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Cover Story: Louanne Roark – A Passion for Service
By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: February 11, 2008, from the February 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
page 2 of 7PCP Council President Pam Bailey echoes Deaver’s support. “Louanne has been an enthusiastic advocate in her commitment to improving the lives of women undergoing cancer treatment. She is steadfast in honoring and building upon the foundation laid by Carolyn Deaver, LGFB’s longest serving executive director, by continually looking for opportunities to increase awareness of the program. Louanne’s leadership, passion, and empathy have served the Foundation well, and I am proud to have her on our team.” Much of what makes Roark so right for the job is rooted in her Florida childhood.
A Foundation for Success
Roark was raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, by parents who were originally from Kentucky; it was an upbringing steeped in Southern traditions. She describes her family, both the nuclear and the extended, as nurturing and close-knit. “They truly believed in the ‘It takes a village’ philosophy of family and community, and that is very much a part of who I am and how I was raised,” says Roark.
Her lifelong interest in health care and the biological sciences, grew through observing her mother, a registered nurse now retired, who Roark says embodies the concept of giving back to and caring for others. She describes her father, a retired electrical engineer, as a generous man. “I can’t even count how many neighborhood kids and protégés he tutored through high school or college math and engineering courses, myself included,” says Roark.
Her early career was in sales, marketing and public relations positions in the hospitality business. In the years between her two stints at PCPC, 2000–2005, she was a senior vice president at Ketchum Public Relations, running its women’s health business out of Washington, D.C.
Back at the Foundation, Roark finds much to like about her job. Chiefly, she enjoys working for an industry with what she calls “an amazing philanthropic spirit; an industry that truly believes that [it has] a responsibility to give back.” She considers it a privilege to work for an organization offering a valuable public service program making a real difference in the lives of people facing life-threatening illness.