Michelle McCabe Named to Lead Connecticut Main Street Center

Connecticut by the Numbers

Michelle McCabe has been named as Executive Director of Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC), a leading advocate and resource for downtown revitalization and management, providing technical information, regional cooperation, training and networking in communities across Connecticut and at the state level.

McCabe brings several years of non-profit management experience to CMSC, coming from HomeBridge Ventures, a non-profit focused on holistic workforce development and re-entry programming for formerly incarcerated individuals, where she has served as Interim Executive Director since last October.

Prior to that, McCabe spent seven years as Director of the FEED Center with The Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport. In the course of this work, she built multiple programs from the ground up, leading strategic planning and fundraising efforts, and guiding boards and staff through organizational change. Her experience also extends to successful public/private collaborations, community engagement, and policy advocacy.

McCabe is expected to lead CMSC through a time of growth, helming a recently doubled staff of six. Her experience in program development and strategic planning will be especially useful as CMSC continues to expand its educational and technical assistance programming, member assistance offerings, and looks to take a larger role in championing statewide policies that benefit Connecticut’s downtowns and Main Streets. She takes over from Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker, who has served as CMSC’s Interim CEO for the past year after Patrick McMahon’s departure in late July 2021.

As a resident of Fairfield (a CMSC Main Street community), McCabe has an appreciation for the many benefits a vibrant downtown offers, as well as CMSC’s role in building local capacity for successfully managing a downtown.

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“I love how a great downtown invites you in with a charming main street, restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. I can’t wait to begin working with CMSC’s staff and Board to replicate and grow this kind of magic, and to help people better understand the powerful economic and social impacts that happen as a result of well-managed downtowns, both for the community individually and the state collectively,” said McCabe. 

McCabe was selected after an extensive search led by CMSC’s Board of Directors.

“We’re very much looking forward to welcoming Michelle into the fold and working with her to bring our long-term goals to fruition,” said Ryan Bingham, CMSC’s incoming Chair and Senior Director of Government Affairs/Lobbyist at Sullivan & LeShane, Inc. “Our Board and staff were committed to finding the right person to lead CMSC and we’re confident we’ve done just that.”

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“The staff and Board have spent the last year putting together an excellent team of professionals to help our downtowns,” said Ms. Parsons-Whitaker, CMSC’s Interim CEO. “Finding Michelle was the last piece of the puzzle, and we’re enthusiastic about seeing all that we can accomplish with a full team and a clear direction.”

CMSC will be holding a series of regional events in the summer and early fall to introduce McCabe and the recently expanded CMSC staff, including three members who joined the staff between December and February. 

CMSC’s mission statement describes the organization as “the expert resource for developing and sustaining vibrant downtowns that fuel our state’s prosperity. Our mission is to assess, educate, convene, and advocate to develop and grow our traditional downtowns, village centers, and urban mixed-use neighborhoods. We provide education and training, resources and technical assistance, and function as the statewide champion for downtowns and Main Streets of all sizes.

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