LONDONDERRY, Vt. – The Board of Directors of Neighborhood Connections is pleased to announce that Nicole Wengerd, Ph.D., has been appointed as the organization’s new executive director, effective May 11, 2020.
Dr. Wengerd, who is better known as Nikki, joined the Neighborhood Connections team in January; however, her experience with the organization spans a much longer timeframe. During the agency’s founding years, Nikki served as a caseworker with the organization, alongside cofounder Gloria Dawson. After two years of community-based work with Neighborhood Connections, Nikki left to pursue a doctorate in environmental studies, which she completed in 2018 at Antioch University. Nikki also holds a master’s degree in sociology, with a focus on applied community and economic development. Her background includes work on issues of community participation and governance in Tanzania, an ongoing role as an adjunct professor at Keene State College in the sociology and environmental studies departments, and a longtime focus on community organizing and development.
Jim Linville, the president of Neighborhood Connections’ Board of Directors, stated, “We are delighted to bring Nikki Wengerd to the helm of this organization. She views Neighborhood Connections not just as a health and social service agency, but as a hub for our southwestern Vermont communities, and as a place where partnership with other community organizations is the focus of our model of service. Her proven leadership and passion for service will undoubtedly create wonderful new opportunities and avenues toward our mission of fostering hope, delivering care, and connecting our neighbors to comprehensive wellbeing support.”
The organization’s other co-founder, Dr. Delores Barbeau, who has been serving as interim director, will support Nikki and facilitate connections with partnering community agencies as she transitions fully into her new role.
Of her return to the organization, Nikki stated, “There is no greater joy or higher reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life, especially in their greatest time of need. I’m so proud to be part of an organization whose central mission is to do just that. I can’t imagine I will ever match the selfless service that Gloria Dawson and Dr. Barbeau have given to our communities. Still, I will work tirelessly to meet their vision and grow Neighborhood Connections to its fullest potential.”
A New Jersey native, Nicole now lives in Landgrove with her husband Josh and two girls Wren and Charley.