Gilda E. Nardone | Executive Director of New Ventures Maine

When Gilda Nardone was 17 years old, her life drastically changed. Her father died from a heart attack, and her mother, who had been a homemaker for the previous 20 years, was soon forced to return to the working world. This wasn’t the first time Nardone’s family had experienced this type of loss. Her grandmother was also widowed and had to re-enter the workforce after years of nurturing a home and family. “The experience of both my mother and maternal grandmother becoming widows at a young age and needing to chart the rest of their lives was certainly an influence on me,” says Nardone. In 1978 Nardone cofounded the Maine Displaced Homemakers Program, which assisted homemakers who were joining the workforce following divorce or the death or injury of a spouse. The organization helped women with job placement, offering employment counseling, training, and free information and referrals to help women find work. In the 2000s the program expanded beyond its original scope to increase professional opportunities for all people. Today, the program operates as New Ventures Maine (NVME) and aids 1,350 adults each year. Its mission is to help Mainers succeed in a changing economy and achieve economic security for themselves and their families. Nardone, who has been the executive director since NVME’s beginning, says, “I am committed to developing and providing access to quality education and training, good-paying jobs with benefits, support for small business development, and financial resources to help individuals and families become financially stable and secure throughout the state.”

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