Getting To Know Our Director, Liane MaLossi Kerbyson Interview by Leesa Allison
Who are you?
First and foremost, I am a mom of three young adults. Our family has lived in Hopkinton, NH for the last 21 years and we have been fortunate enough to have had a really good life. We live on a horse farm with our two horses, Behr and Bleu, our two mischievous donkeys, Tilly and Boo, some chickens, a couple of ducks, and our four dogs, Keeley (an Irish wolfhound), Ronan, Loki, and Frejya (huskies). My husband works for Autodesk and has been with this wonderful company for the past 27 years. It has been amazing that he has been able to work from home so that he can keep track of all that is happening with the farm and be my partner with the raising of our three kids. I work as a part-time executive director of Family Promise of Greater Concord, but I also have a private practice in Contoocook which allows me a great career blend. Being present with people who are struggling and supporting them while they discover all the inner strengths and resources that they have available to them is my purpose and it is always an honor to be any part of someone’s journey, so I am pretty grateful in that respect. My ‘therapy’ is definitely the animals. I love to hop on a horse and go down to the lake to go for a swim or trek out into the woods for a couple of hours. Horses and dogs are innately gifted to read where you are at emotionally and help you balance yourself internally. As I go forward with my husband, and we are now officially empty nesters, I am ready for this next stage of life and Family Promise is definitely a part of this new chapter.
How did you get involved with Family Promise?
I was asked by a good friend and colleague to consider Family Promise so I interviewed. The board is an incredible group of people and a great deal of talent in one room. From the start, it has felt like a natural fit. My staff is dedicated and are committed to helping the organization grow. It is amazing to me that I have been with Family Promise for almost a year now. I love the model and believe that, although it can be tough to rotate from site to site, the families are exposed to some really compassionate volunteers. The constant feedback that I have received from the families is focused on this perspective and would encourage that it not be undervalued. Many of the family members that we have had as guests have never been treated with this unconditional kindness. In that sense, it gives hope to them that there are many people in the community that are ready to help them get on a stable path.
What is it like to work at FPGC?
The atmosphere. I am literally working with some of the kindest, most compassionate people around. From my colleagues in Concord to my staff, the board and the volunteers, it has been a really amazing experience. It is also amazing to meet the families. I have met some incredibly resilient people who just keep finding the strength to move forward through adversity. Very cool human beings all around me.
What are your goals while you are with FPGC?
My goals…I have many. I would like to see an increase in awareness of our existence in the Concord community. We have only been around for four years, doors open, but it is amazing to me how many people that I meet still say “Family Promise? I’ve never heard of you guys.” Definitely getting our name out there would be number one. I would also love to see the organization grow financially to be able to increase staff. It can be incredibly frustrating to find funding for operational expenses. I guess it is not a ‘glamorous’ part to fund, but it is an absolutely necessary piece of the puzzle. Without my staff, we would not be providing stability. Just a roof over someone’s head with no guidance or aid to prevent future homeless situations. Definitely a goal would be to see that financially we are sound and can have the ability to grow. The second goal would be to potentially purchase a place that could be used as transitional housing. This would be down the line, but maybe a stepping stone for families from the program to being out on their own. Getting more interfaith hosts is also on my radar. Our sites work really hard and I don’t want to see them get burnt out.
What is the job experience like as executive director of this non-profit?
I would definitely say that I wear many hats. There are times, when we have experienced a staff transition that I acted more as a case manager. On any given day I am meeting with community colleagues to stay in touch with the housing status of Concord or speaking at one of our participating congregations about Family Promise. I research funding, participate in the organization of fundraising efforts, attend meetings with the board and development committee, and answer the on line phone at times when a host site has a question. There really is never a single day that is like another. There have been many times that I have even thrown on some sweatpants, hopped into my pick up, and moved families into their homes on a Saturday. Never a dull moment!
What is your biggest concerns as the executive director?
