For Sherry Favre Salvatore, third time’s a charm on retirement. Her first retirement was from Southwestern Illinois College in 2016 after 18 years of service. She was then hired by the City of Belleville as the temporary director of Human Resources and Community Development, a stint that was only supposed to last for six months.
“I decided to stay longer than I expected because seeing Mayor (Mark) Eckert’s pride in Belleville and being part of that vision and the team that brought it to life was very rewarding for me,” said Salvatore.
While with the city of Belleville, Salvatore had responsibilities pertaining to both human resources and community development. In fact, she led the opening of the General and Community Assistance Office, after those responsibilities were transitioned from the now dissolved township to the city.
“Opening the office was an incredible challenge,” she said. “I’m so happy to see it is thriving and helping individuals who are in extreme need throughout our community. Also, having the opportunity to mentor staff members Christine [Green] and Aimee [Pargin] brought great joy because those women do remarkable work. It was an exciting and humbling experience that taught me so much about compassion and the human spirit.”
Salvatore (shown) received a 2019 Citizen of Character award for her work with the General and Community Assistance Office. During that time, she also was involved with the Community Development Network (CDN), a cross-section of community members who work together to address the community’s greatest needs.
“The CDN members showed me the kind of community Belleville really is,” said Salvatore. “When you give people the opportunity for service, people in Belleville step up. Through the CDN, we were able to combine our efforts, share viewpoints and resources, and get a lot done. Belleville is blessed with people who care deeply about this city.”
In addition to opening the Community and General Assistance Office, Salvatore provided human resource support that included initiating numerous projects to strengthen the workforce and create a new employee orientation. She also developed and conducted trainings and workshops and had the opportunity to hire employees that she describes as “incredibly talented people.”
While with the city, Salvatore completed Leadership Belleville through the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce and believes the program inspired her personally and professionally.
“It was a privilege and honor to work for the community that holds a lifetime of happy memories for me,” said Salvatore.
While she didn’t intend to stay for more than six months, Salvatore said the three and a half years she had with the city was a good way to close her career. In the coming years, she intends to spend time with loved ones, especially her grandchild, and continue to garden and enjoy the outdoors. She is a published children’s author of “Wherever Love Is” and plans to continue to write and take on creative projects. She also established Salvatore Training, LLC, and hopes to provide training and workshops in the community.
“I plan to focus on the simple things that make me most happy in life,” she said. “For me, that is family and creativity, and I look forward to enjoying the flexible schedule that comes with retirement.”