Renee Fournier first volunteered for New London Main Street in 1999 when she co-produced an event with Mitchell College, where she worked at the time. She and Penny Parsekian, then CEO of New London Main Street, went on to co-produce many events, some of which, like Fish Tales, Tugs and Sails, remain signature New London events to this day. Renee has worked tirelessly for New London Main Street, even before she was elected to the board of directors in 2011.
Renee quickly moved through the ranks, becoming first Vice President, then Co-President and finally President of the Board in 2013. During her tenure, she used her marketing and communication skills to help guide the organization through a time of upheaval with grace and leadership. Renee also oversaw the hiring of NLMS’s first new Executive Director in over a decade, and continues to go out of her way to immerse the Executive Director in the community.
As Board President, Renee illustrates her deep commitment for New London and NLMS by instilling enthusiasm in other members, staff and volunteers. She is New London Main Street’s most proactive ambassador, wearing her “Main Street Hat” at all times. Renee’s finest memory as a member of the board is accompanying the judges of Main Street’s 2013 Spring Food Stroll as they visited the winning restaurants to announce that they had won. The gratitude of the restaurant owners, the community cheer and support, and the overall New London spirit was so high that Renee realized in that moment just how valued the work of New London Main Street is by the community.
Volunteer of the Year – Jordan WhippleJordan Whipple, a life-long New London resident, appeared in the office at New London Main Street in early 2014 with a little time on his hands and looking to be of service to the community. He had no idea that New London Main Street had just the job for him – a job which he performed reliably, thoughtfully and thoroughly.
It just so happened that NLMS’s web-based calendar of events – among the most popular web result when Googling New London – had fallen on hard times. All of that changed when Jordan accepted the volunteer job of establishing new benchmarks for the calendar policies and procedures, writing a guide, and manually harvesting and entering all details about an event. The calendar of events has improved exponentially. The positive feedback from the community about the calendar and the publication it feeds, This Week in New London, and the success of events that are listed are proof that the New London Main Street calendar has, once again, become a critical tool for promoting the City.
NLMS is a small organization with limited resources, yet Jordan demonstrated volunteerism excellence with his willingness to see a project through without pay, often without sufficient thanks and with minimal guidance. When no longer able to dedicate the same amount of time to New London Main Street due to the requirements of his day job, Jordan trained new volunteers to take over, worked up to the last second of his commitment, and offered to come back when his work’s busy season lets up.