Eileen Longstreet, executive director for Senior Services of Alexandria (SSA), has announced her retirement effective June 29.
Longstreet came to SSA in 2004 following a 35-year career in the health insurance and management care industries. "A friend of mine had heard about the opening at SSA and offered to provide the search committee with my resume. I had been looking for the right place to contribute give back to the community but was having no luck," Longstreet said.
"Most non-profits simply didn't want to hire someone with a business background. I think many of them have the misguided idea that successful business people can't be mission driven. Those of us who give up bigger salaries in the business world clearly are interested in satisfying work more than money," she said.
During her tenure at SSA, Longstreet implemented many changes to improve operational performance, increased grant revenues, relocated SSA offices to accommodate the organization's growing number of services, built staff and served as the voice of SSA before City Council for financial support to aid the increasing needs of Alexandria's growing senior population. Some of those have included providing 306 employment counseling/job referrals and 752 hours of money management to 52 seniors in need of daily living financial assistance.
Two of her major endeavors have been the expansion of SSA's "Meals on Wheels" and "Senior Taxi" programs. Over the last year, SSA arranged 73,000 one-way trips to transport seniors and disabled to medical appointments and grocery stores as well as delivered 45,757 meals to homebound seniors.
"I've learned more about the taxi cab industry than I ever would have imagined I could find interesting," Longstreet said. "I also made some new friends such as City Council members, Office of Aging and Adult Services staff, the City's transit services staff, Alexandria Yellow Cab drivers and employees, and leaders of many other non-profit agencies. I will truly miss talking and working with them."
She will probably have the opportunity to continue some of those contacts since Longstreet indicated she hopes to be involved with volunteer work, "which will include SSA," she said. "I also plan to spend more time with my children and six grandchildren, trying new cooking recipes with my husband, who also likes to cook, and spending more time on my bike."
"Eileen not only helped us move into our new headquarters but also brought a high level of professionalism to Senior Services that has
helped us grow and provide more services. We are sorry to see her go and will miss her," said Susan Winn, president, SSA.