A critical but often neglected need in all organizations is an orderly, planned succession – determining who replaces whom – and when. As of last Friday, July 1, Jake Bombard now serves as the Executive Director of South Boston’s Laboure Center. His highly regarded predecessor, Sr. Maryadele Robinson, will continue performing outreach duties at Laboure. Best of all, this orderly succession assures that Laboure will continue to benefit from the talents of both individuals.
by Rick Winterson
It is a pleasure for South Boston Online to write about the recent change in leadership at South Boston’s Laboure Center on the southwest corner of D Street and Broadway. Jacob (”Jake”) Bombard, himself from South Boston, assumed the position as the Laboure Center’s Executive Director, effective last Friday, July 1. Jake has now officially replaced Sr. Maryadele Robinson, the much-beloved head of Laboure for the last 28 years. An orderly succession at Laboure is now assured. Many congratulations, Jake.
And there’s more good news. Sr. Maryadele will remain active with Laboure indefinitely; her role will be as an Outreach Social Worker. In her own words, she says, “I’m going to establish a program modeled on what Jack Leary once did – reaching out to family members – wives, husbands, children, grandparents – who are dealing with addiction among their loved ones.” As for the transition from her to Jake, she is emphatic that Jake is now directing Laboure. She views her efforts and her role as “teamwork”, aimed at making Laboure’s future as successful as possible.
As many of you know, Jake Bombard had been working in public office – first, for Rep. Nick Collins and then for Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry. Jake himself ran for State Representative six years ago, just after getting out of college, which is when Sr. Maryadele met him. His schooling includes St. Augustine, the Collegiate Charter School and a B.A. from William and Mary in Virginia.
When the posting seeking Sr. Maryadele’s replacement went up in July, 2015, nearly 100 applied for the job. In fact, Jake contacted her after many of the applicants had been eliminated, to see if the position was still open. She had been impressed with Jake’s command of what he had so far accomplished. However, she wanted to be sure that Jake was not only a good person, but also could grow into the many responsibilities, and that he possessed strong leadership qualities. The interviewing process took several months; during that time, Jake convinced the Laboure staff and the people at Catholic Charities that he was qualified
His candidacy was approved by everyone; Jake began the job of Executive Director in February of this year. Now, at the age of 29 – he was one of the youngest to apply – Jake has fully taken over. As you can see, this was a year-long process, which is one important reason that succession planning is so essential. It takes time to get it right. There’s little or no room for mistakes.
Jake has gotten off to a fast start. His leadership has gained the support of everyone at Laboure. He visibly enjoys working 100% in human service. He’ll start locally by establishing Laboure as a key resource for the West Broadway Development, where he was raised. In fact, his home was in the building on the exact lot where the Laboure Center now stands. He’ll complete his Master’s Degree in Public Administration at UMass Boston this year as well. And most important, he has gained the confidence of everyone at Laboure and in the Catholic Charities’ head office. As for growth, one example is for Jake to lead Laboure into playing a role in the proposed initiative on Boston’s homelessness problem – he is working with the Mayor’s Commission on this issue.
Jake, Sr. Maryadele, and the entire Laboure/Catholic Charities staff are to be congratulated on how well they have handled the Laboure succession. Every key organization in America could “go to school” on what Laboure has done.