By Kim Meyer-Webb | Photography by Sarah Oden
Marcy Doderer is a champion for children. Her leadership as president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s continues to improve the health and future of ALL children. When she was introduced to Women & Children First, Marcy admits she was “astounded by the volume of women and children served” by the organization. It’s a shared mission – serving the most vulnerable families in Arkansas – that brings together the relentless work of Arkansas Children’s and Women & Children First. For her unwavering commitment, Marcy will be celebrated as Woman of the Year by Women & Children First.
Women & Children First breaks the cycle of domestic violence providing crisis intervention, safe shelter, legal advocacy and emotional support that are critical resources for families. “We move women and children out of an abusive environment into a new life filled with strength and hope,” explains Women & Children First Executive Director Angela McGraw. For more than 40 years, the state’s largest domestic violence shelter has transformed lives with a continuum of services that relies on strong community partnerships. Marcy adds, “At Arkansas Children’s, our values are aligned with Women & Children First as we work together to create a safer, healthier place to be a child in Arkansas.” The collaboration between the two organizations is evident on the campus of Arkansas Children’s at the David M. Clark Center for Safe & Healthy Children. The facility provides a single location for medical treatment, mental health services and legal consultation to victims of physical and sexual abuse. “When women are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, often their children witness the trauma in the home. We rely on Arkansas Children’s to provide medical care and other services for our children. It is important to provide resources for moms and their children who are in desperate need of those services,” Angela elaborates.
Each year, Women & Children First garners support for its continued mission fulfillment work through the annual Woman of the Year Gala. The evening celebrates the steadfast foundation of civic leadership that generates necessary revenue for the organization’s annual operating budget. The shelter answered more than 7,300 calls on the 24-hour crisis hotline and provided emergency shelter to more than 1,000 adults + children last year. “Honoring an outstanding business woman in Arkansas and a champion for children mirrors our mission completely. Marcy Doderer and Arkansas Children’s are the epitome of a positive effect on our state – saving lives with compassion.”
Marcy’s interest in healthcare spans a lifetime; her father was a chief cardiologist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and she experienced the hospital for herself during a summer internship. “It reaffirmed my passion and I never looked back.” During her tenure, Arkansas Children’s has emerged as the state’s only pediatric health system serving more than 700,000 children in Arkansas. As a visionary leader, she sees a future where critical services for the state’s most vulnerable residents are combined for extraordinary results. “Adverse childhood experiences have a lifelong impact on health,” Marcy explains. “Intervention and treatment are key elements to ensuring a better today and healthier tomorrow for families. While there are many immediate benefits to the work being done at Women & Children First – the greatest of these is safety, protection and hope. That hope is a tremendous gift to our state.”