Beth Dixon Retires after 25 Years of Service

(L-R) Deb Genthner, Frank Sgambati, Beth Dixon

Beth Dixon, the driving force of the NH Leadership Series for the past 25 years and part of its inaugural class, retired in June.

While at the IOD, Beth served as the coordinator for the NH Leadership Series – recruiting participants, arranging sessions, and building a strong alumni community that allowed work to continue after the series ended. For the past few years, she focused on fundraising and outreach and made sure that the Series continues to be a vital resource for individuals with disabilities and their families. Beth shared some memories of that first Series and its impact over the years:

In 1988 I attended the first Leadership Series at the brand new Institute on Disability at UNH – a Series modeled after Minnesota’s Partners in Policymaking. It was the first grant the IOD received and it was expected to be a one-time thing…

The last 25 years have been amazing. Nearly 900 of us have graduated from the Leadership Series and have gone on to change school systems, become school board members, and sit on dozens of local and state boards and councils throughout NH. Some have started advocacy organizations, support groups, and at least 10 have run for the legislature. Seven have held seats in the House and one in the Senate, and our own Governor Maggie Hassan is a Leadership grad. At least 10 pieces of legislation have been presented and voted into law in NH with the help and push from Leadership graduates.

Beth Dixon & Governor Hassan

Over the years, Beth Dixon has won many awards, including this year’s Brianna Dillon Leadership Medal. At her retirement party, the room was filled with words like “inspiration,”“values,” “strength,” “grace,” “courage,” and one more: “honor,” all notably in the Proclamation from Governor Maggie Hassan and the State of NH.

At the party, many staff and colleagues shared their favorite stories about Beth as well as her impact.

“Beth is a kind, caring, and committed person. I can imagine Beth serving tea to the most conservative legislator in a beautiful back yard garden setting and killing them with kindness. Figuratively or literally- as needed.” – Dr. Charles Drum, Director, Institute on Disability

“Beth Dixon is a hero for many families. She lives her values each and every day. She pushes the "envelope" not only for her family and especially her son, Andrew, but for so many others. She has been at the forefront of so many developments in NH. But even more, Beth is always there to talk to; discuss; think things out; strategize or just to have someone listen.” – Jeff Strully, Executive Director, Jay Nolan Community Services

Beth Dixon Citation

“Beth has stayed true to her values and gently guides other families along their own paths. The NH Family Leadership program is her legacy. She has made such an incredible impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families in New Hampshire. Thank you for being such a thoughtful, gentle, and persistent leader.” – Dr. Sue Fox, Associate Director, Institute on Disability

Before leaving, Beth shared some memories and hopes for the future:

The torch has been passed to you year after year at graduation from the Series and you have kept the flame of possibilities alive and well. Rest assured, I’ll enjoy watching your successes and will be available whenever needed. Don’t be surprised to see my name on letters and the Leadership list serve asking for support to keep the Series going. “Leadership” isn’t something that just stops on June 30th for any of us – there’s too much at stake.

Everyone at the Institute on Disability wishes Beth Dixon the best as she embarks on her next adventure. Her gentle strength will be missed by all!