New CEO at Obici Healthcare Foundation

Published 10:17 pm Monday, April 10, 2017

The new chief executive officer of the Obici Healthcare Foundation has spent the last two months getting to know the foundation, its grantees and the community at large.

Annette Beuchler said she is enjoying learning more about Suffolk and the 10-year-old foundation.

“I want to make sure I get to have conversations with everybody,” she said.

Email newsletter signup

Beuchler started work Jan. 30. She comes with considerable philanthropic experience, having worked for 15 years for The Rapides Foundation in central Louisiana.

It was similar to the Obici Healthcare Foundation in that it was also relatively young — 23 years — and got its assets from the sale of a hospital.

But unlike the Obici Healthcare Foundation, The Rapides Foundation still owns part of the for-profit hospital and also makes grants in the areas of education and economic development as well as health care.

The Obici Healthcare Foundation has given grants worth nearly $35 million to 82 agencies serving more than 360,000 participants in its 10-year history. It focuses its efforts on programs that will prevent obesity, provide chronic disease management, insure more people and boost access to primary care.

Beuchler said she learned of the job in Suffolk when she got an email from Angelica Light, the interim executive director who filled in after Gina Pitrone left last year, asking her to apply for the position. Light had learned of Beuchler through the Southeastern Council of Foundations, where she had participated in a leadership program.

“It felt like it was a good fit,” Beuchler said, noting her new position is still in the South and still deals with health care. She has a Master of Business Administration in health care administration from the University of Louisiana — Lafayette.

Beuchler said her challenge now is to figure out where the needs are in the community. The foundation has a large service area, including the cities of Suffolk and Franklin, Isle of Wight County, Gates County, N.C., and parts of Surry, Sussex and Southampton counties.

“Trying to figure out what the needs are for just this area is where the challenge is,” she said.

Beuchler said the board of directors of the Obici Healthcare Foundation has been good to work with.

“The board here has been really welcoming and easy to work with,” she said. “They’re open to new conversations and new ideas or having discussions about the things they’ve been doing.”

Board chairman Scott Carr said Beuchler was an excellent choice to lead the foundation.

“She had a unique skillset,” he said. “We had a huge pool of applicants. We winnowed that pool down to a list of great folks, all of whom we would have been really proud to have as a director, but Annette’s qualifications rose above the rest.”

Carr said Beuchler already has forged a lot of good relationships and is working well with the board.

“She’s a very collaborative person, which is wonderful, and has fit in very well in the community,” he said.

Beuchler and her husband, Michael Beuchler, live in Suffolk. He is a surgical technician at Sentara Obici Hospital. They have a 12-year-old beagle mutt named Titus.

All three have enjoyed getting to know the area, and Titus enjoys the dog park at Lake Meade Park.

“My husband and I have truly enjoyed being here so far,” Beuchler said. “We’ve found the people to be very nice and welcoming. The history of the area is really unique.”