When one thinks of “retiring”, thoughts of a slow, relaxing way of life – possibly on the water with quiet afternoons and a casual round of golf might come to mind. That can’t be said for Nancy and Joachim Bechtle.
Always very involved in service to their communities, the pair has increased that commitment after successful careers in the international consulting arena. Nancy served on the board of the San Francisco Symphony for nearly two decades, much of that time as the president and chief executive officer. She led the organization during an extremely successful campaign that raised a significant amount of funds for the organization. Joachim has previously served as president of the German-American Chamber of Commerce of the Western USA. In 2008, Nancy was appointed by President George W. Bush to the board of the Presidio Trust – a federal corporation created by Congress to manage the Presidio of San Francisco, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962, and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Nancy took over as chair of the board in 2010. Nancy and Joachim have served on numerous other corporate and philanthropic boards during their careers, including (for Nancy) the Sugar Bowl Ski Corporation, National Park Foundation, Charles Schwab Corporation, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation and the San Francisco Opera Association while Joachim has recently joined the board of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
We at Hopkins are extremely fortunate that when in 2000 Nancy found herself faced with the chilling diagnosis of scleroderma, her insistence on finding the finest doctor in the country lead her to Dr. Fredrick Wigley and the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center. For the last decade, Nancy and Joachim have been passionate supporters of all that is Dr. Wigley and the JHSC. Using their business expertise and connections, they helped with advising on developing the business model for scleroderma “Center of Excellence” and were instrumental in developing our internet presence to make the website friendly, easy to navigate and informative for current and prospective patients, care givers, and referring physicians.
When the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center Advisory Board was launched, it was a natural fit for Nancy to take on the role as Chair. In addition to their personal philanthropic commitment to the JHSC, we have also benefitted over the years from their relationships with friends. In 2004, celebrating his achievement of finishing first in his age group of the Boston, New York & Chicago marathons, Joachim chose to celebrate his “Triple Crown” of marathon race success with encouraging friends to make a gift to the Center – which netted a tremendous outpouring of support from all over the United States. Because of Nancy’s contributions as a member of the Charles and Helen Schwab foundation, we are the beneficiaries of an annual grant made by the foundation in her honor. In 2009, honoring her many years of service to the Scleroderma Research Foundation, Nancy was the guest of honor at their annual “Cool Comedy-Hot Cuisine” event hosted by actor/comedian and SRF board member Bob Saget. Proceeds of the event benefitted the JHSC in Nancy’s honor.