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Sarasota-Manatee
Business Observer Wednesday, Mar. 17, 2021 4 months ago

Nonprofit CEO plans to retire after 13 years of leadership

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Step Up Suncoast's board has started a regional search and hopes to have a new president and CEO in place by the end of June.

SARASOTA — After 13 years of leadership, Step Up Suncoast President and CEO Barbara Patten plans to retire.

Patten will step down from the role on Aug. 31. The board has started a regional search and would like to have a new president and CEO in place by the end of June, according to a press release. 

Step Up Suncoast assists low-income families with crisis services and programs centered around early childhood development.

Patten was hired as president and CEO in August 2008. She spent the bulk of her career in the nonprofit sector, previously at the Economic Opportunity Council of Indian River County. Patten served on several boards throughout the community, including the Florida Community Action Network, Manatee Educational Television and Manatee Community Federal Credit Union. 

During her time at Step Up Suncoast, Patten doubled the number of families served within the Rise and Shine Early Learning Head Start and Early Head Start programs. A press release says she also designed and implemented the Family Self-Sufficiency program, the cornerstone to creating long-term economic stability for families. According to the release, Patten is most proud of the rebrand and successful relaunch of Step Up Suncoast in 2018.

“Barbara is one of those leaders we all admire and strive to be," says Step Up Suncoast Board Chair Charlie Kennedy in a statement. "She runs the organization with incredible passion for our mission, the residents we serve, and our employees. She is a quick problem solver and long-term strategic thinker. We will miss her presence and leadership, however, we wish her happiness in the time she’ll now have for her family and grandchildren.”  

Step Up Suncoast was incorporated in 1968. It provides services to over 12,000 individuals annually across five counties with a budget of about $18 million. Its mission is to break the multigenerational cycle of poverty through education, support services and community partnerships.

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