Robin Curtis applied for a job at the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers only because they had an opening and she wanted to leave the job where she was working at the time.
“I had never heard of community health centers,” Curtis said. “I had no idea what they were.”
Regardless, her experience working in education was appealing to the League’s CEO Jim Hunt, who hired her as his executive assistant 19 years ago this month.
On Tuesday, Dec. 15, Curtis will retire after almost two decades on the job – a job that she said never stopped being meaningful and fun.
Curtis said she realized she liked her job at the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers “within a couple of weeks even though everything was new to me.” Hunt, a longtime adjunct professor of public health, possessed the teaching skills and historical knowledge that helped to get her acclimated quickly, Curtis said.
Her co-workers, the dynamic nature of the work, and the dedication of the League membership to its patients and communities have kept her at the League for all these years.
Asked to describe the work of community health centers in one word, Curtis offered inspiring. “Our health centers are doing the kind of work that’s valuable and good for so many people who often remain below the radar,” she said.
It is her co-workers whom she will miss the most. “There’s so much teamwork in our organization that I’ve been fortunate to work with everyone on staff. What’s more, there is a real willingness here to pitch in no matter what the task, initiative or event.”
The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers represents and serves the needs of state’s 49 community health centers which have grown in size and scope over her tenure. But even with the serious work of ensuring access to quality and comprehensive primary care, Curtis insists that League staff have found ways to have a little fun.
Among her fondest memories are the annual galas in June, where staff would honor awardees and celebrate the event’s theme in creative ways. One year, for instance, the theme was “A League of Our Own.” Staff dressed up in baseball gear and awardees were featured on baseball cards.
“We tried to make the galas as interesting and as fun as possible, and I loved to be a part of that,” Curtis said. “It has been great fun to work here. I can definitely say I’ve never been bored.”
Curtis said she has mixed feelings about retiring. “I’ve made some great friendships here that I’m going to miss on a day-to-day basis. On the other hand, I’m ready for long walks on the beach and travel.”
Curtis said she also looks forward to spending more time with her two children and three grandchildren.
Ending on a high note was also important to Curtis. She was happy to be part of the 50th anniversary celebration for community health centers that the League hosted in late November. Adds Curtis: “I’m happy to see community health centers getting the recognition they deserve.”