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Coastal Hospitals CEO to Rhumba for a Good Cause

By Tricia Schug

Often, our daily work requires us to be “light on our feet” or a new challenge prompts us to “give it a whirl,” but those may be the only times we think of health care and dancing at the same time.

However, in the past few weeks, if it seems that Lesley Ogden, chief executive officer, Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital and Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, is “in the groove” more than usual it could be from the rhumba. She and her husband, William Arens, will take their newly learned dance skills on stage, Friday, Nov. 2, to help raise money for transitional housing organization, Samaritan House. 

That evening, Ogden and Arens will be one of seven couples to perform in the Second Annual Dancing with the Coastal Stars, an event in which area community leaders, all novice dancers, will compete to raise the most money for the charity organization. While the coastal version of the show is similar to the popular TV series, a major difference is that none of the 14 participants are professional dancers. They work with professionals, taking lessons for months prior to the show, but all participants have day jobs that range from financial planning to fishing to health care.

As busy as she is managing two hospitals, Ogden said she chose to participate primarily because of the charity organization.

“Samaritan House is a wonderful organization that does important work in the community that neither of our hospitals can do — housing families and guiding them toward independence,” she said. “Also, since our hospital is also a nonprofit, I understand the struggles of fundraising and the ever-present need for more money. If I can elevate the work of Samaritan House by my involvement in this event, then I’m happy to do so.”

Plus, she adds, she enjoys dancing.

“I like to dance, and my husband is a good sport. We see this as a good way to spend additional time together, and it’s a good workout,” she said.
Enjoyment aside, she says she feels nervous about the event.

“This is very intimidating. I haven’t been on a stage since I was a kid,” she said with a laugh. “I’m afraid we’ll forget our routine and not know what to do next.”
But she knows that, as with her day job, a lot of preparation can make a difference.

“It’s just like with my work, I can’t expect to be any good at what I do without putting in the time and preparation,” she said. “It takes a lot of rehearsals and learning to get the outcome you want.”

And she’s hoping that while she and her husband glide across the stage, doing a routine comprised of the hustle, the cha-cha and the rhumba, they will raise a lot of money to fight homelessness and have a great time while doing it.

Dancing with the Coastal Stars will be held on Friday, Nov. 2, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) in Newport.