RMHC SWFL Announces Leadership Transition

Fort Myers, FL (May 31, 2024) – Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Southwest Florida is proud to announce the appointment of Stephanie Wardein as the new President and CEO, effective July 15th. Stephanie is currently the System Director of Community Affairs for our hospital partner, Lee Health, where she has made significant contributions and community impact since 2012. Stephanie will succeed Laura Ragain, who has led the organization with unwavering dedication for the past 14 years. Laura will officially retire at the end of September, leaving an indelible mark on the community. Her passion for supporting children and families during challenging times has driven the charity’s success and growth.

During her tenure, Laura Ragain’s exceptional leadership has driven remarkable progress for RMHC SWFL, marked by significant achievements including the establishment of a Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Golisano Children’s Hospital, the addition of a second Care Mobile, a complete House renovation in 2016, and a major expansion of the Ronald McDonald House in 2020, doubling the number of rooms available to support families.

A resident of Southwest Florida for 38 years, Laura is deeply involved in the community and serves on the Lee Health Community Health Improvement Committee, the Golisano Community Council, and the Planned Giving Council of Southwest Florida. Previously, she served on the boards of Bishop Verot Catholic High School, the Children’s Home Society of Southwest Florida, and the Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida and was a past board member of RMHC Southwest Florida.

Stephanie Wardein, the incoming President and CEO, brings over 20 years of experience in community engagement, leadership, and program development. Her proven track record and deep passion for improving the lives of children and families position her as a perfect fit to carry forward and expand the mission of RMHC Southwest Florida. Stephanie’s extensive involvement in the community, serving in state and local board leadership positions, including the Patient & Family Advisory Council for Golisano Children’s Hospital of SWFL, LARC, and the Franklin Park Community Partnership School, underscores her commitment to community well-being.

RMHC Southwest Florida is confident that Stephanie’s visionary leadership will further advance the charity’s mission and build upon the strong foundation set by Laura Ragain.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities Southwest Florida
Ronald McDonald House Charities Southwest Florida provides essential services that remove barriers, strengthen families, and promote healing when children need healthcare. We provide impact through three core programs: The Ronald McDonald House®, providing lodging, meals, and other supportive services; the Ronald McDonald Family Room® at Golisano Children’s Hospital, providing food, laundry facilities, and a relaxation area; and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® Program, providing dental care through our partnership with two health care providers to underserved children. Of the 40 RMHC Care Mobile programs worldwide, we proudly have 2 to serve our community. To learn more, please visit https://www.rmhcswfl.org/.