a few of the fearless, compassionate, and reflexive women in leadership at CommunityHealth…

Steph Willding (she/her)

Chief Executive Officer

“I am committed to building greater gender equity in leadership in health care.

Today, less than 20% of leadership roles in health care are held by women and that number declines even further when looking at CEO’s.

As the CEO of CommunityHealth, I am able to bring greater representation as a woman.

But more importantly, because I occupy a seat at the table, I am committed to making space and more seats at the table for diverse women leaders in health care.”

Laura Ciresi Starr (she/her)

Director of External Affairs

“In the nonprofit sector, many more leadership roles are filled by women than in other sectors, so I feel like I’ve had years to observe the leadership styles that really work well and those that don’t throughout my career.

I recognize that gender identity alone doesn’t make someone a good or bad leader. I don’t have to choose between being a great leader at work and having a full life outside the office.

Though our staff leadership at CommunityHealth is all women, I think we bring really diverse perspectives to the table, and that is our greatest strength. We make every effort to lead CommunityHealth in a way that truly reflects our core values of Excellence, Respect, Trust, Collaboration, and Justice.

We can be both ambitious and empathic at the same time, which, in my opinion, makes us a powerful force for health equity in Chicago.”

Paola Seguil (she/her)

Director of Operations

“As a woman in leadership at CommunityHealth, I believe it’s my responsibility to be a strong role model for other women and to work together to lift each other up.

I’m so proud and grateful to be a part of an all-female Leadership Team and to work with an all-female management team.

Their guidance, support, and teamwork ethic is invaluable!”

Emily Hendel (she/her)

Director of Clinical Services

“I began my career at CommunityHealth 18 years ago as a staff nurse. Over the years, I have been given opportunities to grow in my leadership.

I have so appreciated the ways that CommunityHealth has invested in me and trusted me to be up to the challenge of taking on new responsibilities. At CommunityHealth, I’m fortunate to be among many women in leadership roles.

Being women in leadership together, we never take anything for granted and celebrate every success.  As a group we work to build each other up so that as a team, we can all succeed together.”

Daniela Acacio (she/her)

Health Education and Outreach Manager

“CommunityHealth has strengthened my leadership skills by allowing me the opportunity to continuously adapt and grow the health education/outreach program in a way that makes the most sense for our patients.

Being a woman in leadership is important to me because there is a need for more Latin and female voices in the public health space globally.

The female leadership at CommunityHealth allows the opportunity to have diverse perspectives and opportunities for growth in the healthcare landscape.

Also, it is so important to have women shaping healthcare and the experience of equitable healthcare for other women in the community.”

Angel Moore (she/her)

Senior Development Manager

“CommunityHealth has given me numerous opportunities to grow as a leader!

The organization trusts me to bring new ideas and see them to fruition. They have given me the courage to speak up for myself, my team, and the organization.

    Being a woman in leadership is important to me because I want young girls to see themselves in leadership roles and in spaces they are passionate about.”

    Alice Woo (they/she)

    Foundation Relations Manager

    “I came to CommunityHealth one year after graduating college. Throughout the arduous job search, I started to doubt my abilities.

    What’s more, I doubted that I’d be able to find a work environment where I really felt like I belonged. I never could have imagined I’d find a team as supportive as CommunityHealth’s.

    The collaboration and validation of my colleagues has undoubtedly helped me trust myself. In the past year and a half, I have grown in confidence and courage, and I have become more comfortable in my leadership, thanks to their trust in me. 

    I am inspired every day by the incredible leadership of our clinic staff. The impact of their work is felt so immediately by the patients we serve.

    Everyone at CommunityHealth is here because we truly believe that health care is a human right, and our 93% female team puts that belief into practice every day.”

    CommunityHealth is more than just a free clinic but a safe, progressive, and empowering space for all identities to advocate properly and live healthily.

    Our clinic represents our patients as people from their communities, people that they can relate to. As a female-led organization, we are devoted to redefining health care with inclusivity, accessibility, and cultural competency.