by Paul Crandall
New Stockbridge Community Outreach Executive Director Gwen Reid hit the ground running on her first day, Aug. 18, having spent the past couple of years volunteering in many capacities at Outreach.
“We are so lucky that Gwen can step into the void being left by (departing director) Karen Smith,” said Kelly Schmidt, Outreach board member and volunteer pantry co-coordinator. “Gwen is so outgoing, compassionate and empathetic. And her extensive social work experience gives her the expertise to have a big impact on the lives of our clients.”
Schmidt added that when Smith told the board she had taken another job, he worried that Outreach would have trouble finding a suitable replacement.
“I was relieved to see Gwen’s application and extensive volunteer and work experience that so closely matches the needs of many of our clients,” Schmidt said.
Indeed, departing director Smith leaves big shoes to fill. Her accomplishments include overseeing the agency’s move from an old trailer into new, clean and bright offices in the Stockbridge Activity Center, as well as an increase in the number of clients served and grants received. Smith has agreed to stay on for a few hours per week to help the new director with the transition, keeping Outreach operations running smoothly.
Reid has expressed her enthusiasm for her new position, stating she has “a true passion for rural community involvement, team building and empowering others.”
Outreach volunteer and Board Chair Jo Mayer shared that, “Gwen has been a delight to work with—full of energy, very organized and a real ‘people’ person. It’s good to see her taking on more responsibility—she’ll be great in this new role.”
Stockbridge Community Outreach Association is a nonprofit food pantry and crisis center located in Stockbridge and serves those who live within the Stockbridge School District boundaries.