As the new executive director of Forty Carrots Family Center, Michelle Kapreilian began her first day on the job, June 3, amid a heavy downpour. But, sitting behind the desk in her new office, as rain continues to clatter on the roof, she explains that she sees the inclement weather as a positive way to start her new role.
“I take it as a good sign,” she says. “It means the roots are being watered, and new growth can begin.”
Kapreilian is halfway through her first day at the helm of the non-profit organization, whose mission is to nurture the relationships between developing children and their families. Already today, she has met with families, welcomed new children to summer camp and greeted the many familiar faces at the family center’s Tuttle Avenue location.
For the last 12 years, she’s had hands-on experience in nearly every aspect of Forty Carrots. In 2001, the Boston native moved to Sarasota with her husband, Eddie, and newborn daughter, Ani. She discovered Forty Carrots as a parent and began utilizing its preschool services for her daughter. She quickly fell in love with the facility and its mission, and she began volunteering almost immediately. Eventually, she went on to serve as a trustee, board secretary and chairwoman of the governance committee.
When the search for a new permanent executive director began in March, a fellow board member suggested Kapreilian consider applying.
“That really planted the seed in my mind,” she says. “The organization needed someone with a knowledge of what we do here. It also needed somebody with a financial background, who could manage everything that’s going on here under one roof.”
As the co-owner and CEO of two local businesses, DeWitt Motors and Practical Car Rental, Kapreilian says her skills seemed to be the perfect fit for the job.
“The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like the right thing for me, personally, as well as for the organization,” she says.
As she transitions into her new role, Kapreilian says the support of the board members and staff members with whom she’s worked for years has been encouraging, and she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to further the organization’s mission.
“I’m amazed at how lucky I am,” she says. “This place has become my passion over the last 12 years, and I’m excited to be able to make it the focus of my everyday life.”