George Mark Children’s House Names Shekinah Eliassen As Next Chief Executive Officer
Linda Ashcraft Hudak Announces Retirement After a Decade of Impact and Leadership
San Leandro, Calif. – (October 5, 2022) – George Mark Children’s House, the first pediatric palliative care home in the United States, announced today that Shekinah Eliassen will become the organization’s next chief executive officer. Eliassen succeeds Linda Ashcraft Hudak, who will retire on October 1, 2022, after seven transformative years as the CEO and an additional three years as a Board of Directors member.
“After thorough succession planning and a comprehensive search process, the Board of Directors is pleased to have found an exceptional individual to lead George Mark Children’s House,” said Dr. Kathy Hull, founder of George Mark Children’s House and member of the Board of Directors. “Shekinah is a strong organizational leader, with the vision, skills and experience to guide us well into the future. Even more, her devotion to the cause is deeply personal with her formative experience as a George Mark parent.”
Eliassen’s first experience with George Mark Children’s House came in 2012. Shekinah and her husband Peter lost their first son, Lars, as a newborn to a brain condition. They spent the last 9 days of his sweet life at George Mark. Since then, Eliassen has served as a George Mark volunteer, speaker, fundraiser, parent resource and, as of 2020, a member of the Board of Directors. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Peter and two children.
Professionally, she brings more than 20 years of experience in business strategy, brand management and digital commerce, having spent much of her business tenure at Unilever and Clorox. Eliassen is passionate about building brands and organizations with purpose.
“I’m honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead this organization to provide more children and families with the same compassion and comprehensive care my family and I received,” said Eliassen. “The importance of George Mark Children’s House cannot be overstated. We have a tremendous opportunity to advance the pediatric palliative care movement and ground-breaking care with our dedicated team of professionals and volunteers.”
Linda Ashcraft Hudak, who will continue on in an advisory role through January 2023, expressed confidence in the Board’s choice. “I have been truly honored to serve George Mark Children’s House, but after 10 years, including an initial three-year period as a member of the Board of Directors, it’s the right time to pass the baton,” said Ashcraft Hudak. “There is no better person to lead this organization into its next chapter than Shekinah, with her knowledge, experience, and deep care for children and families.”
Pictured: George Mark Children’s House New CEO Shekinah Eliassen (left) with Founder Kathy Hull (center) and retiring CEO Linda Ashcraft Hudak.
About George Mark Children’s House
George Mark Children’s House (GMCH) located in San Leandro, provides life affirming care for children with illnesses that modern health care cannot yet cure, or for those who have complex medical conditions. Services, including respite care, transitional care, end of life care, and bereavement support are all offered at no charge to medically eligible children and their families. George Mark is the first freestanding pediatric palliative care house in the United States, and has served more than 1,000 children since opening 18 years ago. George Mark Children’s House serves as a model for other pediatric palliative care centers, having been recognized for its excellence in providing all-encompassing care when a family’s need is at its greatest. While the hallmark of care at George Mark is that families never see a bill, it is also the organization’s challenge to raise funds through private donations and foundation grants to provide services. For more information on the George Mark Children’s House visit www.georgemark.org or view Dr. Kathy Hull’s TED Talk with more than 1 million views at www.tinyurl.com/kathyhull.