Alice Koehler Will Lead Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine

Alice Koehler, whose career has focused on Lakeland non-profits since she returned here after two years in the Peace Corps, has been chosen as the next president and CEO of Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine.

The move is a promotion for Koehler, LVIM’s chief development officer, who turns 40 today. She will succeed Bobby Yates, who has been CEO since the organization was founded nearly 20 years ago; he plans to retire later this year.

The search for a new director was led by LVIM board member Bruce Abels, who said, “During the search we interviewed several wonderful candidates. We are especially happy, however, to select someone who already lives in and understands our ‘volunteer culture’ and our ‘caring approach’ to our clients.”

Propelled by volunteer health professionals, LVIM (website | Guidestar) provides health care to more than 4,000 uninsured working people in Polk County and their families. The organization returns more than $5 in health-care services for every $1 invested, Koehler says.

Koehler, left, speaks at a Lakeland City Commission meeting last month after she and fellow LVIM development official Sonia Browning received a proclamation from Mayor Bill Mutz honoring LVIM’s Swan Derby event.

In 2018, LVIM had 274 volunteers, including 46 medical professionals, she said.

Koehler was hired by LVIM in 2017 to oversee the revenue strategy supporting a $1.9 million operating budget.

A 2001 Florida Southern graduate who later earned a Masters in Business Administration there, Koehler was a Peace Corps educator and organizer in Togo.

Since returning to Lakeland in 2004, she has been a teacher for Pace Center for Girls, assistant director of Learning Resource Center of Polk County and senior market manager for the American Cancer Society.

Before working for LVIM, she helped as a volunteer with its annual Swan Derby fund-raising event. She has also volunteered locally with PACE Center for Girls, the Polk Museum of Art, Junior League of Greater Lakeland and United Way of Central Florida.

In addition, she is a graduate of Leadership Lakeland and Leadership Polk and was named one of five emerging Polk leaders in 2017 by a coalition of organizations for young professionals.

Yates supported Koehler’s promotion in a prepared statement: “I am confident that Alice has the leadership, the vision and the passion for this community that LVIM needs to continue its growth.”

Likewise Board Chair Jim Cossin praised Yates and Koehler: “With his expertise and passion, Bobby has positioned LVIM with a solid foundation, both fiscally and programmatically.  As LVIM’s next leader Alice will have big shoes to fill, but the board is excited about her talents and leadership.”

LVIM recently moved into a new $4.5 million building at Kathleen Road and West Peachtree Street. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 9 a.m. next Tuesday. The public is invited to attend and tour the new facility.

The move will allow LVIM to serve more patients and expand its range of services, Yates said.

The organization sold its original home, the former John Cox Elementary School on Massachusetts Avenue, last year for $3.5 million to Academy Preparatory Center, a private middle school.

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