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Atheline Nixon learned about Beacon Hill Village soon after it began in 2002. “I thought it was a great idea but not for me – yet,” said Atheline who was a recent retiree and was trying to figure out what this new life would bring. “Then I had another hip operation and thought, “who’s going to make my bed?” I called the Village for help. And the rest is history.”
Though she sums up her start simply, Atheline’s involvement with the Village has been anything but. Over nearly two decades, she’s chaired numerous committees, been integral to new programs and events and is the go-to girl when staff or members need an honest opinion. She’s a member of Beacon Hill Village’s Board of Directors.
“A family friend chaired the Membership Committee when I joined the Village and talked me into joining the group. I’ve been involved one way or another ever since,” says Atheline, later assuming the chairperson role. Atheline describes early days when mailings, cold calls and hotel and restaurant events helped recruit new members. As the committee focused more on engagement, Atheline and others expanded and formalized an Ambassador Program, linking current and new members. “It’s nice to have someone show you the ropes and invite you to events,” says Atheline.
When former executive director Laura Connors proposed the Creative Kitchens Tour, Atheline jumped on board and has been on the Committee for the last six years. “Over the years, we’ve toured over 48 kitchens,” says Atheline, noting that about 90 member volunteers keep it running smoothly. “It’s a happy event, a great fundraiser that has increased the profile of Beacon Hill Village.”
Atheline’s affinity for people—and new challenges— comes from past experience. A 1958 college graduate, Atheline raised her family in Minnesota, Chicago, New York, and Paris before settling in Wayland where her children graduated from high school. “I worked for the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in Child Support Enforcement for 15 years,” she says. After divorcing in 1994, Atheline also ran an informal bed and breakfast in her house.
These days, she’s a trustee for her condo association and keeps fit climbing up and down Joy Street en route to Village meetings. As others, she enjoys taking courses with Beacon Hill Seminars. She’s also a member of The University Club in the South End. “I try to swim at least three times a week which is my go to exercise and keeps me relaxed and ready to take on anything that might come my way.”
You’ve devoted so much energy to the Village. How can others get involved?
The Member Engagement Committee sends out an “interest and talent” survey. We ask members about their skills and whether they’d be interested in serving on committees. There’s a great deal of expertise among our membership that we would love to tap in to. There are many members who are on Committees, act as Ambassadors and help out with mailings etc. We would certainly like to see more members take on larger roles to make sure the Village continues to grow and thrive.
There’s been a lot of growth in the Village since you joined. What’s next?
We need new members and younger people. The folks who started Beacon Hill Village almost 20 years ago were in their 50s and 60s and are older now. I’d like to see us replenish that younger demographic.
Is there anything Beacon Hill Village could do better?
I’ve been part of the Task Force charged with brand implementation. We can do a better job getting the word out with communications and social media.
In a nutshell, what’s wonderful about the Village?
You join for one reason and you find all sorts of other reasons to stay and get involved.
The Village has been a wonderful addition to my life and connects me to my community. You reach a certain age and you think, “I don’t need any more friends. I have put in my time on Boards and organizations” and all of a sudden, you have this amazing new circle of friends who you see on the street or at a function and you are involved in meaningful and interesting activities. It’s a comforting and rewarding feeling.”