I worry about the families that we have not been able to keep in touch with. It is only recently that we have had the staff to do some follow through work so I wonder how those families are that have fallen off of our radar. It is difficult sometimes to know the obstacles that have stood in the way of families before and you definitely hope that they have picked up some tools and resources while in the program that will keep them stable and afloat. Having the “Us and You, Follow-Through” program has been put in place to encourage families to keep in touch with us. Once you are part of our family you are always encouraged to continue case management and stay connected. I also worry about funding. It is a great deal of weight on my shoulders as the executive director of a new non-profit. Funding is like a pot that a plant is restricted to. Unless you can increase the size of the pot, your plant cannot grow no matter how hard it tries.
What is the best part of your position with FPGC?
The most rewarding moment has been a repetitive one. Every time I have a family succeed in securing housing and I get to celebrate with them, it is a rewarding moment. Everyone deserves a place to call home. Everyone has value and everyone absolutely deserves to be treated with dignity. This is how we operate at Family Promise and it is why I am so grateful to be a small part of it.
Taking over after Cash left was an adventure LOL! I remember coming back home to my husband and saying “I’ve got a lot to learn Babe.” It has been 2.5 years and I haven’t stopped learning.
Our Diversion Case Manager, Rachel Brown
Rachel started her career with Family Promise of Greater Concord in January of 2019 but had previously interned with them during her college practicum, when they were first established. The positive changes and growth of the organization is something she is so glad to be a part of. She comes with an Associates in Human Services and 10 years of experience with multiple populations, giving her a well rounded approach to case management with her families. She has absolutely found her passion and home helping homeless families.
When she is not advocating in the community or supporting the Family Promise organization, you can find her cooking, traveling with her high school sweetheart and husband, hiking with her dog, and chasing after her two young sons: Landon and Ezra.
What do you like about your position with FPGC? “I love the interaction with the families and making connections with each of them. I also enjoy the networking that takes place daily with other organizations. There are a lot of great people in our community who are all working to meet a common goal to ease the pain of the homeless experience which is good to be part of.”
What makes a tough day? “I don’t know how to answer that. Maybe when it’s super busy and there are lots of fires to put out. It’s sometimes tough to identify which one to put out first.”
What makes a great day? “Watching someone get housed and the little victories that I get to be a part of along the way.”
Leah Frost, Current and Graduate Case Manager
“I came to Family Promise to share some of the gifts of passion for helping others, given to me throughout the years, by people who helped me when I was down on my luck. I grew up in an unstable environment so I am able to relate to families that may be going through a hard time. I studied community health education for my B.S. at SHNU over the last year to grow my knowledge in how to best help my community live healthier, stable lives. I have always been passionate about helping return people and families to stability, restore the ability to enjoy life, and not have a constant worry. I am a single mother of one beautiful Willow and study Shaolin Kempo karate here in Concord to help keep me focused. Looking forward to working with many families to help being about positive change!!“
What do you like about your position? “I love that I get to interact with families from all over our great state and help to put them back in a home they can spend time with each other in. Getting to help lift people up when they may be down is a huge blessing!”
What surprised you about your position? “I think for me it was just how many people work together, both organizations and individuals to keep the whole operation running. It really is amazing how people give their time to make sure others can have more time. Lucky to be a part of this organization.”
Our Admin. Asst./Marketing Specialist, Terri Caplette
Favorite Quote – “We are all more alike, than we are different” –Maya Angelou
“I received my B.S. from Rivier University in theology and legal studies. Finding the balance of professional work and family, my heart was always in being a mother and I spent many years devoted to raising my children and volunteering extensively in schools and libraries. In addition, throughout the years, I have worked as a legal assistant and paralegal in various areas of the law and at the Department of Corrections for many years in the enforcement of victim restitution. I enjoy reading, science, listening to music and, most of all, to play with the best dog in the world-my golden retriever, Bentley!
What is a tough day at the office?
“A tough day is many crisis phone calls; trying to juggle too much at times when asked; feeling there is too much to do and it’s not understood (and hard to measure).”
What is a great day? “A great day includes laughter; knowing you were able to help another; knowing you made a difference; a sense of bond and trust with co-workers; being able to finish things.”
What do you like most about your position?
“A sense of helping others; the people I work with; the flexibility when needed; bringing my fur baby in!”
A Message From the Director: 10/08/18