With four months under my belt as Executive Director of Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy, I am taking time to reflect on some of what I have seen, heard, and done during my time on the mountain. Certain phrases keep coming to mind, like one person’s description that taking on a new leadership role can feel like “drinking from a fire hose,” and, of course, there is the proverbial, “You’ve got big shoes to fill.”
In the nearly sixty years that TMSC has been in existence, I am only the third Executive Director to lead the organization. I have heard and continue to hear stories about Dr. La Salle’s larger-than-life personality and constant push to ensure that TMSC stood firmly at the “cutting edge” of science and technology. I have seen firsthand the excitement and passion with which Jonathan Craig teaches people of all ages about science, and I can verify that he is indeed as trusty with a chainsaw as the legends make him out to be. I am grateful for the legacies these gentlemen leave behind, and I recognize that these are certainly big shoes to fill.
“Wear your own shoes, and you’ll be just fine.” These words were shared with me as I met with the family of one of TMSC’s founders and long-time supporters, and it got me thinking that I need not step into the shoes of my storied predecessors, but rather look for the footprints they have left behind. Undoubtedly, there will be times when following in their footsteps is the surest path forward, and at other times, I will need to create my own footprints, just as they did.
As I continue to make meaningful connections with the Science Center and Academy communities, the future is becoming clearer. We don’t have all the answers, but one thing is crystal clear and as relevant as ever: our mission calls us to “Inspire today’s young people to invent tomorrow.” With partners like engaged families, committed staff, and an active Board of Trustees, I am confident that we will establish our footprints and blaze a trail to a bright and exciting future. Just as I am thankful to Don, Jonathan, and all those who have enlivened the Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy over the years, I am grateful to those current and future friends who will join me on the journey. Onward!