Michele Geremia had never run a recreation program before coming to Barrington last month.
Ms. Geremia, however, wasn’t hired as a recreation director. She is the town’s first-ever leisure services director and in a recent interview Ms. Geremia said she believes her background is going to help with an expansion of what has previously been offered to residents and businesses around town.
Ms. Geremia holds a Master’s in labor relations from the University of Rhode Island. Before taking the leisure services gig, she worked in human resources for a number of companies in and around Rhode Island including Coca Cola, Sturdy Memorial Hospital, MetLife, Dexter Credit Union and, most recently, Chemart in Lincoln.
Barrington Town Manager Peter DeAngelis said the decision to move from a recreation director to a leisure services director is aimed at expanding opportunities for residents in areas such as arts and culture while heightening involvement of the business community.
Ms. Geremia said she knows what it’s like to be a small business owner. She and her husband own and operate a mediation business, Mouth Peace Mediation LLC, an East Bay Chamber of Commerce member. Ms. Geremia also said that while she hasn’t previously led a recreation program, her experience in human resources has given her plenty of experience with organizing events and committees.
“I think I bring a different perspective to the table,” she said.
At Sturdy Memorial Hospital, for example, Ms. Geremia said she led an employee recognition committee. At Chemart, she organized football parties complete with makeshift field-goal posts in the company warehouse.
A Bristol resident and lifelong Rhode Islander, Ms. Geremia said she spends a lot of time in Barrington and learned of the job opening through the newspaper. She said she planned to begin meeting with the business community to learn what ideas they have, although this doesn’t mean the recreation program will be neglected.
Ms. Geremia said sports and recreation are “very important” and part of a successful foundation in Barrington.
“My first priority in this job is to make sure the successful programs Barrington has continue,” Ms. Geremia said. “I think Barrington is a very dynamic and educated community and I think that a lot of people are interested in arts and culture as well as sports.”
Ms. Geremia said one of her first goals on the job was to spend time in the community listening to what people see as local needs and opportunities.
“The job has been wonderful so far,” Ms. Geremia said.
“I think they have a wonderful, vibrant community here and I’m really excited about being a part of it, working with the people of Barrington and the businesses.”