By Bethany Bray
---- — SALEM — A new executive director has been named at Healing Abuse Working for Change, the Salem-based domestic violence nonprofit known as HAWC.
Anthony DiPietro, a 33-year-old Providence, R.I., native, will be the agency’s first male leader.
DiPietro has worked with nonprofits since graduating from Brown University in 2004, most recently as chief operating officer at West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation in Providence.
Candace Waldron, HAWC’s executive director for more than 12 years, stepped down this spring. Paula Herrington has been interim director and will remain on the job for several weeks, to help with transition, once DiPietro starts work Oct. 21, said Stephen Feron, president of HAWC’s board of directors.
HAWC hired a third-party agency to handle the search for a new director, which gathered input from HAWC employees and area residents in town hall-style meetings, Feron said.
DiPietro from was chosen from 50 applicants, he said. His salary will be $91,000 annually.
“(DiPietro has) the ability to listen and ask the right questions to get at the heart of the matter, the ability to pull a lot of things together,” said Feron, a Hamilton resident. “He has a passion for ending the cycle of violence and getting down to the root causes of that.”
“His demeanor, the way he carries himself, his poise, his intellect, his empathy ... that will be really key for HAWC,” he said.
HAWC serves 23 communities on the North Shore, including those across Cape Ann and offers an emergency shelter, 24-hour hotline, advocacy, support groups and other programs to prevent domestic abuse and help its victims.
The agency has offices in Salem, Lynn, Gloucester and a domestic violence unit in Beverly. The appointment comes as HAWC is partnering with two other human services agencies and the city of Gloucester to announce a new initiative aimed at fighting domestic violence today at Gloucester City Hall.
Prior to his work at the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, DiPietro was chief operating officer at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence in Providence. He oversaw the institute’s work on urban youth and gang violence.
DiPietro said the HAWC job attracted his interest because he missed working in a social services setting — “a mission that is closer to my heart.”
“I’m really excited to get to know the community in a really deep way,” DiPietro said.
HAWC recognizes that violence “is not a one-dimensional problem,” he said — it affects all classes, all cultures and more than just its victims. “I was really looking for an agency (to work for) that has a touch in the community and an impact in people’s lives.”
After a year of transition, DiPietro said he’ll work to bring stability to HAWC and then plan for the long-term, from fundraising to forming stronger partnerships in the community.
DiPietro has already met with HAWC staff and plans to move from Providence to the North Shore soon.
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.