Executive Director of 43 Years, Gilda Nardone, to Retire; Janet Smith, Longtime Staff Member, is Hired for Leadership Role

University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing Jonathan Henry has announced that New Ventures Maine (NVME) Western Region Manager and Statewide Asset Manager Janet Smith was chosen through an extensive search to succeed Gilda Nardone as she retires after 43 years of service as NVME’s executive director.

Gilda Nardone (L) and Janet Smith (R)

“Gilda has lifted up thousands of people across our state and beyond over a lifetime of dedication to her work,” said Henry. “She has also mentored her staff to take on leadership roles, and Janet is an excellent example of that guidance manifested professionally. Janet has the expertise, experience, and passion to lead New Ventures Maine into the future.”

In her years as executive director, Nardone guided the organization in its establishment as Displaced Homemakers beginning in 1978, as it grew into Maine Centers for Women, Work, and Community in the mid-1990s, and as it became New Ventures Maine in 2015. Throughout her tenure, Nardone has been an advocate for women pursuing career changes, entrepreneurial opportunities, and financial literacy.

“I’ve worked with so many people who have followed their aspirations and dreams, and they’ve accomplished amazing things,” said Nardone. “I look forward to staying connected and continuing to champion the organization,” she said.

Smith joined New Ventures Maine in 2001 as the Farmington Center Coordinator, and in 2004 she became the Regional Manager for the Western Region, including Franklin, Androscoggin, and Oxford Counties. She has helped develop and teaches NVME’s comprehensive money-management and career-planning classes, along with teaching other workshops for twenty-plus years. She also designed, developed, and implemented NVME’s Rainy Day Savings Program and has spent seven years leading CA$H Maine statewide activities. She earned a Master of Science in Adult Education from the University of Southern Maine. Smith is a Gorman Fellow (Cohort 3) and a graduate of Leadership Maine 2014-15, Chi Class, as well as a member of several state and local boards, committees and networks.

“As Gilda leaves New Ventures Maine, we have a tremendous legacy to build upon,” Smith said. “I am passionate about people working toward economic security and I believe education, empowerment, and access to financial assets are critical tools for strengthening families and communities.”

Smith starts in her new role on Monday, November 1 and Nardone will assist with the transition through December 31, 2021.