NAUGATUCK — Growing up in Beacon Falls, Mark LaFortune spent his fair share of time at the Naugatuck YMCA. In a little more than a week’s time, LaFortune will come full circle when he takes the reins at the Naugatuck YMCA as the organization’s new chief executive officer.
“I actually grew up going to the Naugatuck Y; it’s kind of my home,” said LaFortune, who is the executive director at the Glastonbury Family YMCA. “I’m a Valley guy at heart.”
LaFortune, 32, starts as the Naugatuck YMCA CEO on Oct. 28, the YMCA Board of Directors announced in a news release. LaFortune succeeds former CEO Susan Talbot, who stepped down in June.
“During our search for a new CEO, we looked at candidates throughout the country but Mark stood out among the rest,” said Bob Dickson, chair of the board of directors, in the news release. “His energy and vision for the Naugatuck YMCA is exactly what we were looking for in a leader. With Mark’s experience in operations and community outreach, his passion toward education, healthy living and social responsibility, we know that the Naugatuck YMCA will have fantastic leadership for years to come.”
LaFortune, who lives in Prospect, graduated from Woodland Regional High School in 2005 as part of the first class to attend the high school all four years. After high school, LaFortune earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science with a concentration in human performance from Southern Connecticut State University.
The YMCA has been big part of LaFortune’s life. LaFortune worked part time at the Valley YMCA in Ansonia during his last two years of high school and throughout college. After college, he worked full time at the Valley YMCA for about seven and half years, working his way up from aquatics director, to program director to operations director. He became executive director at the Glastonbury Family YMCA about eight months ago.
LaFortune wants to continue to build on innovations implemented to address social needs at the Naugatuck YMCA, which he said has such a meaningful impact on people in Naugatuck and Beacon Falls.
“I want to make it the premier organization in the area,” he said.
The opportunity for a homecoming was also too much to pass up for LaFortune.
“I look forward to meeting everyone and anyone in town that I don’t already know, and I’m excited to get started,” he said.