The end of 2015 will close another chapter in the Beacon Hill Civic Association’s 93-year history when MaryLee Halpin steps down from her role as executive director.
Soon after joining the organization in May of 2012, Halpin, who had previously served as senior vice president of State Street Global Markets, focused on cost improvements. She brought accounting in house. She introduced other cost-cutting measures by selecting new providers for the organization’s phone services and Web site. Besides being more navigable on PCs and hand-held devices, the revamped Web site facilitated credit-card processing, which has already resulted in significant savings for the organization. Halpin also initiated weekly e-mail updates for members in an effort to consolidate correspondence from the group.
Her other accomplishments in the position include helping to improve safety conditions at Codman Island – the small triangular garden at Beacon and Charles streets that has been the site of multiple accidents over the years.
Halpin points to the achievements of Suzanne Besser, who preceded her as the Civic Association’s executive director.
“Suzanne is such a fabulous writer,” Halpin said. “We still reuse some of the material she wrote years ago.”
Halpin said succeeding Besser was a daunting task and expressed her gratitude to the Civic Association’s board members for helping her get acclimated in the new role. She is also confident that the group’s next executive director will rise to the occasion.
“When Suzanne left, I’m sure people were nervous about who would succeed her,” Halpin said. “They’re going to find someone and work to make that person successful.”
Halpin added, “This position evolves over time with needs of the organization. The board will ascertain what skills the organization needs in its next executive director.”
While Halpin calls the next phase of her life “retirement,” she will continue working in the non-profit sector on a volunteer basis and looks forward to traveling, including a trip to Cuba in January. “I’m on to new adventures,” she said.
Steve Young, a Civic Association board member who served as its chair at the time Halpin came on board, said the group has been very fortunate to have her as executive director for the past three and one-half years.
“MaryLee has the unique qualities of being highly capable and professional while being able to work with residents of the neighborhood, city representatives and individuals of all persuasions and ages,” Young said. “The Civic Association and I personally will miss working with her.”
Mark Kiefer, president of the Civic Association, also lauded Halpin’s job performance.
“MaryLee has made significant contributions to all aspects of the organization over the last few years, from membership to fundraising to public relations,” Kiefer wrote. “With her leadership we’ve reduced our operating costs and put systems in place to more efficiently manage the office and better serve our constituents. Her tireless efforts in this challenging role have helped make Beacon Hill a stronger community, and she will be missed.”
Keeta Gilmore, current chair of the Civic Association’s board of directors, described MaryLee as highly competent and professional during her tenure with the organization.
“She is personable, skilled and has been a pleasure to work with,” Gilmore wrote. “MaryLee has put her heart and soul into the Civic Association. For that, we are so thankful, and we wish her the very best.”
Meanwhile, the Civic Association has formed a search committee to find its next executive director. A job description can be found on the Civic Association’s Web site at bhcivic.org.