The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park recently hired a new executive director. Pam Lyons will officially start on July 25, after the foundation co-hosts the 17th Biennial Conference of the Hemingway Society next week. This year marks the first time Oak Park will be a hosting site for the society, which comprises Hemingway scholars and experts who travel the world exploring his writing and his life.
Lyons replaces Allison Sansone, the foundation’s executive director for nine years, who was hired on as program director for the American Writers Museum in downtown Chicago.
“Allison’s brought us a lot of visibility, not just in the Chicago area but beyond,” said John Berry, the foundation’s board chairman. “She’s very good at programming, which I suspect is one of the reasons the American Writers Museum selected her.”
Berry said Sansone was influential in helping Oak Park land the biennial conference and increased the number of volunteers serving as docents at the Hemingway museum and birthplace home.
“Allison’s very creative, very thoughtful and very focused,” Berry said, adding that the executive director position is a part-time position.
Lyons, a resident of River Forest, served as a volunteer for a few years before she was brought on by Sansone as a marketing and merchandising coordinator with the foundation. She has a background in corporate communications and marketing.
“I’ve got really big shoes to fill,” she said. “I think my communications skills will further the mission of the Hemingway Foundation.”
Lyons said an assessment of the foundation’s volunteer program will be among her first priorities once she’s formally installed in the position.
“The board was very impressed with Pam’s professionalism and articulateness,” said Berry.
According to its website, “Until 1993, the foundation was strictly a volunteer-run organization. That year, the first executive director was hired to increase financial support for the foundation’s operations and to create and administer programs that promote public understanding of the organization.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Allison Sansone was hired on as executive director of the American Writers Museum, instead of program director. This article has since been updated. Wednesday Journal regrets this error.