Longtime Boys & Girls Club Director to Step Down | Off Message

Longtime Boys & Girls Club Director to Step Down


Mary Alice McKenzie - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Mary Alice McKenzie
Updated at 1 p.m.

Mary Alice McKenzie will step down after 10 years at the helm of the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington.

The club’s director of development and communications, Tanya Benosky, will succeed McKenzie, according to a news release issued Wednesday. Benosky started with the organization in 2008 as finance director. The formal transition will take place on August 18.

“Tanya is the right person at the right time to take over leadership of the Club, allowing a seamless transition for the kids we serve and the community at large,” said Brian Waxler, who chairs the club’s board. Waxler also praised McKenzie’s work “changing so many lives in this community.”

The Boys & Girls Club currently operates out of three locations in Burlington’s Old North End, and serves 250 children daily. The club provides food, tutoring, mentoring and athletics.
Benosky, an accountant, previously ran her own consulting business before joining the Boys & Girls Club nine years ago. She has also worked with McSoley McCoy & Co. as a tax manager and for Harvard University as a budget officer.

The Shelburne woman said her work in fundraising and development would serve her well. “We’re committed to having the resources to help these kids,” she said. “This kind of work is not going to get easier in the coming years.”

As director, Benosky said she would focus her efforts on education and protecting at-risk kids through individualized intervention.

According to McKenzie, Benosky’s experience will allow for a smooth transition and ongoing club growth. “Tanya is so well qualified on all aspects of running the club, from extensive experience in fundraising, to deep knowledge of operations, to already possessing the respect of staff,” she said.

McKenzie, who is trained as a lawyer, previously served as vice president and general counsel for Vermont State Colleges and as president of McKenzie of Vermont. She also served on the boards of Vermont Yankee, Vermont Federal Bank, Vermont Electric Cooperative and as a director of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation.

In 2014, McKenzie was earned Champlain College’s annual “distinguished citizen” award.

McKenzie pointed to creation of the Early Promise program as the greatest success of her tenure. A decade ago, not one club member had attended college, she said; now, with the tutoring and scholarships that the intervention program provides, nearly 25 students have completed or are attending some form of higher education.

She’s stepping down before she overstays her welcome. “I’ve seen too many people who stay too long … and that’s when mistakes are made,” she said.

McKenzie has “no idea” what her future career plans hold.

“I wanted to get the club strong, and then I wanted to leave it to someone who was equally, if not more strong, than I am,” she said. “The organization deserves to be treated with as much love and care as possible.”