Barbara Mannino – A Beloved Member of the Fieldstone Family
It is with a broken heart that I write to you today to share news of the passing of Barbara Mannino. Barbara died yesterday, April 20th, after a devastatingly quick battle with lung cancer.
Barbara served as the CEO of Vista Community Clinic for 30 years. During her tenure, she grew the organization from a staff of 30 with a $500,000 budget and one site to a $35 million budget with 530 employees and five state of the art medical facilities. Barbara and I met in the late 80s, early in her tenure at VCC and early in my career at Fieldstone. We quickly became friends and met regularly. We shared family photos and I watched her daughter, and then grandchildren, grow up and she watched my son too. Our special place was Pacifica Del Mar and I can’t go there without thinking back to those seemingly ordinary lunches that have become treasured memories. Barbara was there when I became the Executive Director of Fieldstone and was always at the ready to be a sounding board and give me sage advice – advice that I still think back to over twenty three years later!
Barbara was a member of Fieldstone’s first Executive Learning Group. Shortly after, she became a Fieldstone Coach and had served continuously in this role since the early days of the program. She blessed her coachees, she had over 25 of them, with her time and wisdom and they were better leaders because of her investment in them. And so was the Network.
I will always be grateful to Barbara for her commitment to the Network, even after she retired from VCC. She continued to coach through December of last year. (She had every intention to coach in 2023, but we didn’t match her. Thank goodness we had the chance to celebrate together at our December gathering.)
It can be hard to remember the early days of creating the Network, mainly because we didn’t know it would grow into a Network at all. We started with individual programs and I have always believed our success was due to the early adopters who trusted us and said “yes” to our invitation and then helped us create what we now understand the Network to be. Barbara was foundational in this work and her participation helped to give us credibility at an important time. I will always be grateful to her for this and for so much more.
American writer Brian Andreas once said, “It is still so new and all we see is the empty space, but that is not how it is in the landscape of the heart. There, there is no empty space and she still laughs and grapples with ideas and plans and nods wisely with each of us in turn. We are proud to have known her. We are proud to have called her friend.” I know Barbara will remain with me, with the Network, and with those she coached on Fieldstone’s behalf. I believe she will be with us as we grapple and make plans for what comes next. And I know she will be nodding and cheering us on as we continue to support each other in answering the call to lead and to help each other to do it well.
Rest in Peace, Barbara.