31 Jan Press Release: First All-Woman Executive Board Cohort
January 25, 2022
Contact: Nicole Williams, Senior Director, Development & Marketing
First All-Woman Slate of Board Officers Leads RMHC Bay Area
For the first time in its 43-year history, Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area has an all-woman slate of officers leading the 6.5-million-dollar Charity’s board of directors
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, Calif.— “Early in my career, I was always inspired by — and often mentored by — women in board leadership positions,” said Laura Keegan Boudreau, chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area. “Now, I’m excited to have the opportunity to introduce RMHC Bay Area’s first-ever all-woman slate of board officers. I look forward to leading the organization alongside this exceptional group of women and hope they inspire others to seek leadership roles in organizations close to their hearts.”
When Heather Pietsch was elected President of the 25-person RMHC Bay Area board of directors, she wasn’t thinking about making women’s history.
“I choose to spend my time involved with philanthropy and specifically the Ronald McDonald House because it makes me feel fulfilled. It makes me feel like I’m making a difference,” Pietsch said. “I don’t want to live this life with it being about me. It’s so much bigger. I want to show my children that it is more important to help others.”
Yet, making women’s history is exactly what Board President Pietsch (former marketing executive, Salesforce), Immediate Past President Amy Oliver (senior vice president—wealth management, Morgan Stanley), Treasurer Vania Santella (partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP), and Secretary Katty Coulson (vice president—information technology, Oracle NetSuite) did when they took the helm of the board of directors in January. Together with Boudreau and the Charity’s leadership team, the board officers oversee a $6.5 million revenue budget as well as the Charity’s new strategic growth plan.
“In our society and around the world, unpaid reproductive work, such as caregiving, is carried out, by and large, by mothers, sisters, aunties, daughters, and girlfriends,” said Bri Seoane, chief mission officer of RMHC Bay Area. “When crisis strikes, you call the women in your life to rally and surround you in your time of need. Heather, Amy, Vania and Katty — in addition to their sharp business acumen, professional experience, and technical expertise — also bring something very special as our first all-woman slate of officers. At a critical moment in our organization’s strategic growth, where we are stretching and innovating to lift up and support families caring for their sick children, our board will be led by caregivers. I think that’s powerful!”
Gender equality on corporate boards in the U.S. is slow-moving, with just under 25 percent of board seats held by women and 6 percent of board chair positions, according to Deloitte’s 2022 report, “Women in the boardroom: A global perspective”.
“Women make up 75 percent of workers in education, health care, and social assistance, the sectors that encompass most nonprofits. But women hold far less than 75 percent of leadership positions at nonprofits,” according to American Association of University Women’s report, “Broken Ladders: Barriers to Women’s Representation in Nonprofit Leadership.” In fact, the report says, just 42 percent of nonprofit board chairs are women.
The current composition of RMHC Bay Area’s board of directors is 44% women and 56% men, Boudreau said.
“I’ve served on many boards, and this is the first all-woman executive slate I’ve been a part of,” said Immediate Past President Amy Oliver, who served two years as president as RMHC Bay Area continued to house, feed, and support families with critically ill children during the pandemic. “I’m proud to be making RMHC Bay Area history at a moment when families need our support the most.”
“After I finished my corporate career and had more time on my hands as my girls got older, I decided to spend my time volunteering with several philanthropies,” said Pietsch, who launched her marketing career running Oracle’s global media before joining the startup Salesforce in 1999. “It was the best decision I have ever made.”
“I have been involved with the Ronald McDonald House for over 8 years,” Pietsch said. “It all started when my mothers’ group was asked for prayers for a little girl named Callie that was staying at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford. It would take a miracle to save her life. I thought about this little girl for months every day. My daughters and I delivered Christmas presents to the House for her family. We prayed for her. We donated items to help them. We never met Callie or her family, but that experience changed everything for me. I wanted to do all that I could with my time and money to help support many more families like Callie’s, families that are going through the hardest times of their lives.”
About Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area
Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area (RMHC Bay Area) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that provides no-cost housing, free meals, and comprehensive psychosocial support services to families with critically ill children who are accessing lifesaving care at the Bay Area’s leading children’s hospitals, including Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland. Additionally, the Chapter’s two Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles provide free oral health care services to the Bay Area’s most vulnerable children in Contra Costa and Santa Clara Counties. The 123-bedroom Ronald McDonald House at Stanford is one of the world’s largest pediatric housing facilities for medically fragile children and their families, which offers lodging, daily meals, 24/7 family services in English and Spanish, and innovative family-centered programming, including its distinctive makerspace; Family Support Services graduate training program that offers 3,000 hours of therapeutic support to families in medical crisis; an onsite credentialed K-12 school; and more. For more information, visit rmhcbayarea.org. Follow RMHC Bay Area on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.