CEO, Baptist Health South Florida Foundation
Cuba-born executive Alexandra Villoch has shattered many glass ceilings in South Florida. She ran the United Airlines operations at Miami International Airport. She was the first woman publisher of the Miami Herald Media Company. She has served on boards for community groups from The Beacon Council to Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Miami-Dade County. And she’s an avid traveler, recently hiking mountains in Rwanda on her fifth trip to Africa.
Villoch has been on the move since childhood, but most of her life has been connected to the Gables. The mother of four came from Cuba to the U.S. at age two. Her dad’s career as an engineer took the family to live in Puerto Rico, Peru, Guatemala, Louisiana, Texas and other places, but she finished high school at Assumption Academy in Coral Gables and then earned her bachelor’s and MBA degrees at the University of Miami.
On June 1, Villoch became CEO of the Baptist Health South Florida Foundation, leading a team responsible for fundraising for the region’s largest hospital group. She oversees a staff of 65 professionals who handle government and community relations as well as hospitality for the healthcare group. She’s based at Baptist Health’s corporate headquarters in Coral Gables, her longtime hometown.
What She Says
“After 19 years with the Herald and [its parent company] McClatchy, I see the move to Baptist Health as continuing my public service mission,” she says. “Last year, the Foundation raised $31 million, a record amount. Sure, Baptist gets grants. But most grants today require matching funds, and the kind of equipment needed for cutting edge treatment requires fundraising for capital investment. Fundraising also helps pay for scholarships for nurses and free community events from yoga to cooking classes. “I was never told, ‘You can’t do that because you’re a woman.’ When I learned I was the Herald ’s first female publisher, my answer was to say, ‘Make sure, I [won’t] be the last.’ My daughter and I recently went to Rwanda and hiked to see silverback gorillas. If you’re interested, do it sooner instead of later. Because you have to climb up to the gorillas. They don’t come to you.”