Plum Community Center has a new executive director
Plum Community Center has a new executive director.
Squirrel Hill resident Karen Hochberg took over for Nina Segelson as administrative head this month.
Segelson retired at the end of June after working more than three decades at the center.
“I'm so impressed with what she's built in 32 years,” Hochberg said. “She has really grown the place with her staff team, and she has left me a solid foundation. I want to keep her legacy strong and build on what she's done and still try new things. I'm very excited for the opportunity.”
Hochberg, 61, served as the director of marketing and public relations for the Oncology Nursing Society from 2001-2012 and as the executive director for the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee from 2013-2016.
She also was chief of staff for former Allegheny County Commissioner Mike Dawida from 1996-2000, and assisted with his 1999 campaign for Allegheny County executive.
Hochberg said her previous jobs granted experience in outreach programming, budgets, working with a board, federal tax filing and other necessary skills to run a nonprofit such as the Plum center.
She plans to implement intergenerational programs that encourage discussions between people of various age levels, and possibly expand hours and evening programs.
“People are retired longer and live longer, and we need to make those years vibrant and change the conversation about what it means to be in those years,” she said. “We don't want people to feel that they can't come here because it's ‘for old people.' ”
Hochberg was chosen from a pool of more than 100 candidates.
Board President Adele O'Connor said it was her “enthusiastic, positive, take-charge attitude” that made Hochberg stand out.
“She understands the difficulties of running a nonprofit and was mostly concerned with focusing on people's strengths,” O'Connor said. “She understands the direction we're going. Everything was positive. She's done strategic planning, worked with budgets, fundraising, getting grants. It was just the right fit.”
Both Hochberg and O'Connor declined to disclose the director's salary.
Segelson was hired as a part-time program coordinator in January 1986 and succeeded Gloria Schultz as director in 1988.
About 500 people used the center annually in the 1980s. Membership bumped up to the 800s the next decade, and there are about 2,000 registered seniors today.
The center itself grew with expansions in 1999 and 2012. A conference room, fitness center and large kitchen were among those projects.
“Nina has really made the center what it is today,” O'Connor said.
The center had a retirement party for Segelson June 27. People shared stories and offered commemorative gifts.
Segelson also received a citation from state Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Monroeville.
“I've had a wonderful send-off by my staff, the board, the borough and all of the wonderful people that I have served and worked with for these many years,” Segelson said. “I wish the Center well in the future. It is a vital place, and I know it will continue to thrive.”
Hochberg trained with Segelson for two weeks prior to officially becoming director July 2.
“I think she will do a fine job,” Segelson said about Hochberg. “She has a great staff to work with.”