Leaders Who Serve

Every month you will be introduced to a different Executive Director of an area non-profit.  You will learn why they chose to work for a non-profit, where they came from, and what their goals are for the future.

Lillian Embick — Executive Director, Audiences Unlimited, Inc.
After 38 years of valued service to the community, Lillian C. Embick has logged over 87,080 hours as Founder and volunteer Executive Director of Audiences Unlimited, a nonprofit dedicated to uplifting the lives of nursing home residents. During this time, she has arranged more than 52,000 programs reaching a total audience of over 2 million residents.

The Executive Director of Audiences Unlimited, Inc., a community based non-profit, has touched the lives of nursing home residents residing in Allen County and northeast Indiana in incredible ways.

Lillian Embick often refers to her creation of Audiences Unlimited as “giving back.” Her vision for the organization goes back to when she was placed in an orphanage as a young child. This was a lonely and fearful time for Lillian. The “bright spots” of those years were the occasional visits of entertainment groups to her orphanage. She recalls that outings, while infrequent, were a special thrill during this challenging time. Lillian was eventually reunited with her mother and, with her support, she learned to play the piano and participated in theater. This early experience nurtured Lillian’s love for the arts and became the driving force behind the creation of Audiences Unlimited.

With the support of her husband, Byron Embick, Lillian founded a very important community service; an organization that brings attention and joy to nursing home residents. Its journey began in 1972, when Lillian Embick started searching for an existing program with which she could become affiliated. She read about a program called “Hospital Audiences, Inc” led by Michael Jon Spencer in New York City. He not only provided entertainment for residents at nursing homes, but also took residents to events outside the facilities. Lillian contacted Mr. Spencer and, with his help, started a Fort Wayne chapter of Hospital Audiences. This affiliation continued until 1978 when the board of directors voted to become autonomous and “Audiences Unlimited” was born.

This initial meeting led to a partnership with five local nursing homes. Today, with a national charge to improve the quality of life for nursing home residents, AUI partners with 95% of the long-term care facilities in Allen County. Many facilities in DeKalb, Noble, LaGrange, and Steuben Counties participate as well. Long-term care residents benefit from a well-rounded program that allows them the opportunity to enjoy professional talents such as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, dance groups, musicals, plays, concerts, and a host of cultural activities that take place throughout the greater community.

For more information on Audiences Unlimited, Inc., visit www.AudiencesUnlimited.org

Madeleine Baker — Executive Director, Early Childhood Alliance
Madeleine Baker became the Executive Director at Early Childhood Alliance in January, 2002, bringing nearly 20 years of experience to the position. With solid management skills, Madeleine has advanced the mission of building better futures for young children through the many quality services EAC provides for children, families, and childcare providers. Because of Madeleine, the Board is more representative of the diversity in our community, a volunteer program was created to supplement the work of staff, a planned giving committee was created, and the organization moved into the 21st Century using technology to improve inter-agency communications, streamline reporting, strengthen financial management, and improve efficiencies. Madeleine also spearheaded the creation of two unique events—the annual themed tea party and a block-building competition called Plank-APalooza— which have raised awareness of ECA and are providing new financial support for the organization’s programs.

For more information on Early Childhood Alliance, visit www.ECAlliance.org.