Sara Fletcher Promoted to PAEA Chief Operating Officer

PAEA is thrilled to announce that Chief Learning Officer, Sara Fletcher, PhD, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. In this new role, Fletcher will work closely with PAEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mary Jo Bondy, and will play a significant role in shaping the next chapter of the Association’s strategic plan.

Fletcher brings a wealth of experience to this new position. In 2019, she served as PAEA’s interim CEO, where she demonstrated an acute understanding of the forces shaping higher education and opportunities for PAEA to inform the future of PA education. Fletcher has also served as the Association’s Vice President and Chief Learning Officer since 2014, overseeing faculty development, curriculum, and assessment offerings, and championing PAEA’s work on outcomes-based education. In this role, she has led PAEA’s digital transformation, creating a more seamless online experience, increasing member engagement, and better connecting members with PAEA’s professional development offerings.

Fletcher said she is grateful for the opportunity to work with Bondy and the PAEA Board to make this vision come to life. “I am fortunate because our Board and CEO understand the importance of investing in our people and are passionate about maintaining and developing the infrastructure and innovation necessary for the Association to remain relevant.”

Entering her new position on the heels of a truly transformative year in PA education, Fletcher anticipates PAEA will emphasize leadership, healing from the COVID-19 pandemic, and wellness in 2021. “If 2020 taught us anything, it is that navigating through uncharted waters requires leadership skills and capabilities,” she reflected. “The pandemic forced us to question our assumptions and beliefs about education. With this in mind, I believe PAEA will devote significant attention to supporting our members as we all adapt to a post-pandemic world, with a continued focus on topics like best practices in online learning and how to leverage technology in both the didactic and clinical curriculum. Lastly, as we focus on healing from the pandemic, we can’t ignore the personal wellbeing of our members. Our Board President and CEO are passionate about helping PA educators make wellness a priority.”

As head of PAEA’s newly created operations team, Fletcher will also focus on developing organizational structures, process, and resources that advance PAEA’s vision, mission, and strategic plan, as well as oversee the Association’s membership, communications, HR, finance, IT, and talent development initiatives. “My education and experience both at PAEA and before coming to the Association have always been a combination of education and operations. I’ve had the privilege of growing my knowledge and skills in education through my role in Learning, and now I look forward to being able to do the same in operations.”

Fletcher’s past work has greatly informed her focus for the future: investing in people. “My experience has taught me that our most valuable resource is our staff, volunteers, and members,” she said. “My vision is to ensure operational excellence by increasing our focus on retaining and developing our current talent. I have learned how important sustainability is, and that requires retaining talented people and preserving the integrity of the products, services, and resources we develop.”  

Ultimately, Fletcher’s drive comes from a desire to benefit the PA profession. “My passion to serve PA educators and move the profession forward stems from my experience as a patient,” she said. “I’ve had the privilege of being cared for by PAs for over 25 years, and I’ve always appreciated the compassion and care they show in each and every interaction. PAs listen to their patients and give them a voice in their care. That means a lot to me. When I had the opportunity to work for PAEA, I was thrilled because I get to be part of the ecosystem that develops such excellent health care providers. I get to see firsthand the ‘secret sauce’ that goes into making truly remarkable clinicians. I am honored to take on this expanded role and look forward to working together with our staff to serve our members. There is no more rewarding work than growing the leaders of tomorrow – both within our PAEA staff and within the PA education profession.”