Listen Community Services Names New Executive Director

  • Kyle Fisher appointed Executive Director of LISTEN Community Services.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/29/2016 12:53:11 AM
Modified: 7/29/2016 12:53:20 AM

Lebanon — Listen Community Services announced on Thursday that Kyle Fisher has been chosen to take the reins as the nonprofit’s next executive director. He will take over for Merilynn Bourne, who first joined the charitable organization in 1996 and will retire today.

“For the last year and a half, I have felt that he is the perfect individual to succeed me,” Bourne said in a phone interview. “He communicates very well and he listens very well. He’s compassionate and he really cares.”

Fisher, 35, first came to Listen as a volunteer three years ago. After relocating to the Upper Valley with his wife, he visited a store to drop off unneeded items from the trip and quickly recognized it as a hub of activity.

Although he initially saw volunteering as a way to bridge the gap in his resume while looking for jobs in the area, he readily accepted a volunteer coordinator position at the organization a few weeks later. A couple of months into that job, he was chosen to take over as administrative director, managing Listen’s human resources, facilities and IT departments.

“I was really able to engage and obtain the trust of all the Listen employees (during that time),” Fisher said. “I would have to say that the employees are really what kept me here.”

When Bourne announced her retirement in March, he said, a commitment to staffers and dedication to the organization’s mission drove him to apply.

Listen Board President David Brooker said the search for a new executive director began about two months ago, when the nonprofit set up a search committee and hired a human resources specialist to help sift through about 42 applicants.

While the committee was looking for someone with an advanced degree and previous experience managing budgets, they also wanted to find someone who would fit into the Listen culture.

“We look for people whose attributes spoke to us,” Brooker said. “They either had to have been leaders or have the potential to lead an organization.”

Not only did Fisher have an MBA from the University of Michigan and past experience in accounting, he also fit in well with employees and customers, Brooker said.

“Kyle sort of made it clear to us that he had his own ideas on certain aspects on the organization and how to improve it,” he said. “(Fisher) demonstrated the capability to be innovative and creative.”

Looking to the future, Fisher said Listen is in a good position to continue providing and expanding services to the less fortunate. The community thrift stores generate about $2 million a year, meaning the nonprofit isn’t entirely dependent on donors for revenue.

As his appointment coincides with Bourne’s retirement, Fisher said he’ll be sad to see the longtime executive director leave. Bourne is an incredible leader, he said, and working alongside her prepared him for the job.

Bourne reciprocated Fisher’s feelings, and said Listen will be in safe hands under his leadership. After decades on the job, she’s also happy to see retirement.

“I’m really looking forward to Saturday every day for the rest of my life,” she said.

Tim Camerato can be reached at or 603-727-3223.

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