New Dutchess Outreach executive director named

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Dutchess Outreach in Poughkeepsie. File photo

POUGHKEEPSIE – The board of directors of Dutchess Outreach met virtually on Thursday to name their new executive director.  Dr. Renee Fillette has been tapped to succeed Brian Riddell who is retiring after a 31-year-career with the organization.

Dr. Renee Fillette, an Ulster County resident, has been chosen after 52 applications were received and filtered by Carol Gordon Consulting, the firm hired by Dutchess Outreach to search for Riddell’s replacement.  

Board President Ann St. Germain said that the search committee interviewed eight of the 52 in the first round and advanced two of those candidates to the final round where Fillette was chosen.

Fillette is familiar with the inner-workings of non-profits and brings years of experience to the agency. She previously served as executive director of Grace Smith House before becoming chief operating officer at Astor Services for Children and Families. 

 Before being voted on by the board, St. Germain called Fillette “A very strong person,” adding that the candidate has “A great penchant for her work and a desire to lead Dutchess Outreach into the future.”

After being appointed, Fillette told Mid-Hudson News, “My hope is to advance the legacy Brian Riddell has fostered and to be a voice of empowerment for the poor, the marginalized, and those in need of a hand up. Dutchess Outreach will continue to do its impactful work in the community with a fearless mindset unafraid of confronting our most difficult challenges during even the most uncertain of times. With understanding, strength, and compassion we will feed, clothe, and support people’s health and well-being.”  

Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison congratulated the organization on their choice, saying  “Dr. Renee Fillette will be a great executive director for Dutchess Outreach. She and I worked together when I was in the county legislature and she led the Grace Smith House.  Her passion and dedication to the community make her the perfect fit for her new role.”

Fillette plans to work with Riddell on a part-time basis between now and January 4, 2021, in order to make the transition a smooth one.