SightLife Announces Departure of Chief Executive Officer Claire Bonilla
After nearly seven years at SightLife and four years serving as Chief Executive Officer, Claire Bonilla will transition on Friday, October 15, into a Strategic Advisor role and SightLife Chief Operating Officer, Jim McCorkle, will assume the position of Interim CEO.
“Claire’s commitment, compassion, and leadership have been invaluable to SightLife, especially as we navigated the pandemic’s many challenges on our business,” said Bill Lundin, Chair of the SightLife Board of Directors and the Northwest Lions Foundation Board of Trustees. “On behalf of the board, I want to express our deepest gratitude to Claire for her many contributions and the strong organizational roadmap that she leaves Jim and SightLife’s leadership team to take forward.”
During her tenure as CEO, Claire oversaw the SightLife eye bank’s facilitation and distribution of nearly 48,000 donor corneas for sight-restoring transplants. Internationally, Claire led SightLife to help our partnering eye banks and corneal surgeons advance more than 93,000 sight-restoring transplants, and train nearly 900 community health workers to treat 24,000 corneal abrasions before blindness set in. Throughout her career at SightLife, Claire also helped raise more than $13 million USD for our full range of programs in tissue donation, sight restoration, and corneal blindness prevention.
After navigating the last 1.5 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Claire also leaves SightLife in a position of strength – with many exciting opportunities on the horizon, including a systems upgrade to our U.S. Donor Operations Communications Center made possible with funding from the Metropolitan King County Council that will help SightLife coordinate an additional 8,000 tissue donations annually.
“SightLife’s resiliency and success during the pandemic would not have been possible without Claire’s leadership. She leaves a legacy of impact that I am honored to build on through the continued delivery of our best-in-class programs and operations worldwide,” said incoming SightLife Interim CEO Jim McCorkle.
To the role of Interim CEO, Jim brings more than 30 years of experience in supply chain management, business development, and technology. Jim has been with SightLife for four years and, during that time, he has swiftly expanded the impact of our U.S. eye banking operations – spearheading the most robust tissue volumes in our organization’s history.
Claire joined SightLife as Chief Global Officer in 2015 and, in that role, led a 60% growth in SightLife’s international operations, expanding programs beyond India, Nepal and Ethiopia to China, greater Asia, and Latin America. Under Claire’s leadership, SightLife also trained 4,900 ophthalmic care providers and helped expand the capacity of our partnering eye banks globally by an average of 25% each year.
“It has been one of my greatest privileges to have served alongside such brilliant and caring colleagues, partnered with mission-driven organizations, and honored the selfless act of donation with countless donor families and transplant recipients,” said Claire. “My decision to leave reflects my confidence in Jim to guide SightLife into its next season of success as much as my commitment to my family, particularly my children, who now need my full time and attention.”
The search process for SightLife’s next CEO is underway and will be led by the SightLife Board of Directors. Jim McCorkle will serve as Interim CEO until the position is filled. Claire Bonilla will serve as a Strategic Advisor in a limited capacity through the end November 2021.
Founded in 1969, SightLife is the world’s largest nonprofit eye bank and global public health organization dedicated to eliminating corneal blindness by saving and restoring sight. We serve as a leader and partner in expanding patient access to the corneal health care and tissue donation services that people need to thrive. Headquartered in Seattle, WA, our impact transforms lives worldwide. Learn more at www.sightlife.org.
SVP, Communications and Public Affairs