Past Presidents' comments as WONCA CEO, Garth Manning finishes

At the end of 2020 Dr Garth Manning retires as WONCA CEO. He has served during the terms of four WONCA presidents, having commenced duties during the term of Rich Roberts, and continuing during the terms of Michael Kidd, Amanda Howe and Donald Li. Here Rich, Michael and Amanda give their thoughts at this time, and Donald’s parting messages are included in this month's “From the President” column.

Prof Richard Roberts, WONCA President 2010-2013, responsible for hiring Garth writes:

It is said that the most important responsibility for any governing body is the selection of the organization’s chief executive officer (CEO). In 2010, Dr. Alfred Loh announced his intention to retire as the WONCA CEO in 2013. It fell to me as President at that time to lead the search committee that would screen candidates for the Executive Committee (Executive). Over the next 21 months, we reviewed materials submitted by 25 applicants from around the world and interviewed the top 10 candidates by telephone. The entire Executive then met with the four finalists and decided on Dr. Garth Manning as the next CEO. Having become very familiar with the search details and candidates, I knew then that the Executive made a good choice. During his tenure, Garth has proved to be a better than good choice.

In the years leading to Garth’s hiring, WONCA faced growing budget pressures as it intentionally weaned itself off of industry support. While WONCA continued to add new member organizations (MOs), those MOs had limited resources and significant needs. Relying solely on member dues was pushing WONCA ever closer to bankruptcy. Garth took up the challenge and helped Executive implement revenue generating initiatives, such as the accreditation programs for postgraduate training and for practice quality. WONCA has continued to thrive this year, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has threatened many professional associations.

WONCA has been well served by Garth’s leadership skills, quiet diplomacy, experience in international Family Medicine, and extensive network of contacts, especially in the Middle East and Southern Asia regions. WONCA also benefitted greatly from the contributions of his spouse, Monica Burns, an internationally renowned health economist. The world’s family doctors are grateful that the WONCA Executive made a good choice almost a decade ago. I am grateful that I got a good friend.

Prof Michael Kidd, WONCA President 2013-2016, writes:

I want to say a huge thank you to Garth for his eight years of service to WONCA, and to global family medicine, as our CEO. The WONCA president and CEO work very closely, and I had the great pleasure of working alongside Garth throughout my three years as WONCA president. Garth came into the CEO role at WONCA with a well established reputation as a global leader in family medicine education and with an extensive network of wonderful family doctor colleagues and friends all around the world. I was impressed by Garth's passion and dedication for family medicine, his great respect for family doctors and the members of our teams, and his commitment and dedication to WONCA and our contributions to global health. Throughout his WONCA journey, Garth has had his wife Monica by his side, and I acknowledge the many contributions that Monica has made to support WONCA's mission and WONCA's presidents over the past eight years. I wish Garth and Monica every happiness as they transition into the next phase of their lives.

Prof Amanda Howe, WONCA President 2016-2018, writes:

I would personally like to thank Garth for his huge contribution to WONCA during his time as CEO. His many strengths include hard work, an emphasis on delivery, flexibility when new needs and views arrive, and personal and professional consistency of purpose. He was great company, enjoying different challenges and settings, and is good at relating to people from many different backgrounds at all ages and stages of their career. We should also thank Monica Burns for her input and support for Garth’s work, and for WONCA. Enjoy the next stage!

Dr Donald Li, current WONCA President since 2018 writes more in his monthly column.
"From the President" column December 2020

WONCA thanks Garth for his achievements over the past eight years
WONCA wishes Garth and his wife Monica all the best for the future.