The milestones on Barbara Zdravecky’s life journey tell of hard work, good works, and transformative positive change.
Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, Barbara was the first in her family to go to college. After obtaining her nursing degree and relocating to Manatee County, she became Head Nurse for inpatient Psychiatric Services and Director of Women’s Health Programs at Manatee Memorial Hospital.
In 1993, she began a 24-year tenure as President and CEO of what eventually became Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. With that title she served many roles: administrator overseeing medical services and educational programs, fundraiser, as well as policy advocate in the local, state, and national arenas. She spearheaded successful efforts to provide services for male identified and transgender patients and to have Planned Parenthood’s health care services covered by insurance. She led the organization through mergers with neighboring affiliates, growing to its current size as a regional health care powerhouse serving 22 counties from Orlando to Sarasota to Naples.
Besides her professional work, Barbara has committed time and energy to local, regional, state, and national organizations including (among many others), the Manatee Center for Women’s Health Advisory Committee, the Manatee county Library Association Community Advisory Board, the executive board of Downtown Center for Children, League of Women Voters, Florida Commission on the Status of Women., and Ruth’s List Florida.
Barbara’s work has been recognized in many ways. She received Leadership Florida’s Distinguished Member Award for 2021. She has also been honored by Equality Florida with its 2014 Voice of Equality Award; by the Women’s Resource Center of Manatee County, naming her a “Wonder Woman”; and by the national Planned Parenthood organization, which bestowed on her its prestigious Ruth Green Award, chosen by Planned Parenthood CEOs across the country. Sarasota Magazine dubbed her a “warrior.”