Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation Names New President/CEO

Seasoned leader brings healthcare, public-private partnership expertise to FHLI

CARY — The Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation (FHLI), a leading North Carolina nonprofit that develops and supports innovative partnerships for a healthier North Carolina, today announced that after an extensive executive search process, Kelly Calabria has been selected to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Calabria brings nearly 20 years of expertise in reputation and organization-building, data-driven program management, and policy and advocacy expertise. She has been a trusted leader and advisor to CEOs and executive teams at the nation’s leading health systems, payers and corporations, including Anthem, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Nurse-Family Partnership, Lyft Health Business, the Cleveland Clinic, Penn Medicine and UNC Health Care. 

“FHLI’s executive search committee sought a strong leader capable of leading the organization forward, especially as we continue to navigate a global pandemic,” said FHLI Board of Directors Chairman, Dr. Lloyd Michener. “Kelly Calabria is highly respected in the health policy and advocacy arena, and we are confident that she is the person to move the organization forward in making positive changes for health, equity and prosperity for all North Carolinians.”

Calabria has orchestrated coalition-building around some of the most important issues of our time. She supported the public-private partnership effort — led by Duke Endowment, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the Blue Cross NC Foundation — to bring Nurse-Family Partnership, a national nonprofit that pairs registered nurses with low-income, first-time mothers for in-home visits, to North and South Carolina. Calabria led the team that built, launched and ran day-to-day communication programs in both states with the goal of securing ongoing, sustained funding for the program. 

“I am thrilled to join a team of talented individuals who have an intense passion for service,” said Calabria. “FHLI has a history and legacy for incubating ideas, listening, empowering communities, and leading on key issues for our state. This legacy is more important than ever as we work to advance health equity, capacity-building in our communities, and whole-person health. Having an opportunity to shape and guide this work is a humbling responsibility, but one I am eager and honored to tackle.”

Most recently, Kelly oversaw the North America health practice for Ketchum, a top global communications consultancy. In this role, Calabria focused on rebuilding Ketchum’s health team and reputation among leading healthcare organizations. She oversaw a team of nearly 70 individuals focused on consumer health, public health, government agencies, providers, payers and pharma projects. 

Having spent a majority of career at Capstrat, an independent integrated marketing firm in Raleigh, Calabria was responsible for shepherding Capstrat’s seamless integration into Ketchum’s global network. During her time at Capstrat, Calabria supported a variety of advocacy projects, including the passage of a constitutional amendment to enable North Carolina municipalities to issue tax increment financing (TIF). 

Calabria was named to the PR Week 40 Under 40 2018 list, as well as the Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list. She was also recently named a recipient of the Triangle Business Journal’s Women in Business award. In addition, Calabria is on the board for the Independent College Fund of North Carolina.

Calabria is a North Carolina native who holds a degree in journalism and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She resides in Raleigh with her husband and two sons.