The Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) announced last month that after 24 years as executive director of the center, Sister Lena Deevy LSA has decided to step down from her day-to-day responsibilities, and to take up the role of executive director emerita, effective April 1. Sister Lena will be succeeded by Ronnie Millar, who has served as deputy director for the past two years.
“We are deeply grateful to Sister Lena for her incalculable contributions to the IIIC and her deep commitment, care, and focus on the mission of helping people over the past 24 years,” said Mike Buckley, President of the IIIC board. “To continue building upon the success of Sister Lena in serving and advocating for immigrants, we are very fortunate to have in Ronnie Millar, as our new executive director, someone who has the experience, talent, and dedication to lead our organization in meeting the challenges of the future.”
This transition comes at an important time for the immigrant community as comprehensive immigration reform may finally happen after many years of stalled progress. In collaboration with other immigrant organizations, the IIIC says, it will be involved at every stage as elected representatives grapple with this issue. If legislation passes, a path to legal residence and US citizenship will open to many who have been living in the shadows.
In 1989, Sister Lena and a group of Irish immigrants founded the IIIC to meet the needs of a large Irish immigrant population in New England. Over the years, the organization has developed into a multi-service center serving immigrants from Ireland and from 120 other countries with legal, wellness, and education services, learning exchange programs, advocacy, and cross-cultural community building.
Over the course of the past year, Millar has been working closely with Sister Lena and the IIIC Board to ensure a smooth leadership transition and to position the organization for a successful future. “I am delighted to have Ronnie as my successor,” said Sister Lena, “and I will be available to help out whenever he calls on me.”