StarNews: Here Now – Literacy council has new leader, new offices

Here Now – Literacy council has new leader, new offices

By Si Cantwell

Photo by Matt Born

Susan Pomeroy, executive director of the Cape Fear Literacy Council, stands in new offices being renovated in Wilmington on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. The new building will increase classroom space by 75 percent. Pomeroy started as the new executive director June 19.

The Cape Fear Literacy Council has a new leader and new offices as it continues its mission of providing free educational services to more than 500 adult students.

Susan Pomeroy took the reins June 19 after the departure of former Executive Director Linda Lytvinenko, who moved with her husband to the Triangle area to spend more time with family.

One of Pomeroy’s first duties has been to oversee the opening of a second building on South 17th Street, a brick building just north of CFLC’s existing offices at 1012 S. 17th St.

The nonprofit has owned the 2,400-square-foot building for more than three years and used it sporadically. But it waited until this year to begin extensive renovations.

Pomeroy pointed to a small room that will be used for tutoring and dubbed it the “Inspiration Room.” It was used for one-on-one sessions, but it was leaky and rather dark. The only window was bricked up.

“The conditions were horrific,” she said. That was the inspiration for the $150,000 face-lift.

The newly renovated building expands classroom space by 75 percent. It offers classrooms and tutoring spaces, a break area and three offices.

The expansion is badly needed. The little blue building by the railroad tracks that’s still home to CFLC was too small for the nonprofit’s growing mission.

“It got to the point where people were using my office when I wasn’t there,” Pomeroy said.

Pomeroy, 54 and a a native of Nyack, N.Y., worked in brand management for Procter & Gamble’s cosmetics operations, overseeing the purchase of the Max Factor brand.

Then she became vice president of marketing for a regional chocolate company, Gertrude Hawk Chocolates of Dunmore, Pa.

In 2005, after 15 years in the corporate world, she jumped.

She took five years off to pursue her passion, skydiving all over the United States and Europe.

Then she took another leap of faith. She decided to put her management and organizational skills to work in the nonprofit sector, something she’d thought about since receiving her MBA at the University of Michigan.

In 2010, she became director of a domestic violence shelter in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

She liked the work. But with her children living in North Carolina, she cast her eyes southward.

“I read a million job descriptions,” she said. When she came across the vacancy at the Literacy Council, she said, “That’s my job!”

“The work energizes me. The staff here is so smart and so committed to the work they do,” she said. “And I can live at the beach.”

Spelling Bee for Literacy

What: Fundraiser pits teams of 3 adults each who vie for a trophy and prizes for best costumes, best team name and best cheering section.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18.

Where: Pine Valley United Methodist Church, 3788 Shipyard Blvd.

How much: Admission is free and includes light refreshments, audience games and prizes. Donations are welcome.

How to help: Come and cheer. Form a team, become a sponsor. “Adopt a letter” for $100. For more information, contact Erin Payne, community outreach and volunteer management coordinator, at 251-0911.

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