Pam Gould has spent four years as president and CEO helping the health care nonprofit Shepherd’s Hope grow within the West Orange County community. But she said it’s time to make a career change and said she feels led to shift her focus so she can make a larger impact in the community and with students through public service work.
She has served on the Orange County School Board since 2012.
Gould’s last day with Shepherd’s Hope was Jan. 31.
"Pam Gould has decided to chart another path of service, which cannot be pursued while at Shepherd’s Hope," Shepherd’s Hope Board Chair John Miller said in a prepared statement. "Pam’s leadership has been instrumental to guiding Shepherd’s Hope through the challenges the pandemic presented the last several years.”
“I feel good about where I’m leaving things,” Gould said. “When I came in, we had 24 staff, and now there’s 37 positions. We’ve grown the revenue to match that increase in budget. We’re able to move in and bring in new technologies like telehealth and building capacity. I feel great about where they are.”
In March 2019, Gould arrived at Shepherd’s Hope to a vacant seat, no development person on the team and a nearly finished building that was behind in its construction schedule. And then the pandemic hit.
She said Barnes told her she was meant to be with Shepherd’s Hope during the global crisis to help solidify the nonprofit’s next chapter in the community.
During her time with Shepherd’s Hope, Gould reached many goals.
“I’m really proud of the team we’ve built,” she said. “I’m proud that we didn’t have to lay off anyone during COVID. I’m proud that we were able to bring additional services to build capacity and access. … My last big thing was getting the commercial kitchen built out with all in-kind support and a couple grants to buy some equipment.”
During Gould’s tenure, Shepherd’s Hope secured the first multimillion dollar endowment through Healthy West Orange and another million dollar commitment, so the organization is financially sound, she said.
She said she will continue to support Shepherd’s Hope.
“I feel like I’m walking alongside now, not walking in the lead,” she said.
“In addition to the work and how proud I am of Shepherd’s Hope, I am very committed to our community at large and the work I’ve done on the School Board,” Gould said. “I enjoy and want to pursue having larger impact across the board of our community. And I think for me to do that is to look to doing that in public service. I want to do things that are very impactful.”
Gould has a long career history in West Orange County, and many of her positions gave her opportunities for directly serving the community. She worked for such organizations as Orlando Health and Health Central; she worked on the School Nurse Program, which placed nurses in local schools; she served as president of the Health Central Foundation; she has worked in marketing and human resources; and she has worked with the Garden Theatre, Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, the town of Oakland, Dave’s House and Florida Virtual School.
“I think all the experiences I’ve been able to have in the larger businesses, like Orlando Health and Health Central, down to the smaller businesses, has given me a vantage point of the horizon and how it all connects together,” Gould said. “Economics, health and wellbeing, education and quality of life all need to intersect to make it a great place to live work and play.”
MATCHING STUDENTS WITH CAREERS
Gould believes in bringing together private, public and grassroots entities for partnerships that match students with potential career paths. School is about more than money and infrastructure, she said.
“How do you create paths for really understanding how to use those gifts you have?” Gould said of students. “If you’re not exposed to a lot of hands-on experiences while you’re learning the academic reading, writing, arithmetic, you’re lost when you graduate. You might have a path to college but not a path to a career. If people understand what your gifts are, it helps to match you with (the right career),” she said. “The more we can provide that for our students, the more successful they’ll be.”
Gould wants to direct her efforts toward creating strategies and policies that will have a generational effect on the community. One way is by connecting businesses with students through apprenticeships and philanthropy. Another is through a DirectConnect program, which partners local high schools and professionals in careers such as construction and the culinary arts.
“It’s creating curriculum right on the campus; learning the trade and being able to apprentice right there,” Gould said. “Orange Tech runs those types of programs in our high schools too. … It’s about exposure. I’ve done a lot of championing on the School Board, but I want to do more in the community.”
FINDING THE TEACHING MOMENTS
“I do think my experience in health care, mental health care, looking at how to provide reasonable, quality, affordable housing, certainly the business aspect of what needs to happen and, really, the impact of creating true pathways for everybody to be successful have been all teaching moments in really understanding the horizon of our community,” Gould said. “I look forward to continuing to work in service and hopefully shape the community for generations to come.”
The Shepherd's Hope board now is searching for a permanent president. Founder Dr. Bill Barnes will serve as interim CEO. He founded Shepherd’s Hope 25 years ago, and the first health center was opened at Orange Technical Center – Westside.
“How awesome is that to have the founder, who has the relationships, who built the relationships, who understands the value we have, to be able to step in and make that transition for the staff?” Gould said.
Other changes are coming to Shepherd’s Hope. Barnes said there will be a rebranding for the nonprofit in the next year. The name will be changed to Shepherd’s Health to better reflect the health services provided by the nonprofit; however, he stressed, there will be no changes in the services delivered.
The organization provides free health care access for the uninsured through urgent and specialty care and connecting where appropriate to ongoing care. It provides services in West Orange from its Winter Garden headquarters at 455 Ninth St.
“There’s not many (nonprofits) who can say that they are delivering $20 million annually in services on average,” Gould said. “That is what is given away in health care services, from going in and taking care of your high blood pressure to cancer care and surgeries. There’s no other nonprofit that makes those miracles every day.”