A few months into her job as its president, ICC’s Martina Curtin takes stock of things

Martina Curtin and her husband, Craig Carlson

The Irish Cultural Centre of New England has elected Irish-born Martina Curtin as its new board president. She took the helm in July as the first woman to lead the agency. 

She is the founder of CHC Home Care, Inc., a Boston home-care agency whose mission is to allow clients to remain in their homes while receiving skilled medical care. With the help of her husband, Craig Carlson, she has grown her business with a burgeoning group of caregivers that includes basic personal-care assistants, registered nurses, and end-of-life-care specialists. She spoke recently with the Boston Irish contributor Maureen Forry-Sorrell about her new role.

BI: First of all, congratulations on your new honor. This is really exciting to see you at the helm at the ICC.

MC: Thank you. I'm really honored and privileged to have been nominated as the first female president of the cultural centre in their 30 years of existence. I think it speaks to the ICC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

BI: Where do you hail from in Ireland?

MC: I grew up in the west of Ireland, in Co.  Clare, very close to the Cliffs of Moher and Doonan and Lisdoonvarna. I'm the oldest of 11 children and grew up on a working farm run by my parents, who are now deceased. My brother continues to run the entity. I was educated in Ireland before moving to the US almost 20 years ago and taking up work in private home care. In late 2009, I set up a private home care company called Curtin Home Care, which is located in the Back Bay at 20 Park Plaza.

BI: I can see your background in healthcare being beneficial to your new role at the ICC.

MC: Absolutely. I’m a very good listener and I think that’s an important quality no matter what organization you are involved with. And I do genuinely care about people and I think that will serve me well. My mantra is that it's important  to surround yourself with good people, and I’ve done that at Curtin Home Care. There are some outstanding people at the Cultural Centre, so I think that bodes well for me in my tenure as president.

BI: I understand Seamus Mulligan will be staying on as president emeritus.

MC:  Yes. Seamus is staying on in that role. He has dedicated and many, many years of service to the ICC and he has been a great mentor to me over the last couple of months. There's a lot of institutional knowledge that I have to apply, but slowly but surely, I'm learning as I go along. 

BI: Given that the pandemic will remain an issue for some time still, can you give us a glimpse of how things have been going to date?

MC: The Cultural Centre has really been impacted by Covid, as you know, because we are all about in-person events. We held a poetry night in conjunction with the Irish Consulate, and we had our golf tournament, which was our biggest one to date. In September, we had our virtual 5K, also our biggest race to date. One of the lifesavers for us was the tents. We were able to have outdoor dining, small concerts, and food that definitely kept us relevant and connected to the community.  We hope to have some indoor dining going forward, but that will be based on Covid regulations. The biggest thing for the rest of the year is our Annual Draw, scheduled for Dec. 12. This year we’re doing a 50/50 raffle and we’ve only printed 2,000 tickets.

I do want to acknowledge the support we’ve received from the Consulate; the relationship between the Consulate and the Cultural Centre has never been as strong as it is today. 

For more information about the Happenings at the ICC, see its ad in this edition of Boston Irish, or go to IrishCulture.org.