Olan Mack is Westcott Community Center’s new director

The 44-year-old used to run a community center in Ithaca

Olan Mack is the new director of the Westcott Community Center.

Olan Mack is the new director of the Westcott Community Center. Photo by Neil Benjamin Jr..

— Though Steve Susman has retired as executive director of the Westcott Community Center, the place has a new person in charge.

And Susman believes he’s the perfect person for the job.

Olan Mack, a 44-year-old born in the Bronx and raised in Manhattan, has taken Susman’s place at the head. He has quite the resume in the realm of community service, as his most recent position was of the same name at the Southside Community Center in Ithaca, a spot he held for just less than seven years.

He’s basically dedicated his life to serving his community.

“I’m big into helping those who may be less fortunate,” Mack said. “I believe in the saying, ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’ I’m blessed.

“We’ve all stumbled and made mistakes before.”

Southside was a place, Mack said, that used to be traditionally an African American center, but that has changed over the years. It now serves the entire community with a food pantry, a variety of senior programs, an after-school program and a hot food program.

During the interview process, Susman spent a few hours with Mack, and he knew right away that Mack was the person to replace him.

“I felt like I was talking to myself,” Susman said. “We think alike, and I think that’s going to help the Westcott going forward.”

Mack echoed that sentiment.

“Me and Steve are kindred spirits,” he said. “We see a lot of things the same way and we’re both committed to serving the community. The work environment needs to be an extension of the home environment – we need to be uplifting and supportive on so many levels.”

Since the start of May, Mack has been splitting his time between Southside and the Westcott, but will become full-time in a few weeks. He’s been meeting with Susman and other heads of the Westcott regularly in hopes of being settled soon.

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