We are proud to welcome Michael Nagle, a resident of Needham, to his new role as board president. As principal of the Michael Nagle Consulting Group, Michael possesses tremendous business acumen and leadership experience that supports our work in countless ways.
Michael also has a deeply personal connection to our mission. In 2005, he and his wife, Melyné, brought their daughter, Isabelle, who was four at the time, to The Children’s Room after the death of her sister, Sophia. “TCR helped Isabelle find ways to deal with her grief which was especially challenging as she transitioned into elementary school,” Michael says. “TCR helped Melyné and I manage our own grief journey so we could help Isabelle. All three of us are motivated to support TCR so other families, children and teens get the same opportunity to adapt in healthy ways after the death of a parent or sibling.”
In October 2014, Michael joined our Board of Directors, because he knew he wanted to give back. He realized that his experience as an Organization Development Consultant and Executive Coach could help strengthen and grow TCR, so he made the board commitment until 2020.
“The most satisfying thing about this board experience is enabling Donna Smith Sharff and her fantastic staff to serve more and more people,” Michael says. “This is a very well-functioning board that is totally dedicated to TCR’s mission. There are no egos getting in the way of doing what is right for the organization.”
A highlight of Michael’s time on the board was this summer’s trip to the annual symposium of the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC). “Seeing TCR staff conduct a workshop at the NAGC Symposium this June in Indianapolis was inspiring,” he says. “It made me so proud to be part of an organization delivering cutting edge training to other bereavement practitioners, so that their organizations, too, could offer Parenting While Grieving workshops to the families they serve. It became very clear to me at this national symposium that TCR is a thought leader in the field of bereavement support for children and teens.”
Humble and warm as ever, Michael is quick to thank and praise his predecessor, Neil Fisher, and his wife, Meryl Loonin, for all of their contributions to TCR. “We have a lot to thank Neil Fisher and his wife, Meryl, for. They are very generous,” Michael says.
“As a leader, Neil is highly conscientious and pays a lot of attention to details. As a result, Neil has helped TCR develop strong financial reporting systems and budgeting processes. Together with Alan Simpson, our Treasurer, Neil has made it possible for the board to make well informed decisions and invest wisely in staff and capital resources needed to sustain and grow TCR.”
Michael also cites the importance of Neil’s leadership role in working closely with fellow board members Paul Weichselbaum and Susan Retik-Ger, who facilitated the board and staff’s joint process to create TCR’s first official strategic plan, which was completed in 2015. This plan will guide our work as we aim to expand and enhance our programs and services at our center in Arlington and in surrounding communities.
As board president, the chance to support the implementation of the strategic plan excites Michael more than anything, because he foresees this work having a profound impact on children and teens. “I am confident we will, as planned, increase the number of Boston communities where TCR is enabling schools and organizations like The Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston to provide direct grief support services closer to home,” he says. “This is big, because we know when grief is not dealt with kids are more likely to engage in risky behaviors and are at greater risk for depression or suicide.”
“Beyond what TCR has done for my family directly, I am fulfilled by this work,” Michael says. “It creates tremendous hope in me that one day, because of the pioneering work we are doing at TCR, maybe our great-great-grandchildren will live in a world where grief is understood, talked about openly in families, and kids are encouraged to share their feelings with others. This inspires me. I hope it inspires others, too.”