The horizons have just become much broader for one of Southwest Florida’s most vital nonprofits. Child Care of Southwest Florida Inc. (CCSWFL) has named longtime Lee Health board member and Lee County Department of Public Safety executive Chris Hansen as its new CEO, and he’s intent on partnering with other community agencies to strengthen, energize and grow the profile of the organization.
Hansen plans to empower CCSWFL’s passionate, solution-driven team to further the organization’s mission of enhancing the lives of children and families. “I’m truly honored to work with the staff, the volunteers, the board and the community partners to advance Child Care of Southwest Florida’s mission and to shine a light on the positive impact the organization makes for the children and families in our community,” Hansen said.
Hansen has made it clear he’s up to the challenge of inheriting the position that retiring CEO Carol Conway has held for the past four years, said John Miller, chair of the CCSWFL Board of Directors.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunities the organization has under the new leadership with Chris,” Miller said. “Carol has done an amazing job of bringing the organization to where it is today, and I fully expect Chris will continue to broaden the community awareness of Child Care of Southwest Florida and its fantastic and important mission.”
Collaboration with like-minded agencies that have similar missions is one of the keys to CCSWFL’s ability to grow, said Jordi Tejero, incoming board chair and a member of the selection committee that chose Hansen.
“One of the strengths I see in the most successful not-for-profits locally is they have relationships with so many other community organizations,” Tejero said. “The way Chris speaks to leveraging relationships demonstrates that he has the mindset and the connections to lead us in what we’re looking to accomplish.”
Hansen joined the Lee County Department of Public Safety in 1980, working his way up from EMT to deputy director of public safety in his 28 years with the agency. He served as government liaison in his role as the vice president of operations for Priority Marketing of Southwest Florida Inc. from 2008-14. He was responsible for community relations, marketing, social media and business development for a six-county area as director of business development for Park Royal Hospital the past three years.
He and Tejero see his professional experience and service as a Lee Health board member since 2011 as assets that dovetail with CCSWFL’s focus on child care and nourishment.
“It’s a natural translation, and it presents a great opportunity for synergy, whether it be through nutrition, illness prevention, or wellness and healthy living,” Hansen said. “Those are some of the same missions and objectives that Child Care of Southwest Florida has.”
Hansen believes stewarding CCSWFL’s obligation to children is one of the greatest responsibilities the community has. Tejero is excited about Hansen’s ability to accomplish that in his new role.
“We’re a service-based business. Having a leader who understands that a leader’s role is to serve is hugely impactful to me,” Tejero said. “I feel that with Chris leading the organization, we will be greater than the sum of our parts.”
Hansen is an executive board member for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Lee, Charlotte and Hendry Counties, and he also sits on the board of the First Baptist Church of Fort Myers Inc. He was named 2008 EMS Director of the Year by The Florida Association of County EMS Directors and served as a commissioner appointee on the Community Sustainability Advisory Committee for the Lee County Board of County Commissioners.