Hospice executive hired to lead HopeWest

Cassie Mitchell
Cassie Mitchell

A health care executive who’s worked in hospice care for more than 20 years will serve as the second president and chief executive officer of HopeWest based in Grand Junction.

Cassie Mitchell was publicly introduced as the new leader of HopeWest at the organization’s Black Tie and Boots Gala. She succeeds Christy Whitney, who retired after nearly 30 years with the organization.

“I am humbled to be joining a community rooted, legacy-rich, mission-driven organization serving the seriously ill and their families here in Western Colorado,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell previously served as chief operating officer of Bluegrass Care Navigators, which serves a third of Kentucky and provides services to more than 20,000 patients annually — 6,000 who receive hospice care.

Based in Lexington, Bluegrass Care Navigators provides a number of services similar to those offered by HopeWest, including not only hospice, palliative and grief care, but also home-based and transitional care and a dementia program.

Mitchell began her career in hospice care as an admission nurse and nursing supervisor, then moved into roles involving inpatient unit management, intake, call center oversight, clinical operations and business development.

Whitney said she’s worked with Mitchell over the past year to ensure stability and continuity during the transition in leadership.

“Cassie is people- and community centered, finding joy and fulfillment in service to others,” Whitney said. “She deeply understands HopeWest exists to serve our community; enrich lives; and profoundly change the experience of aging, illness, and grief. I am thrilled that such an experienced servant leader is at the helm.”

Tom Sawyer, a member of the HopeWest Board of Directors who oversaw the process to hire a successor to Whitney, said it was important to find a leader with both compassion and business expertise. 

“Not only does Cassie personify HopeWest’s values of compassion, empathy and generosity, she holds a MBA and has the business acumen and experience to guide HopeWest through the challenges facing the hospice and health care industry today,” Sawyer said.

Mitchell said she’s committed to continuing the mission of HopeWest.

“It’s a new chapter in the beautiful book of ongoing challenges HopeWest has met and will continue to meet with a steadfast commitment to service,” she said. “We will do what our founders did and what this community based nonprofit has been doing for nearly 30 years — we will serve our community. We will continue to invest and grow the services we provide today and watch the horizon for new, sustainable opportunities. We will remain committed to our mission of profoundly changing how people experience death, grief and illness — one person at a time.”