Mazzoni Center board president calls it quits


After a series of resignations and terminations, Mazzoni Center announced Thursday that the president of its board of directors has resigned.

Chris Pope will be stepping down as the center’s board president on Dec. 28, according to a statement released by the organization. Pope, who has filled the position since last November, said he is stepping aside to “turn my focus to my family,” according to a statement released by him. Pope, work-program manager at Wells Fargo Bank, joined the center’s board in 2013 as secretary.

“I have been committed to Mazzoni Center for several years and worked with leadership to guide the organization through a difficult period,” Pope said. “Now with an interim leadership team in place, I decided to step aside. I have complete confidence in Mazzoni Center’s board and the organization’s leadership and look forward to continuing to support both.”

Larry Benjamin, communications director at Mazzoni Center, said Pope’s resignation was “a logical follow-up to the retirement of five legacy board members in October.” Benjamin added that Pope will remain as “a non-voting advisor to the board to ensure a smooth transition of leadership at both the board and the organizational level.”

Nu’Rodney Prad, the board’s vice president, will serve as acting president, according to a statement released by the board’s executive committee.

“[Pope] has helped to lead the organization through a very difficult time period and we are extremely grateful for his service to Mazzoni Center,” the statement said.

The news follows the resignations of the nonprofit’s CEO Lydia Sciarrino Gonzalez and COO Ron Powers on Nov. 12. The pair will also remain in their positions until Dec. 28. 

Nefertari Sloan, former senior health and sexuality educator at Mazzoni Center, was fired Nov. 15 “based on a number of complaints regarding the violation of conduct,” according to the termination letter. In August, the center’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Kay Martinez, was fired for being in “disagreement with the Mazzoni Center management team that resulted in unprofessional conduct that was inconsistent for someone in their role,” said a statement released by the organization in August.

A three-person group — the Interim Leadership Team — will lead the organization until Mazzoni Center determines a permanent leadership solution. The leadership team, comprised of Chief Financial Officer Racquel Assaye, Chief Medical Officer Nancy Brisbon and interim COO Alecia Manley, will officially assume leadership of the organization on Dec.3.