Q&A with Bridgton Community Center’s new Executive Director, Darcy Pomerleau

Darcy Pomerleau, Executive Director of the New Bridgton Community Center

BCC Board Talks Hiring New Director and Future Goals
By Dawn De Busk
Personal editor

Sometimes certain shoes seem too big to fill.
However, there is always someone who can grow in them. Or, the sequence of events may be similar to the Cinderella story – where the shoe fits perfectly.
It’s a metaphor for what the Bridgton Community Center (BCC) board went through when they heard the 20-year-old chief executive was retiring.
“We learned a year ago that Carmen [Lone] was going to retire. She said that Lorraine [Goldrup] was going to leave at the same time. And we were like, ‘Really? OK.’ It put a bit of a panic in all of us,” according to Marcia Sullivan, chair of the BCC board of directors.
“Certainly, as I’ve learned over the month, a lot of people were worried when they heard the news. People were like, ‘How are you going to replace them?'” Sullivan said.
“As we searched for a new director, we wanted to make sure that part of the vision we had for the future was implemented,” she said. One of the first steps in the hiring process was to create a job description.
“Writing the job description for someone who does it all—how not to make it a 20-page document? It was a good exercise for the board,” Sullivan said.
“We have the executive director who does an awful lot. It’s a lot of responsibility. They are ready to do it. They like the place. It’s not a huge salary that someone earns doing this. You need a special person to fill the role,” she said. Darcey Pomerleau applied for the position.
“We interviewed her. But, I spent a lot of time on the phone as a follow-up. I quickly felt we would be able to work together,” Sullivan said.
“We were lucky with Darcey coming in. She was someone who was already using the center. She’s very local. She’s been to Bridgton. She’s got a skill set that’s going to work,” a- she said, “You also have to have someone who has the public service, who knows how to interact with people. He’s a very pleasant person to be around. ”
“She’s excited and ready to come in and take the reins,” she said.
Pomerleau started in early June so she could transition into the position with Lone working at the center until the end of the month. Much of what will be offered at the center is a foundation that Lone and Goldrup have built.
“Carmen has done an amazing job doing all of these things at the center with a very small staff. Lorraine is part time and Carmen full time. Luckily we have volunteers and that helps,” she said. “All of these programs, activities, resources have been put in place over the years. It is to their credit. We plan to continue with this in the future.
One of the plans for the future is to hire a full-time administrative assistant. Essentially, this will benefit the executive director.
“The most interesting thing when I first joined the board was: how the hell do they run this place on such a tight budget? It takes work. Fortunately, we have a very generous community,” Sullivan said.
Pomerleau’s experience as a business owner has honed her ability to manage her budget intelligently, she said. A number of skills that Pomerleau acquired or used while owning a business will be applicable to the position of general manager of the community center.
“On the one hand, you have to understand the finances,” Sullivan said. “The fact that Darcy ran her own business. She worked for herself. She knows very well how to run a business, take care of the staff, take care of the finances and all that. We need to have someone who can manage a budget and understand everything we do with the money. And going forward, we need someone who knows about fundraising and stuff,” she said.
“We are going to have to work harder for fundraising. Yes, people have been generous, but we need to fundraise more,” Sullivan said.
“We really want this center to expand its hours. It is now a 9 to 5 center. It would be nice if we had a few evenings. If we had Saturdays we were open to be available for all ages,” she said.
The center offers community activities such as board games or card games [cribbage] in the afternoon; community dinners; and support groups that are listed on the calendar. It’s a warming center and a cooling center – when home temperatures are too cold or too hot and stuffy. Also, the center is where to direct the resource a person is looking for.
“It’s about connecting people. We’re not so much the resource as we are the connector,” Sullivan said.
The board hired Pomerleau not only because she had the skills to fill the position of executive director, but also because she had ideas for what else the center could offer the public.
“Darcey had lots of ideas about where we could go with the center, and we liked that,” Sullivan said.
For more information on the Bridgton Community Center (BCC) and what the center offers, see the webpage, bridgtoncommunitycenter.org

By Dawn De Busk

Personal editor

Last week, Darcey Pomerleau, the new executive director of the Bridgton Community Center, did not want to talk about herself.

After all, it was at the retirement party of outgoing general manager Carmen Lone and administrative assistant Lorraine Goldrup.

This is their time to shine, Pomerleau said.

This week, Pomerleau had little time to talk.

After all, it’s the end of the fiscal year for the center and she’s been immersed in budget matters.

Currently, she is still getting to know members of the community who have not yet met her.

This question-and-answer session is an opportunity for The Bridgton Newsreaders to get to know her a little better.

B-News: What is your first experience with the Bridgton Community Center?

Pomerleau: Many years ago, I was introduced to the BCC through a very dear friend. I then started to use the meeting rooms for part of my business and have done so for several years. I have always been struck by the warmth and professionalism of Lorraine and Carmen and by the inviting atmosphere of the Community Centre.

B-News: Do you see yourself as a multitasker?

Pomerleau: Indeed I do. Multitasking has always been a way of life. Finding a rhythm is essential between work, family, friends and volunteering. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have an incredible support system.

B-News: What are some very different skill sets you could use in a day at the community center?

Pomerleau:I wear several hats during the day. One minute, I’m a director working on the budget, a grant, or an upcoming event. The next moment, I might be at the seniors’ luncheon or hosting one of our speakers. Then the next moment can be as an advocate or coordinator of our volunteers. Right now, however, I enjoy meeting everyone. Each person and each group is like a puzzle piece, individually unique, but when put together they complete the bigger picture, which is wonderful.

B-News: How do you think the experience of running your own business will apply to running a non-profit community center?

Pomerleau:The day-to-day operations of running a business or nonprofit are similar. However, this position allows me to focus on working for and with the community as a whole, to continue to build on what currently exists, and to invite new opportunities and interests into the Center.

B-News: BCC Board Chair Marcia Sullivan said fundraising is an activity that will be emphasized in the future. What are some of your fundraising ideas?

Pomerleau:The possibilities are limitless. We are exploring options and hope to establish annual events that will encompass the whole community. It’s a very exciting time.

B-News: How did you feel and what came to mind when you learned that you had been chosen as the next CEO of the Bridgton Community Centre?

Pomerleau:I felt and continue to feel honored and privileged to have been chosen to continue in this role, because I have roots here. My family comes from a place of service to this city and community, from my grandfather to my father and mother. I respect and acknowledge the importance of this position and the dedication it has taken on the part of our Board members, staff and volunteers, past and present, and the residents of the Town of Bridgton for their ongoing commitment to supporting and developing such a special place for all of us. I am excited to be part of the next chapter of the community center.

Jill E. Washington