Taking risks has defined Samira Beckwith’s life. Her parents risked everything in the 1950s to leave Lebanon with three small children and settle in the United States. While at The Ohio State University earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree, Beckwith was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and underwent new treatments to thwart off its potential prognosis. Her personal health care experience set her on a course “to change the health care system for people with serious illness.”
For more than 20 years, Beckwith has served as president and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services managing its growth from 100 patients a day to now serving more the 2,000 a day. Under her leadership, Hope has won four national awards for innovative and high-quality patient care. “I have had the opportunity to be involved in the very beginnings of hospice care in this country.” In addition to numerous Southwest Florida organizations, Beckwith is the chair of the National Hospice Foundation Board of Directors and is a National Hospice Work Group founding director. She says that her mission is to “educate people about what hospice is really about.” She says that it is her vision that keeps her focused.
Her vision and her experiences also influence her. “I believe that it is important to enjoy every day and live as fully as possible.” She credits her parents for her passion saying, “My mom and dad wanted to change things. I learned that from them.”