The outgoing chief executive officer at the downtown organization received a warm sendoff Tuesday with a reception at .
Penny Parsekian served as the executive director of New London Main Street from 2000 to 2006, when she became CEO. She resigned effective Aug. 3.
Speakers at the event praised Parsekian as a hardworking individual who helped bring creative ideas on downtown revitalization to the city. Alice Fitzpatrick, director of the , said Parsekian was successful in bringing different organizations and businesses together to promote New London.
“Penny was the force that brought these people together for the common good, but she always seemed to have the most fun of all,” said Fitzpatrick.
Lloyd Beachy—a former mayor, city councilor, and New London Main Street board member—said Parsekian stepped up to help the city prepare for the OpSail 2000 visit.
“There’s something that Penny does that just gets you out,” he said.
Charlotte Hennegan, who owns several downtown businesses, said her mother imparted several quotations on how to live a successful life. One was, “If you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all.”
“You have done so many things right for all of us to enjoy,” Hennegan told Parsekian.
Don Gibson, an ex-president of New London Main Street and current board member, said Parsekian provided a vision and enthusiasm for the organization. He said she also attended numerous national Main Street organization meetings to come up with ideas such as the .
“Penny’s motivation and work ethic is phenomenal,” said Gibson. “You wouldn’t believe the hours she puts in.”
Parsekian said the success of the organization is the result of all people who have contributed to it, not just her leadership.
“Every once in awhile a person finds a job that really, really engages them,” she said. “And I’m one of those people who found that job here at New London Main Street.”
Parsekian said she also took an environmental approach to the job, encouraging attendees to patronize downtown businesses to help bolster the downtown economy.
“If we don’t make our downtowns functional again, and our historic commercial centers work for us as community centers and as commercial centers, what will happen is sprawl development,” she said. “It’s happened in so many places. Connecticut has so much to save.”