40 From Our 40: Gil Peri

Gil Peri smiles for the camera

Leader to Leader with Karin Ogden and Gil Peri, President, Riley Children’s Health

When did you first experience a Ronald McDonald House (RMH)?

“It was in 2007 and I was the VP of Strategic Growth for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. It was my first experience in pediatrics, and we were expanding the cancer program. The #1 subject we discussed was where the patients were going to stay. We partnered with the Columbus RMH on an expansion that created a beautiful 80 room House. I was amazed then, and still am now, at the programs and support RMH provided the families.”

Do you remember an impactful time at a Ronald McDonald House?

“I love the way the Central Indiana House is designed; it’s very family centric. I’ve spent a lot of time with families in the hospital. I spend 40% of my time talking to patients and others that care for children. I’ve seen the impact when a family meets another family going through a similar experience and the support that happens when connections are made. It’s powerful. Each family knows what the other is going through. Many times, they don’t have to say a word to each other. That’s what happens at the House.”

What makes the House special to you?

“The collaboration between Riley Children’s Health and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana (RMHCCIN) is special; it is not the typical hospital/RMH relationship. It’s strong because we have like-minded missions and leadership styles. Riley Children’s and RMH both like to get to ‘yes’ by
putting the patients first.”

How would you finish this statement: When I think of the Ronald McDonald House…

“I think of compassion, peace of mind, and warmth. I’ve felt warmth every time I’ve visited the House.”

What would you tell a family just arriving at the Ronald McDonald House?

“I know you’re here for something challenging for your family. That’s why you’re at Riley. The place you’re walking into is going to help you on your journey.”

What does “home” mean to you?

“Home is being at peace, feeling love and support, and being able to be your authentic self.”

Why is the House important to the community? What would you tell someone that doesn’t know anything about RMHCCIN?

“Talk to a family that has experienced a Ronald McDonald House. Nothing is better than hearing their perspective. I’ve been to other Houses in bigger markets. RMHCCIN is never satisfied; they’re always looking for ways to serve families better. The new family rooms inside the hospital are great examples of this. Riley can’t do what we do without RMHCCIN.”

By Karin Ogden

Heart & Hearth Summer 2022