Time of Change
“It was a time of dramatic change, but it all worked beautifully! I feel incredibly lucky to have been part of that.”
As Executive Director of the Harris Center from 2009 to 2012, Laurie Bryan shepherded the organization through a series of major transitions during a period of tremendous change. Laurie didn’t start out as the Executive Director. In fact, she began working for the Harris Center in 1999 doing part-time data entry. Before long, her talents led her to do membership work, then fundraising, and eventually to become the Associate Director of the place she and her family had come to know so well.
“The Harris Center is part of the fabric of the region. It’s really unique for an organization to connect education and land protection. Eleanor’s vision was brilliant, and the organization’s done a great job of carrying it out.”
An Incredible Welcome
During the Harris Center’s building renovation, Laurie and others worked out of office space in Jaffrey’s Mini Storage for a year. When the renovation was complete and the staff moved back in, an organizational transition followed — with the Harris Center shifting from a “family”-type structure to a more formal organizational structure that could stand the test of time. When Meade decided it was time to step down as executive director in 2009, Laurie stepped into his role.
“When it was announced at the annual meeting that year that I would be the new executive director, I didn’t know what to expect. Well, the warmth that I felt from those at the meeting is something that I’ll never forget. It was an incredible welcoming by the membership. Pretty special!”
Another person might have had a hard time following in the footsteps of someone [Meade] who had been at the helm for 40 years, but Laurie took it in stride. “We worked together really well,” she said. Laurie always had the best interests of the Harris Center at heart, and was ready to step up and do what needed to be done. And when she felt like she had guided the Harris Center through this monumental transition, she graciously stepped aside.
“I felt like I got the organization to its next phase, and it was time to let it go to the next person. Jeremy has strengthened the land, education, and citizen science programs; his background let him move right into all of it. And if there is something I can feel good about [with respect to my work here] it’s about continuity. People felt good about staying and working here, the organization continues to thrive, and that’s the best anyone can do!”
The Ties that Bind
Laurie still has many ties to the Harris Center. She continues to come to programs, and the Harris Center holds a conservation easement on her land. Her children went to Wol’s Nest summer camp years ago, and now her son does maintenance work at the Harris Center with his son in tow. Generations continue to mark the passage of time at the Harris Center; continuity is indeed a special part of this place.
“It still feels like home when I walk through the door. It’s a wonderful feeling!”
For more information on the Harris Center’s 50th anniversary celebrations, please contact Lisa Murray at (603) 525-3394 or by email.