It’s a familiar face in a different place as Steve Schnabl takes over as executive director of Oxford Seniors.
He moves into the job after 15 years with Partners in Prime, the senior center in Hamilton, but as a local resident is already familiar with the Oxford facility.
Ticking off a number of regional senior centers which have closed in recent years, Schnabl said Oxford is in an ideal situation to have a thriving center and he hopes to contribute to that with ideas for more programming which will appeal to local seniors.
“Being located in a university community is an ideal retirement site. It makes it important for a senior center that makes the grade,” he said. “What I see here is a community that wants enriching activities for older adults and we can offer programs to foster mutual benefit. I am grateful to be part of that challenge.”
Schnabl will ease into the position as retiring Executive Director Joan Potter-Sommer will remain on the job with him until her official last day April 28.
Schnabl looks forward to the future of the Oxford Seniors organization, including working with current staff, having the Adult Day Care program, the Institute for Learning in Retirement and the work of the Oxford Village Network. That network looks at the future of Oxford as it plans for the growing number of retirees and providing services, housing and amenities for them.
He does not come into the new job with myriad ideas for changes and additions but intends to immerse himself in whatever historical documents he can find as well as those who know the history of the center and talking to board members individually to look at strategies.
“The center is landlocked but the potential is greater than the space available to us. The Village Network is about a center without walls. I’ve been on the listserv for the network,” he said. “Also, I have not managed an adult day service before. I’m grateful to have experienced staff there.”
He said he is pleased to have staff at the center who have been in their jobs for a long time and with low turnover. He said he had a similar situation at Partners in Prime and sees that as a positive because he prefers not interfering in employees doing their jobs.
“I strongly believe in hiring people to do their jobs and we deal with problems together but I do not tell people how to do their jobs. I hire a person for a job and let them do it,” he said. “I do not like to think of members as clients but neighbors who turn to us for exciting opportunities in their lives.”
Schnabl said he sees the role of Oxford Seniors to offer members various experiences in life and to not do that is sad because people can live in isolation.
“Something in that person is not as healthy as it could me. Isolation can lead to ill health,” he said. “I’m a live life to the fullest as long as possible type of person.”