HAPPY RETIREMENT! Senior Center Director Reflects on Decades of Nonprofit Work
Mary Pica Anderson steps down as leader of L.E. Phillips Senior Center after 16 years
Mary Pica Anderson has spent over a decade ensuring the future of the L.E. Phillips Senior Center, navigating a global pandemic as well as a $3 million remodel that included adding 14,000 square feet for new recreational and fitness opportunities geared toward the needs of the actively aging population.
And, after 16 years serving as the executive director of the senior center – and a grand total of 43 years in nonprofit work – Pica Anderson announced late this winter her plans to retire.
As executive director, Pica Anderson oversaw programs such as the center’s physical exercise groups and educational opportunities that aimed to improve the physical, mental, and social health of the community’s senior citizens.
Her heart and soul were where she operated from, and anyone who worked with Mary would agree she became the face and voice of the L.E. Phillips Senior Center and its users.
president, L.E. Phillips Senior Center Board of Directors
“(Pica Anderson) has given so much to the Senior Center over the past 16 years,” Jim Deignan, president of the center’s board of directors, said in a media release. “Her heart and soul were where she operated from, and anyone who worked with Mary would agree she became the face and voice of the L.E. Phillips Senior Center and its users. She represented the senior center with passion and treated the facility as if it was her own.”
Prior to working at the senior center, Pica Anderson obtained a degree in education and originally moved to Eau Claire for a part-time teaching position. But, when an opening at Eau Claire’s YMCA fell into her lap, she knew it was an opportunity she couldn’t refuse. She worked at the YMCA for 27 years, propelling her passion for nonprofit work.
When a job opening popped up at the L.E. Phillips Senior Center, Pica Anderson thought this could be her new big venture – and it was.
“The biggest accomplishment that the staff has had along with myself here is the ability to continue to be engaged and informed on the needs of our aging population that lives in our community,” Pica Anderson said, "so we’re able to respond to them and provide them with the services that they need.”
Pica Anderson said it best: Nobody can accomplish anything alone; it is an endeavor done together.
“THE BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT THE STAFF HAS HAD ALONG WITH MYSELF HERE IS THE ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO BE ENGAGED AND INFORMED ON THE NEEDS OF OUR AGING POPULATION THAT LIVES IN OUR COMMUNITY SO WE'RE ABLE TO RESPOND TO THEM AND PROVIDE THEM WITH THE SERVICES THAT THEY NEED.”
“None of my accomplishments were done alone,” Pica Anderson said in a media release. “With the help of the board, the staff and the amazing members and supporters of the center we were able to accomplish lots.”
And that was the mantra she applied to her work at the senior center. It was through this type of work that she developed a tremendous amount of respect for volunteers and people who mobilize to accomplish necessary work for the community.
Pica Anderson’s final day as executive director will be March 31, though a search for a new executive director began mid-February.
“So many amazing things have happened here at the center in the last 16 years,” Pica Anderson said in a media release. “It just seemed like the right time to pass on the opportunity to someone else to lead this wonderful facility.”
Pica Anderson expressed she will miss the variety and spontaneity of her day, along with missing members of the senior center and her coworkers.
But, there's excitement in there too: “I will be a grandma,” she said, “so that’ll be the exciting part. So I guess I’ll just see what happens after that.”