Leading From The Heart..
It has been more than 11 years since I officially joined the staff at Pride Center of Vermont. This organization and community is deeply embedded in my heart, which is where I’ve grounded my leadership as Executive Director over the past several years. More than 22 years ago, I worked with a group of dedicated volunteers to build this wonderful organization, which was originally called RU12? Community Center, while serving on the founding board. In the early aughts I joined the first SafeSpace advocacy team, serving LGBTQ+ survivors of violence. Today I am sharing my decision to step down from Pride Center at the end of 2022. As I sunset my time at the Center, I have immense gratitude for the relationships I’ve built with a vibrant community, amazing co-workers, dedicated board members, wonderful community partners, and generous volunteers.
Over the past several years I’ve served on a team of colleagues who have accomplished incredible things. Together, we have doubled the size of our staff and budget, expanded our programs deeper into rural communities, and increased capacity for programs that serve the most marginalized folks under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. All of this while navigating through a pandemic and working to meet the urgent needs of LGBTQ+ Vermonters.
With my last day only a few months away, I hope to connect with so many who helped make my time here at the Pride Center of Vermont unforgettable. I’m looking forward to a new chapter for me and thrilled by the opportunity that Pride Center has to bring on dynamic new leadership!
Please come find me at Pride for a proper goodbye!
Mike Bensel (they/them)