July 23, 2015
Myrna Deckert, CEO of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation for the past eight years, announced her retirement Friday. The Health Foundation’s Board of Directors will begin a search for a replacement and Deckert will continue in her role until a successor is named.
Long a pillar in the El Paso community and in non-profits across Texas and the nation, Deckert was named CEO of the Health Foundation in 2007. Under her leadership the Health Foundation has grown the number of program initiatives it supports to include a sharp focus on healthy eating and active living, mental and emotional well being, disenfranchised youth after-school opportunities, healthy relationships and sexuality, and teen binge drinking.
Deckert also was instrumental in launching a leadership-training program called REALIZE, which helps to support a new generation of non-profit leaders in the Paso del Norte region, and she was visionary in working to establish the Paso del Norte Foundation in 2013 as a public charitable organization to advance the mission of the Health Foundation.
“I have been the most fortunate person. To be involved with so many wonderful organizations and people has been a true blessing,” she said.
“What I’d like to do now is nothing, frankly. That is, except spend more time with my children and grandchildren, and more time golfing, of course.”
Deckert also announced that she and her husband, Ray, will eventually live part time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to be closer to their two daughters and their families, including four grandchildren. The Deckerts plan to stay involved in the El Paso community.
In typical fashion, she deflected any praise for her successful tenure both at the Health Foundation and at the YWCA of El Paso, where she served as chief executive for 32 years. “The only thing I’ve done is bring the right people together to get things done,” she said.
However, others describe her as “businesswoman extraordinaire” and one of the most caring and connected chief executives El Paso has ever known.
“Myrna is El Paso, and the work she has done for the betterment of the community is both incredible and long-lasting,” said Carolyn Mora, chairwoman of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We will miss her strength, her leadership and her humble nature, and El Paso will be forever grateful for her many contributions.”
The board is forming a committee composed of current and former Health Foundation board members to begin a replacement search. Deckert told the current Health Foundation board of her plans at its bi-monthly meeting Thursday.
Before working for the Health Foundation, Deckert was president and COO of The Paso del Norte Group and CEO of the YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region from 1970 to 2002.
At the YWCA, she served on the National Coordinating Board – YWCA of the USA and chaired the Change Initiative – the first organizational change of the National YWCA in 95 years.
Current Board service includes: Las Palmas/Del Sol Medical Center, Capital Bank and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Family: Husband, Ray. Four children: Shelly Dick, U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of Louisiana; Kim Herrera, Principal of Grace George Jewelry who also lives in Baton Rouge; Charles Deckert, who co-owns a security company in Austin, Texas; Michael Deckert, works at a resort in Napa, California. Nine grandchildren.
ABOUT THE PASO DEL NORTE HEALTH FOUNDATION
The Health Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary serving El Paso and Hudspeth counties in Texas; Doña Ana, Luna, and Otero counties in New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, MX.
Over the past 10 years, the Health Foundation has worked to establish the Paso del Norte Health Information Exchange; the El Paso Behavioral Health Consortium; a Regional Strategic Health Framework and a transformational leadership program for executive regional health leaders called REALIZE.
Established in 1995 from the sale of the not-for-profit Providence Memorial Hospital, the Health Foundation is one of the largest private foundations on the United States/Mexico border with assets that exceed $200 million. Since its inception, Health Foundation has committed more than $145 million in grants and activities.
Some 330 organizations have received funding from the Health Foundation, and the organization has awarded more than 1,700 grants.
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