Celebrating Phillip Lanham’s Six-Month Mark at Gulf Coast

It’s hard to believe that six months have already passed since our dynamic President | CEO Phillip Lanham began his leadership post at Gulf Coast Community Foundation (Gulf Coast). Intelligent, driven, and caring, Lanham was welcomed with open arms from the Gulf Coast team, Board of Directors, and entire community. We sat down with him to walk through his journey of the past six months and what he envisions for the future. 

Man with suit and red striped bowtie smiles with wood wall in background.
Gulf Coast President | CEO Phillip Lanham

Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio with over 20 years of experience as a leader in philanthropy, Lanham joined the Gulf Coast team in June 2023. We asked Lanham why he is so passionate about philanthropy and this community. “I have personally benefited from others’ philanthropy when I was in college through scholarships, and my role after college was in Advancement at my alma mater. Seeing the impact alumni and donors were having at the university altered my career trajectory. I was intending to go into the business world after earning my MBA. After careful reflection, having a focus on the greater good as a central purpose in my career became paramount. So far, the greater good has been the hallmark of my career. It’s the through-thread that ties all my experiences together. The culture in our community, from Boca Grande to Venice to Lakewood Ranch, values the greater good across the board. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?” 

Lanham has created relationships with Gulf Coast’s generous donor families and fundholders. He values that they appreciate our community knowledge and our ability to provide excellent service, flexible options, and meaningful community impact. Lanham shares, “In my conversations with donors since my arrival, several have shared they want an even stronger partnership to invest in our region. As we create our future strategy, we’re dreaming of ways to bring that to life. After all, we’re better together.” 

In true Gulf Coast fashion, we had to ask Lanham what his favorite things are about the region. His response? The people. “I have found that everyone is so welcoming and warm. I have so many champions and advocates already who want me to be successful because that means Gulf Coast and our region are benefitting. With support like this, I’m looking forward to planting deep roots in our community,” said Lanham. 

About 15 people stand in front of tent with white shirts on.
Gulf Coast President | CEO Phillip Lanham volunteers with the Gulf Coast team.

Lanham’s overall vision for the future? Improving our region for the greater good. “Community foundations exist to inspire philanthropy and make an impact in the region they serve. I want to grow both of those through strong partnerships with our donors,” said Lanham. 

We are always curious to see what our leaders are reading, so we asked Lanham to name a book he can’t stop reading right now. “To be honest, I’m more of an audiobook guy most of the time. A few books I return to from time to time are: Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni, Radical Candor by Kim Scott, and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I love continuing to learn and implementing what I learn into my habits and at times in the culture of the organization. I’ll also read nearly anything from Brene Brown or Adam Grant. I value their thought leadership so much,” continued Lanham. 

Since June, Lanham has attended more than 150 meetings and events with donors, nonprofit partners, elected officials, peer funders, and many more with the aim of building authentic relationships. He joined the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and the boards of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County and Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. Lanham has bonded with the dedicated team at Gulf Coast from an introductory breakfast where staff asked Lanham any question they’d like, to meaningful, transparent, and transformative staff meetings and experiences.  

With Lanham at the helm of Gulf Coast, we know our future is in great hands. Together, we will continue to make our community shine brighter.  


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