Psychology to Accounting to CEO
For Kent State University alumna Erica Wilson-Domer, passion in helping others is key to her success. On July 1, 2023, Wilson-Domer became the new president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.
“Being the CEO is exciting. We’re doing a lot of innovative work here at Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio,” Wilson-Domer said. “As the former chief strategy and transformation officer, having the ability to have more of a global view into making our strategy and vision transform into a reality is exciting.”
The Greater Ohio chapter has 17 healthcare centers throughout Ohio including one in downtown Kent, and its current mission is to reduce barriers to care, and to provide and improve access to care, specifically for marginalized communities.
“After having worked in healthcare now for over 20 years, I’ve seen how broken our healthcare system is, and I’ve seen how many people get left behind,” Wilson-Domer said. “I feel a deep responsibility to create that safety net and create access to care for people.”
At Kent State, Wilson-Domer studied psychology with a women’s studies minor and earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1996. After graduation, Wilson-Domer realized it was going to be difficult to continue her studies without leaving Ohio. Wilson-Domer returned to Kent State and earned a master of science in accounting in 2001.
After years in the public accounting sector, Wilson-Domer wanted a change.
“After my oldest son was born, I realized I didn’t want to do tax season anymore,” Wilson-Domer said. “I looked into private accounting. I had two job offers, one was from a manufacturing firm, and one was from a hospital. At the time, my health insurance costs were outrageous. So, I thought to myself, if I take this position at the hospital, my insurance costs would be lower, so I took the hospital-based job. Which turned out to be fortuitous because I really enjoyed healthcare finance. Healthcare is fascinating to me.”
During this time, Wilson-Domer was involved with Leadership Stark County, later joining the board of Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio as the community leadership chair. Through this position, Wilson-Domer heard of a job opening and joined Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio as a controller.
In 2012, Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio merged with four other affiliates, becoming Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. Wilson-Domer stayed on for the merger.
Prior to becoming president and CEO, she served as vice president of finance, chief financial officer, most recently the chief strategy and transformation officer.
“We have a great team who all are very mission focused, which is lovely because you don’t always get that in every organization. I think that's unique to Planned Parenthood,” Wilson-Domer said. “People know exactly why they’re here; they’re here for the mission and they are here to serve patients. Having that same vision is very helpful in our work.”
“People know exactly why they’re here; they’re here for the mission and they are here to serve patients. Having that same vision is very helpful in our work.”
Kent State has had a significant impact on Wilson-Domer's individual growth and her success today, she said.
“Although I ended up going into business, I always say that I use my psychology degree a lot more than I use my accounting degree,” Wilson-Domer said. “ My certificate in women’s studies from Kent State is impactful in my current work. It was the first time I was really in an environment where we questioned the structure of our society, where we questioned the systematic barriers that are put in place for women and marginalized people. It really opened my eyes and made me think about the world and our systems in different ways which was valuable to my perspective.”
"It really opened my eyes and made me think about the world and our systems in different ways which was valuable to my perspective.”
In 2002 Wilson-Domer saw Maya Angelou, author, poet, and civil rights activist, at Kent State.
"The message of that day was to be a rainbow in the clouds for people,” Wilson-Domer said. “We don’t know the struggles people are having. We don’t know their experiences. But we can do our best to strive to be a rainbow in the clouds for people.”
This speech changed Wilson-Domer's trajectory.
“I took that message and used it. I began volunteering at the domestic violence project here in Stark County at the women’s shelter. Then I joined Leadership Stark County, which led to my involvement with Planned Parenthood. A lot of those different experiences were informative to my process of realizing my potential and who I wanted to be.”
Wilson-Domer wants Kent State students to find their own passion, their own “rainbow in the clouds.”
“Find something that you're passionate about. You can’t always make a living with what you’re passionate about,"
“Find something that you're passionate about. You can’t always make a living with what you’re passionate about, but if you can find ways like I did to take your skills and marry those to something you are passionate about, you will be successful,” Wilson-Domer said.