NAUGATUCK — Kathleen A. McPadden has been working in banking since she was in high school in 1980, starting her career at Naugatuck Savings and Loan.
In January, McPadden, senior vice president and community relations officer for Ion Bank and executive director of the Ion Bank Foundation, will be honored for all her achievements along the way.
The Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce will bestow its 2018 Lewis A. Dibble Award on McPadden. The award is named after the man who founded the Naugatuck Chamber in 1921. The chamber gives the award in recognition of an individual’s outstanding contributions to business and the socioeconomic well-being of Naugatuck.
McPadden will receive the award during the chamber’s 97th annual meeting Jan. 9 at the Crystal Room in Naugatuck. The meeting will begin with cocktails at 5:30 p.m., followed by the awards program and dinner at 6:30 p.m.
McPadden said she has been asked many times: “‘Why do you volunteer so much?’ And the answer is easy: the benefits of volunteering are enormous. The most valuable skills you can bring to any volunteer effort are an open mind, a positive attitude, compassion and a willingness to do. For me, volunteering is one of the most important chapters in my life.”
She began volunteering in 1987 when she took on the roles of special events coordinator and loaned executive for the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, an organization for which she has volunteered for more than 30 years. It awarded her its Mary H. Connolly Community Caring Award in 2010.
The United Way is only one of numerous organizations that have benefited from her time.
“I don’t say no,” she said. “I love volunteering. It’s a passion of mine.”
Her volunteer work is vast and includes being appointed to the Board of Wellmore Behavioral Health and serving as its chair in 2011. She is also vice president of Are You Dense?, an organization with which she has been associated since 2012. It aims to educate the public about the risks and screening challenges of dense breast tissue and its relation to breast cancer.
McPadden is also the immediate past board chair of Jane Doe No More, an organization that assists victims of sexual assault. In addition, she is a member of the Rotary Club of Naugatuck, which named her a Paul Harris Fellow — a high honor — in 2014. She is treasurer of The Salvation Army Central Naugatuck Valley Service Unit and has participated in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Greater Waterbury for 24 years, serving as event co-chair for the 2004 and 2005 relays and participating on the Hope Gala Committee in 2007.
McPadden was on the Naugatuck YMCA’s board of directors from 2010 to 2015 and co-chaired the YMCA’s auction from 2012 to 2017, as well as serving as the 2018 Capital Campaign chair. She is the 2018 recipient of the Fredrick D. Zonino Memorial Volunteer Award and is also on the Naugatuck Chamber/Naugatuck YMCA Golf Committee.
Ion Bank President David Rotatori said everyone in the nonprofit world knows McPadden.
“Obviously, we are very proud of her. She’s so connected to the community, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “We’re happy for her and proud of her. She goes above and beyond. She’s looked at as a leader.”
Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce Director Courtney Ligi said when the chamber started its annual Duck Race in 2006, McPadden was involved, helping promote the event and sell tickets.
“She was just always committed 150 percent to whatever she was doing,” Ligi said.
“If you’re in a room with her and someone says ‘We need this, this and this,’ she will always be the one who offers to help,” Ligi added.
A lifelong Naugatuck resident, McPadden holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Central Connecticut State University and a master’s in organizational behavior from the University of Hartford. She also is a graduate of America’s Community Bankers’ National School of Banking.
For information or to register for the annual meeting, call the chamber at 203-729-4511.