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Marilyn Cormack to Retire

Marilyn Cormack to Retire

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Published by BHcare
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Published by: BHcare on Jun 10, 2013
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10/31/2013

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Marilyn Cormack to Retire from BHcare
Marilyn Cormack, President, BHcare (formerly Birmingham Group Health Services), will retire on June28, 2013 after thirty years of service. Cormack joined the organization in 1983 and has fulfilled the roleof President since 1989.Cormack started her career with BHcare (Birmingham) as the Director of Rehabilitation. She had abackground in mental health and recovery from Goodwill Industries where she served as the Director of Human Services during the early 80s.When Marilyn joined the organization, the agency had less than 30 employees and was primarily anadministrative facility with many community partners that provided mental health services.Rehabilitation and recovery were just becoming known in the mental health field. Cormack was broughtin to help expand those programs. She was instrumental in the expansion of services to include a workcenter, social rehab, case management and other mental health services, making BHcare (Birmingham)the first agency in CT to incorporate these services. The need for helping clients get jobs and securehousing was at the forefront of the organization. The organization continued to expand its services andreach over the years.Cormack worked her way up the ladder becoming the Associate Director for Services in 1986, VicePresident of Services in 1988 and President in 1989.Cormack was an integral part of the committee that started the Greater Valley Substance Abuse ActionCouncil (VSAAC) and very instrumental in keeping domestic violence services in the Valley. She had adeep commitment to domestic violence services and in 2009 took the Domestic Violence Services of New Haven under its wings.
Cormack’s goal for the company
was to provide a more integrated systemof services available to the community. She also helped to develop CommuniCare. CommuniCare is aunique and dynamic behavioral healthcare partnership that was formed in 1996 by Birmingham Group
Health Services, Inc., Bridges…A Community Support Syst
em, Inc., and Harbor Health Services, Inc.(Birmingham and Harbor merged in 2011 to form BHcare).Cormack served on many boards including the Beth-El Center (current board president), ConnecticutCouncil of Community Mental Health Centers, Connecticut Community Providers Association, ValleySubstance Abuse Council, Valley Needs and Opportunities, Valley Council of Health and Human ServicesOrganization (first chair) and ACT Homeless Shelter. She was also a surveyor for Commission on theAccreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), a member of the Department of Mental HealthStatewide Program Standards Committee and a part of various other community service organizations.Over her career, Cormack received many honors and awards including
Stratford Jaycees’ “
Woman of theYear
in 1976
, CT Post “Woman of Substance” award
in 1993 and the Valley Chamber of Commerce
Gold Seals Award
in 1993.
 
According to Cormack, her greatest accomplishment has been watching the organization grow into adiverse agency serving the needs of so many in the community. She
s had to make difficult decisionsover the years, always thinking strategically about the future of the organization, and is proud where theorganization is today. She enjoys learning new things and is not afraid of change as long as the changemakes sense.
She was once called a “pr
agmatic
visionary” by
former board chair Irene Smith.She has a strong belief in communication and her personal philosophy is to always be as kind as you can.She likes to see people form partnerships because problems can be so complex that people need towork together to make a change.
Cormack’s
most important moments of her life are the births of her children and grandchildren. She has2 children and 3 grandchildren. When her children were born, she became a stay-at-home mom untilher youngest turned 10. At that time, she went back to school to earn a second degree, a master of science in counseling with a minor in political science from the University of Bridgeport to add to herbachelor of social work degree that she earned from Sacred Heart University.
She feels to be a successful leader you need to look at everyone’s skills and to
put their talents to use.
“No leader can do it alone,” she says. She
believes you need to praise staff and be appreciative of whateach person contributes to fulfilling the mission. It is important to build a team that is willing and able tomove forward and be a vital part of the community.She has a real passion for her work and especially the domestic violence program. She has always beenabhorred at any inhumanity to man and believes violence is not necessary. She feels everyone shouldhave a deep commitment to make a change in the violence that is a part of our society. With domestic
violence, “
poor, innocent kids are traumatized and many women
can’t
fight back
,” she states
. Shebelieves it is important to work hard to make a change.The most influential people in
Cormack’s
life were her parents. Her father always told her she could dowhatever she wanted. This was a time when few women held leadership roles and many occupationswere held by men only. His belief in her was a very instrumental aspect of her career letting her knowthat just because she was a girl, did
n’t mean that she couldn’t do anything she wanted. She pr
oved himright very early on by becoming the captain of the Boys Patrol and a drummer in the Fife and DrumCorp. As she reflects on the values her mother instilled in her s
he said, “she
was one of the kindestpersons
I’ve
ever known
.” Her mother taught her to always be kind to everyone.
 
Her mother’s
influence
and her father’s constant
encouragement are why she developed a great compassion for mankind andwas so committed to her work at BHcare.Cormack believes it
s important for women to pursue leadership roles. She believes women approachthe workplace differently than men and that together, men and women provide a good balance.Over the years, Cormack has worked with many talented people and has valued the management teamsthat have been a part of the organization.
She appreciates the staff’s dedication and commitment to the
mission. In the future, she would like to see people in the field get rewarded for what they do and thevalue they bring to the community.

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