Farewell Lea Montalto-Rook

Our Director of Operations and Development, Lea Montalto-Rook, is leaving the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy at the end of February to take on a new challenge as Chief Executive Officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region. Lea is our longest-serving staff member and for many years has been responsible for MHLC’s operations, fundraising, marketing, communications, finance, outreach, and events. She will be sorely missed. We will be hiring a new Fundraising and Marketing Manager to assume some of these roles.

A note from Lea:

Lea and her children enjoying MHLC’s 2016 Summer Festival at Indian Ladder Farms

I’m joining Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region as CEO at a very exciting time. I hope to grow the organization and expand both the budget and the programmatic offerings, with the goal of eliminating the waitlist for littles, providing greater reserves to sustain BBBS into the future, and expanding the scope of offerings in the community, for the benefit of today’s youth and future generations. There is a real need right now for men to serve as mentors for a large list of boys who are in need of a male role model. If you know anyone who would be willing to serve in that capacity and play that important role of shepherding a child and helping to unleash their potential, please let me know.

I’m sorry to leave MHLC, though, and I hope to remain involved in a new capacity. It is really such a bitter-sweet time for me. For more than eight years, I have devoted myself to preserving the character and open spaces of the Capital Region. When I moved to the region in 2011, I was struck by the close proximity of the country to the city. With just a 20-minute bike ride, one can travel from farmland to a concert at the Egg. Through the years, I have enjoyed these unique features. I have walked fields and forests, watched many sunsets from MHLC preserves, and dreamed of a Capital Region with these precious natural lands preserved for future generations. I have worked determinedly to make this dream a reality, and my family has embraced and joined me in these efforts. In fact, my children have appeared in publications and my family is featured in the MHLC video.

Through the years, it has also been my pleasure to work hand-in-hand with board members, staff, and volunteers to grow the organization with great success. Together we have shaped MHLC into a strong regional leader—the Capital Region’s land trust—and amplified the concrete advantages to our local community: the creation of preserves for recreation, the benefit of local food and clean water, the preservation of habitat for wildlife, the mitigation of climate, and more. This success is directly attributable to individual action and an incredible number of supporters who have joined together to create impact. Thank you! (Please make a larger impact by giving a gift today. MHLC needs your ongoing support to sustain our conservation efforts.)

Living not far from the Conservancy’s office means that I have come to know my neighbors in a unique way. I have shaken hands, smiled in welcome at events, enjoyed many conversations, asked for renewed support, and received guidance and inspiration. Along the way, I have also forged good friendships that will last long after my time with MHLC comes to an end.

I look forward to remaining involved with MHLC in a new capacity and helping to continue to move the mission forward. My new email at Big Brothers Big Sisters is lea@bbbscr.org. Please keep in touch!