Geri Forbes

Chief Executive Officer

Geri Forbes came to WhidbeyHealth in April of 2015 from Doctor’s Memorial Hospital in Perry, Florida, where she was the CEO.

In Florida, Forbes was heavily involved in the Florida Hospital Association, where she chaired the Rural Health Council and was vice president of the Florida Rural Health Association. She has also chaired the Government Affairs Committee for the Florida Rural Health Association, was on the Board of Directors of Big Bend Rural Health, served on the Board of the North Florida Area Agency on Aging, and was on the Advisory Board of the North Florida Workforce Development. She is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Community involvement has always been a priority for Forbes, as seen in her support for United Way and the Rotary Club during her time in Perry.

Forbes holds a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Psychology and a masters in Hospital Administration. Her extensive healthcare background includes training as a GE Master Change Agent and a Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt.


Linda Gipson, PhD, RN, MSN, MBA

Chief Quality and Transformation Officer

Dr. Linda Gipson joined WhidbeyHealth in December 2011, bringing with her deep experience as a healthcare executive, advanced practice nurse, educator, consultant, Army officer and public health professional. 

Gipson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, a master’s degree in nursing from Duke University, an MBA from Cleveland State University and a PhD in Public Health with a focus in Health Policy and Management and Heath Services Research.

She is board certified in healthcare legal consulting and healthcare executive practice, and is board eligible in healthcare risk management and quality.

Gipson has received recognition for her work in improving quality and outcomes in healthcare, is a frequently invited national speaker, serves as an expert reviewer for the American Public Health Association and holds faculty appointments in the Department of Homeland Security and the University of South Florida.


Lisa Sanford, RN, MSN, NEA-BC

Chief Nursing Officer

WhidbeyHealth welcomed Lisa Sanford, RN, MSN,NEA-BC to the team in July 2017 as its new Chief Nursing Officer. Sanford comes to us with 38 years of varied nursing and leadership experience. Most recently, she was the Chief Nursing Officer at St. Luke’s Elmore in Mountain Home, Idaho, a 25-bed critical access hospital.

“The exciting part of being a CNO for me is that you can impact the lives of patients, staff and even providers for the good. I find that very rewarding. I’m all about the patient having a safe and satisfied experience with great clinical outcomes. I’m very excited to be here and was immediately impressed by the care and compassion that I notice among all the staff.”

Sanford holds a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership with a Family Nurse Practitioner certificate and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Seattle Pacific University. She is also a diploma graduate of Tacoma General Hospital School of Nursing.

Sanford received the “Making Difference Award” from Holy Rosary Healthcare of Miles City, MT in 2013, where she was a senior executive for five years. She was also honored with the Custom Learning Solutions Pinnacle Award for “Inspiring Administrator” in 2012, among a list of other notable achievements.


Ron Telles

Chief Financial Officer

WhidbeyHealth welcomed Ron Telles in June 2015 as its Chief Financial Officer.

Telles came here after seven years with Oregon’s largest behavioral healthcare firm. Over the past 18 years, Telles has held various positions in the healthcare field, including Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO). He has managed budgets from those in excess of $400 million to those for small, rural Critical Access Hospitals with physicians groups, dental practices and ambulance services.

After receiving his degree from San Jose State University, he entered the healthcare field at Watsonville General Hospital in California and then moved to Northern Nevada, where he became the CFO and COO for Carson-Tahoe Hospital for almost 10 years.


Steven Barnum

Executive Director of Facilities and Plant Engineering

We welcomed Steven "Steve" Barnum to the WhidbeyHealth facilities team in September 2018. An experienced Director of Plant Operations, Barnum comes with more than 20 years of experience as a leader in hospital operations and another seven years as a biomedical and stationary engineer.

Originally from California, Steve has had experience in healthcare construction and life safety management in several hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area including six years in Napa and another 12 years in San Ramon. Barnum’s most recent construction accomplishment includes the completion of a Hybrid Catheterization Lab for San Ramon Regional Medical Center. This 10 million dollar project added more than 4,500 square feet to the hospital footprint, establishing a new level of patient care.

"Each of us who work in healthcare are all here to serve the needs of our patients in whatever way we can," Barnum says.  "Some of us just don’t happen to do it at the bedside.”

Barnum looks forward to working with the various teams at WhidbeyHealth and is happy to be on beautiful Whidbey Island where he will enjoy the abundance of island culture, which for him means fishing.


Cindy E. Paget

Chief Human Resources Officer

Cindy Paget joined WhidbeyHealth as the interim Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) in December 2015 and officially accepted the CHRO role in March 2016.

Paget has worked in healthcare leadership roles since 1986 specializing in labor relations, healthcare staffing systems, human resources management and leadership development. She served several healthcare organizations in California and Idaho before relocating to Washington and Whidbey Island. 

Paget holds a dual Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Information Systems, as well as a Masters in Organizational Leadership. She received a Senior Professional Human Resources Certificate and has served as a national convention speaker for the American Hospital Association. She is a publication author and mentor to beginning human resources leaders.


James (Jamey) Pennington

Client Chief Information Officer

Jamey Pennington joined the WhidbeyHealth administration team in October 2015.  

Pennington has more than 20 years of experience working with information technology in healthcare environments, ranging from supporting provider technology to implementing systems for large teaching hospitals.

He has been employed by the Allscripts Corporation for five years as Client Chief Information Officer in four of their customer locations. Pennington was also vice president and chief information officer for a large county hospital system in Fort Worth, Texas, where he implemented a $150 million electronic medical records system. 

Pennington holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from the University of Arkansas.