Incoming Senior Center Director Brings YMCA Experience
Jackie Minor will lead L.E. Phillips Senior Center
When Jackie Minor, the new executive director of the L.E. Phillips Senior Center, moved from Superior to Eau Claire in 2017 with her family, she had capped a successful 30-year career at the Superior-Douglas County Family YMCA. With a degree in recreational leadership and administration from UW-La Crosse, she worked as the program operations director for 28 years prior to being promoted to chief executive officer in 2015.
Once in Eau Claire, she focused on getting her family settled, looked after aging parents, and volunteered at Beacon House and The Community Table. Last December, she joined the senior center to work out in its brand new fitness center. Soon after, she heard that the Senior Center’s executive director, Mary Pica Anderson, was retiring in March after serving successfully there for 16 years. Minor felt a calling to apply. She discussed it with her husband, David – the president and CEO of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce – and then went for the job. And, unbeknownst to Minor, like her, Anderson’s prior career was at the YMCA in Eau Claire.
That synchronicity did not go unnoticed by the search committee, according to Jim Deignan, president of the senior center’s board. In an email, Deignan wrote what set Minor apart were five attributes: 1) Experience working in a leadership role within a fairly large, community-based nonprofit setting, 2) Relational, 3) Program-oriented, 4) Community-minded, and 5) Fundraising interest/ability.
“I am excited to work side by side with the board, staff, and volunteers to serve our members – the actively aging people of Eau Claire,” Minor said. “The senior population of Eau Claire is continuing to grow in numbers and in its diversity of needs. Our L.E. Phillips Senior Center is uniquely positioned to meet this challenge.”
The Senior Center recently completed a $3 million expansion with the addition of 14,000 square feet and increased parking capacity. On a recent afternoon tour, two activity rooms were filled with more than 100 individuals playing cards and board games. In the new lower level space, a dozen men were shooting pool on two pool tables, two pickleball courts were ready for play, and a walking path on the perimeter of the room was ready to go (22 rounds equals one mile). The new fitness gym, whose tall glass windows look out on the street, is tailor-made for an actively aging population. In addition to a large community room, there are several multi-purpose rooms: some have computers, while others have yoga mats, exercise balls, and other items for specific classes. A cozy room with comfy chairs and a fireplace recently hosted a book club.
In a recent study of Eau Claire County, the population over age 50 is expected to increase considerably in coming years, as the Baby Boom generation ages. The senior center is open to residents 50 years old and above. Annual membership is $30, while accessing the brand-new fitness center is an additional $100 per year. Many of its special programs have a nominal fee or are free of charge. For more info, visit lephillipsseniorcenter.com.