SALEM — Christine Sullivan, director of the Enterprise Center at Salem State for 12 years, has announced she will retire in May. The center, an incubator and resource for small-business development, was founded in 1996. They now have 6,000 registrations per year for seminars, workshops and panel discussions on a range of business topics. Sullivan ran her own small business for 16 years, Hawthorne Associates, where she handled marketing and advertising for her clients. She chatted yesterday with The Salem News about her years at the Enterprise Center and her plans for retirement.
What first attracted you about running the Enterprise Center?
The truth was I got bored with my own business. I only read one job ad in all that time and that was for the Enterprise Center, and that was the one job I wanted to do. I didn’t have a resume. I wrote a resume up and made it one page.
As you look back, what are some things that you’re really proud of, that stand out?
One of the things I am very proud of at the Enterprise Center is the scope of our reach. We are not Salem-centric and draw people from all over the North Shore, as well as Boston and many of the suburbs west and south of Boston.
The Enterprise Center has grown to be a major resource for businesses of the region, and I was delighted I was able to help it become that. I’ve had a great board and great team working here, and the university has been wonderful. That’s all really true; I’ve been lucky.
What impact can you point to that your programs have had?
We run seven different CEO groups. These are people who come together monthly and talk about what’s going on in their companies. There’s enormous growth in their ability to run a business. I see the growth, and I love it, because being a business owner is lonely, and you need to be able to talk to somebody. Most spouses aren’t really interested.