WATERTOWN — Longtime staff member Tess Barker has been tapped president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York Inc.

She will assume the duties on Jan. 1, 2015, a media release said.

Barker has filled the role of interim president and CEO since the resignation of Betsy Brown in June.

“This is such an exciting time for Planned Parenthood and the opportunities that lie ahead in the changing health-care landscape,” Barker said in the release.

“It’s such an honor to lead an organization that does so much for women and families in our communities.”


She has more than 20 years of executive leadership at nonprofit organizations, most recently as vice president of community engagement at Planned Parenthood. 

In that position, Barker was responsible for the management of education, case-management and sexual-assault services and marketing efforts, the release said. 

"She worked with local businesses and agencies to secure cooperation with and support for Planned Parenthood health-care services and community programs," it said. 

As president and CEO, she will oversee the affiliate’s eight health centers, which serve nearly 13,000 individuals in six counties, including Clinton, Essex and Franklin.


Before joining Planned Parenthood in 1997, Barker was director of adult education and communications for the Thousand Islands Girl Scout Council Inc. in Watertown and district consultant to the American Red Cross, Greater Upstate New York Region, in Syracuse.

“Tess is a proven leader who is committed to expanding access to affordable health care and education, and advocating on behalf of women’s health,” said Cheryl Maid, Planned Parenthood Board of Directors president. 

“She will excel in her new role, combining her passion for our mission with her program-management expertise and demonstrated leadership skills.”

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