Posted Apr 11, 2018 at 4:46 PM
The Barnstable Patriot
Want to read a true success story? This Marstons Mills woman can share hers. She’s just become the executive director of WE CAN — Women’s Empowerment through Cape Area Networking — thanks to one of the organization’s own programs.
Dianne Gauthier was born on-Cape but grew up in California. She was determined to raise her own family here, and she and her husband moved to the Mills nearly 20 years ago. Their daughter Emma graduated from Barnstable High School and is about to get her degree from the University of Rhode Island; son Drew attends BHS. Gauthier’s husband, Bob, is an electrician who commutes every day, by plane or boat, to his business on Nantucket. For several years, she served on the board of the Barnstable Community Horace Mann Charter Public School on Bearse’s Way.
Gauthier has a degree in business administration from Babson University and was running her own consulting business when she started a Brownie troop for her daughter at the West Barnstable Community Center.
The Girl Scout administration approached Gauthier, who has a lot of background in adult education, and asked if she would like a part-time job coordinating and recruiting volunteers. Quickly enough, the position expanded into full time, and Gauthier found herself going over the bridge to Plymouth daily.
She liked the work but not the commute, and when she learned that WE CAN offers support for women who want to make a life transition, she decided to participate in a mentoring program. WE CAN participants may interview five potential mentors, and Gauthier chose one who, like her, enjoys walking. During their ten-month commitment to each other, as they walked and talked, often near one of the bridges, her mentor suggested that Gauthier might apply for the executive directorship of WE CAN, coming open because of the impending retirement of Andi Genser.
The rest is history. Gauthier got the job, and now she and Genser are sharing an office – clearly labeled with signs that say “Incoming Executive Director” and “Outgoing Executive Director” – in WE CAN’s attractive and comfortable offices on Route 28 in Harwich Port.
“I don’t have to go over the bridge anymore,” Gauthier said.
So it’s no surprise that one WE CAN offering, the PathMakers Mentoring Program, is dear to her.
“Technically, I’m still in the program. We have a graduation ceremony in June,” Gauthier said with a smile.
She said that what she loves about WE CAN is the breadth of its programs, which offer financial, legal, and life-planning skills. Interpreters for those who speak Spanish and Portuguese are on the staff, and WE CAN will offer a “Know Your Rights” information session in those languages plus English on May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans. Attorney Collin Mickle of Community Action Committee of Cape Cod and the Islands will speak.
“When we help women, we help families, and that makes Cape Cod stronger,” Gauthier said as she gets into her job in the office that last year helped some 2,600 individuals, sometimes more than once. She also emphasized that men are also welcome to WE CAN programs and services.
“I’m incredibly grateful to be here, to help make Cape Cod a wonderful place to live,” Gauthier said. In Marstons Mills, she can live “off the beaten path, where you have to plan to go to the grocery store, and where kids can ride their bikes in the street, but where it’s still an easy commute.”
The PathMakers Mentoring Program will have several information sessions in May and early June. All WE CAN services are free and confidential. For more info, visit www.wecancenter.org or call 508-430-8111.