Executive director exits nonprofit Listen

  • Listen Community Services Executive Director Kyle Fisher speaks with volunteer servers about a change in how the annual Lebanon Christmas Day Dinner was to be presented to those in attendance in the basement of Sacred Heart Church in Lebanon, N.H., on Dec. 25, 2018. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Geoff Hansen

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/13/2022 2:23:09 AM
Modified: 10/13/2022 2:23:16 AM

LEBANON — Listen Community Services Executive Director Kyle Fisher, who had been on leave since early September, resigned last week, according to the organization’s board chairman.

Fisher had served as Listen’s executive director since 2016. He took over from Merilynn Bourne, who retired after leading the now-50-year-old organization since 1996.

Jay Benson, a Norwich resident who serves as the board’s chairman, declined to provide more details about Fisher’s departure from the Lebanon-based social service organization, which operates three thrift stores, employs about 80 workers and provides various forms of assistance to people in the Upper Valley.

“This all happened fairly quickly,” Benson said of Fisher’s departure. “… We respected his decision and direction.”

A message left on Fisher’s cellphone was not returned by deadline. Fisher, who holds an MBA from the University of Michigan, first came to the organization as a volunteer in 2013 after relocating to the Upper Valley with his wife.

Shortly thereafter, he took on a volunteer coordinator position at Listen and later became administrative director, responsible for managing human resources, facilities and information technology. The board selected him for the organization’s top job following a search, which included more than 40 applicants.

Angela Zhang, Listen’s program services director, said that she appreciated the opportunity to work for Fisher.

“My colleagues and I will really miss him around LISTEN!” she said in a Wednesday email.

For now, Richard Green, a longtime business executive in the Upper Valley and the only member of the organization’s board without a full-time job, has taken a leave of absence from the board to serve as interim executive director, Benson said.

“It’s in secure and good hands,” Benson said of the organization.

Green, a Hanover resident, said he started in the interim role in mid-September when it was unclear when or whether Fisher would be returning.

A management consultant, Green said he first learned about Listen when a donor paid him to work with Fisher a few years ago. He joined the board in January and was serving as treasurer before taking the interim post.

“I was very pleased to go on the board,” Green said. “It’s even more fulfilling to actually be working on the ground … with the staff.”

Green said the thrift stores had a successful winter sale last week and are preparing for a busy holiday season, funds from which will be needed to help support the organization’s programs that provide food, fuel, electricity and housing assistance amid inflation and supply shortages.

“It’s a big mission,” he said.

The board plans to hire a third-party company to conduct a search for a new executive director, Benson said.

The “job market’s very tough,” he said, but the board hopes to have a permanent leader in place within five months.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.

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