Mariposa says farewell to founding CEO, James R. Welden after 35 years

July 17, 2015, marked James R. Welden’s final day at Mariposa after 35 years as CEO…  A retirement celebration was held on July 18th to honor Mr. Welden’s achievements.  With hundreds in attendance for dinner, live music and a special farewell to Welden, he left the audience with the following message.

When you are blessed enough to spend you career working for a truly mission driven organization that you love, and as importantly, colleagues that you love, you really never consider that the day will come when it’s actually time to retire.  I was told that the very best time to start thinking about your retirement is before your boss does.   I hope that my timing has been right in that regard!

So, when it is time to retire, one can only hope that you can look back on your career and be satisfied that your efforts made a difference and that you left a positive footprint.  

When I first was asked by Tad Pfister to come to Nogales and put the newly funded Community Health Center project together, I never imagined that I would be so blessed and be able to spend 35 years in a job that I loved.  When I think back to the beginning, I’m just astounded by the changes in technology, as well as the health care landscape…..  no cell phones; no texting; no email; pay phones, no computers – IBM electric; mimeograph machine; no fax machine; snail mail; no excel spreadsheets – just a 10 key calculator; no Medicaid – just the county indigent system with only 800 people being taken care of;

It was truly a time that health care was completely rationed by the system and access to basic health care was out of reach for many.  Our founding concept that “Health care is a right, not a privilege” was truly a foreign idea.  Also, the concept that community-based primary care would be best provided by a community-based Board of Directors that was truly responsive to the health needs of the entire community was likewise a foreign and threatening concept to many.

I am so proud to have been a part of the growth and development of Mariposa.  Our success has rested entirely on the culture of caring that we have built over many years and the dedication of our Board and staff.  

Mariposa is a very unique place, in that we truly share a special calling to help others, no matter their station in life.  We understand that it is a distinct privilege to welcome our patients with an extra measure of kindness and compassion and every single member of our organization– from the wonderful folks we have in the maintenance and housekeeping department to the providers and leadership team members themselves plays a vital role in making Mariposa a truly remarkable organization. And these aren’t just words – we live this at Mariposa every day. 

“The effect you have on others is your greatest currency”

James R. Welden

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