Get to know: Priya Lakireddy

Photo of Priya Lakireddy.

Priya Lakireddy is a member of the Board of Directors for Mercy Medical Center Merced Foundation in Merced, California, where she serves on the fund and board development committees.

Priya and her husband, Vikram Lakireddy, MD, moved to Merced 13 years ago. She has worked for the University of California, Merced for eight years and currently serves as the Assistant Regional Director for the Business Development Center. The center works across 14 counties, providing training and consulting to those looking to open or expand businesses. A mother of three, Priya is currently running unopposed for an open seat on the Merced City School District Board of Education.

Priya is dedicated to the notion of “opening doors” and to creating connections for service and involvement in the Merced community.

“Public service and service to humanity is my passion and my purpose in life.”

What was your first connection to Mercy Medical Center Merced?
My father-in-law, Dr. Hanimireddy Lakireddy, came to Merced 40 years ago and was the first board-certified cardiologist in the area. 
When my husband finished his cardiology training we moved here from Brooklyn. It was an adjustment but we looked at several opportunities and Merced didn’t have many specialists, especially cardiologists. That’s why we moved … there was a need here. We had young children and he went right to work. That was my first introduction to the hospital … It was where he worked all day and night. 
How did you come to serve on the foundation’s board?
I went to a foundation event and I saw all the doctors and community members and it piqued my interest. I saw a friend there, who was also a board member, and she told me more about the foundation and its work on behalf of the hospital and the community but that’s where we left it.
A few years later she and I were talking again and she asked if I had ever thought about serving on a board. My kids were all in school and I was getting more involved in Merced and looking for opportunities. With my husband’s involvement, the hospital and the foundation were logical choices and I wanted to do anything I could to support their work for the community. Seeing how many community members I knew that were on the board, I joined in 2018. One thing I like about Merced is how close knit a community it is and how people look out for each other. Since we are the only hospital, we have a strong obligation to help where we can.
What have you learned as a result of your board service and connection to the hospital?
I’ve learned the need for strategic vision and strong leadership as well as commitment and patience. You have to have each of those and understand you can’t make change happen overnight. 
What role does gratitude play in your philanthropy and service?
I’ve learned from my parents and from my father-in-law … he’s always so thankful for what he has and says it's all because of Merced and this hospital. When he gives, it isn’t for name recognition, it’s because he’s thankful for what he has and thankful to be in a position to help others.
We try to share that with our kids. When my daughter was seven she saw a commercial for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Merced County and wanted to help. We invited people to our house and she and her friends sang Christmas carols and raised $2,000 for CASA. She’s a sophomore in high school now and she and her friends raised $5,000 for CASA last year. Passing on the spirit of gratitude, for what we have and what we can share, is so important. Gratitude is something that once you have it and you feel it you are compelled to give more and more.
What excites you most about the next five years for the foundation and hospital?
Serving on the board development committee, one of the things that is very exciting is bringing on new members … thinking about who has been involved and who we can pull in to bring new energy but also how to mentor them and preserve our institutional memory. I’m very passionate about that.
The other thing I’m excited about is the hospital’s new leadership. I look forward to seeing where we go from here … listening to the new CEO [Dale Johns] talk about his vision and what he has planned and then working with the board to make those things come true.