A longtime staff member and chief executive officer at the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic left last Friday after 18 years of service. Catriona Reynolds had been CEO since 2016.
Reynolds started work there in 2003 as clinic coordinator and later became clinic manager before being promoted to CEO.
“I am grateful to my coworkers, clients and Board of Directors for the support and opportunities I’ve found at KBFPC,” Reynolds said in a press release. “Leaving is bittersweet, but I know that I will remain committed to the KBFPC mission and core values. I look forward to potential collaborations and partnerships in the future.”
In the press release, Board of Directors President Amy Woodruff praised Reynolds’ service.
“In her time at KBFPC, Catriona helped identify and secure additional funding for our youth program in the R.E.C. Room and the Homer Peer Education Program. Her leadership supported the clinical services that are at the heart of what we do,” Woodruff said.
Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic provides reproductive and preventive health services for women, men and youth. It also provides health care and testing for sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, as well as advocacy for breast and cervical cancer prevention. Through its peer education program, teenage instructors provide sexual health and wellness lessons to middle and high school students on the Kenai Peninsula. The R.E.C. Room, or youth Resource & Enrichment Co-op, is a safe place for teens to meet with friends after school and participate in activities.
Woodruff also cited Reynolds’ work during the COVID-19 pandemic that included designing and deploying at-home testing kits to allow clients access to services while in-person clinics were closed.
In a phone interview, Reynolds said that at age 54, she had wanted to explore new careers while she was still young enough to do that. The timing to leave worked out well in that the clinic had some grant money to search and recruit for a new CEO. Reynolds said the clinic also was looking at restructuring, and she felt the new CEO should take the lead in doing that. Rob Allen will be the interim CEO while the clinic conducts its job search. The clinic has engaged the services of the Foraker Group, a nonprofit support agency, to search for her permanent replacement.
With her last day on Jan. 15, Reynolds has started what she’s calling a sabbatical that includes a six-week vacation in the Dominican Republic.
“What I’ve got on the cards is a break, somewhere I can be a little reclusive and go into a contemplative mode, with no external distractions,” she said.
Born in north England in the United Kingdom, Reynolds first came to the United States in 1990 as an au pair working in Fairfax, Virginia. From 1991-94, she lived in Bend, Oregon, where she became an avid snowboarder. She came up to Alaska for the summer, and when she found Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood had snowboarding, stayed for the winter. Lowe met her first husband, Mike Lowe, in Girdwood and they came to Homer. In early 1995, she started Catzenjammer’s, a coffee shop at the corner of Bartlett Street and Pioneer Avenue that’s now the Legislative Information Office. She has been a U.S. citizen since 1999.
With her first husband, she has two sons, Ian and Dexter, now grown and both living in Homer. Dexter is attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks remotely and Ian runs a fishing tender in Bristol Bay. Shortly after running for and being elected to the Homer City Council in 2014, she married Derek Reynolds, owner of Cycle Logical, a bike sales, service, rental and tour company. Before working at family planning she also worked in Anchorage and at the Pratt Museum. Reynolds was one of the council members subjected to a recall effort in 2017 which ultimately failed.
During her 18 years at the clinic, Reynolds said she has seen both the clinic and reproductive health grow. Birth control like implants has become more common, as has emergency contraception. Reproductive health care for men, including vasectomies, has become more accessible.
“The Homer area has followed national trends on teenage and unwanted pregnancy,” Reynolds said. “We do really well compared to the rest of the state. I think that has to do with having a quality family planning clinic here.”
Though ready for a new phase in her career, Reynolds said she’s also sad to leave.
“That agency has been a home to me for 18 years,” she said. “I love the mission. I love the clients. I love the staff. I love our community partners. It’s not easy to make that decision to step away.”
As to what comes next, Reynolds said she doesn’t know.
“I’m thinking that by the end of sabbatical I’ll have a little more idea,” she said. “I’m trying to stay open to what comes next.”
Reach Michael Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.