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Distinguished Alumna in Community Leadership
Phillis Inez Oeters MSW ’82
As the corporate vice president of government and community relations for Baptist Health South Florida, the largest not-for-profit health care organization in the region, Phillis Oeters has never been one to shrink from a challenge. She is responsible for strategic planning of government and community relations, and developing a state and federal legislative agenda to include issues of health care funding, insurance regulation and general health policy development as well as family and work-life issues.
In her office, Oeters proudly displays an engraved shovel that represents the groundbreaking of Baptist’s first outpatient center 19 years ago. From one hospital and one satellite facility, Baptist Health South Florida now includes five hospitals and numerous outpatient facilities in three counties.
“Throughout my career at Baptist, I have been blessed to have great teammates around me,” Oeters says. “The sum of what you can achieve as an individual always pales in comparison to what you can accomplish when you are supported by a whole team of people who are working toward that same goal.”
Speaking of a team effort, also on display in Oeters’ office is a football helmet from her tenure as the president and chair of the 2009-2010 Orange Bowl Committee. She is only the second woman to serve as the committee’s president since its creation in 1935.
"It's not just about the offense or the defense; they both have to be working together throughout the entire game to win."
In addition to her work on the Orange Bowl Committee, Oeters has been a long-time supporter of the American Red Cross and was chairman of the board for Greater Miami and the Keys chapter from 2002-2005. She has also chaired the Spectrum Awards for Women for the past 10 years and has been active in numerous civic and nonprofit organizations.
Oeters’ unwavering commitment to the South Florida community that she has called home since coming to Miami to attend Barry in 1981 has earned her the American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year Award, Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami’s Miracle Makers Award, South Florida Business Journal Influential Business Women Award, and the United Way’s Dorothy Shula Community Service Award among others.
As with her success at Baptist, Oeters is quick to point to the role that teamwork has played in her civic and volunteer efforts. “It is has been an honor and a privilege to be a leader and volunteer in the South Florida community,” she says. “Again, I would say that when you work with a whole team of people who are interested in improving our community, it leads to real results – the same way it does in football. It’s not just about the offense or the defense; they both have to be working together throughout the entire game to win.”
When not working hard on behalf of her fellow South Floridians, Oeters spends her time with her 11-year-old daughter, Raquel Peña, with whom she shares her love of adventure travel. Mother and daughter recently went on an expedition to the Galápagos Islands where they observed the islands’ unique plant and animal life. In addition to her adventure travel, Oeters is also a highly accomplished sailor who, in 1998, became the first woman to win the J/30 North America Sail Championship presented by the American Yacht Club.