By Erin Murphy/ECHO  Paula Card, the true face of ECHO. (Photo:Jessie Forand/ECHO) “My last name is Card. An ace. Or a queen.” ...

Faces of ECHO: Paula Card

By Erin Murphy/ECHO 

Paula Card, the true face of ECHO. (Photo:Jessie Forand/ECHO)

“My last name is Card. An ace. Or a queen.”

It’s a fitting title for Paula Card, who is the Guest Service Coordinator; keeper of the front desk and gift shop, and self-proclaimed Queen of Memberships here at ECHO.

Card moved to Burlington from Nantucket Island 17 years ago to be with her daughter just before her first grandchild was born. “Now I’m about to have my fifth grandchild,” she said, slightly incredulously.

Card’s love for kids is evident in the way she talks about her own children and grandchildren, and in the way she interacts with every child that walks through the door. She doles out high fives and hand stamps with never-ending enthusiasm.

“I just love them. O-M-G!”

Before Card was manning the front desk at ECHO she tended bar, planned events, and waitressed for more than 35 years.

“When I came to Vermont, I just wanted a change. I could carry a tray with twelve dinners on it across a ballroom, but I didn’t want to do it anymore,” she said.

The desire for change sparked Card’s interest in joining Vermont Associates, an organization that trains people over the age of 50 in a variety of trades and then pairs them up with non-profits.

“I interviewed here through Vermont Associates, and after 10 minutes [Guest Services Director] Tina Lecours said to me, ‘I’ve been looking for you for six years,’” Card said.

And Lecours wasn’t the only one.

“Paula puts the personal touch on greeting every customer that steps through our door,” Linda Bowden said of Card.

Card maintained her usual modesty, with that ever-present glimmer in her eye. “I try to stay positive and make the best of every day. But you can tell I’m kind of a troublemaker,” she laughed.

Eventually, Card was hired from volunteer to part-time employee, before becoming full-time two years ago. It’s clear the appreciation that the ECHO staff has for Card goes both ways. “Everyone is amazing, it’s just a big happy family here,” she said.

Just as she has embraced her new family, Card has grown to love her new home.

“I don’t know if I can be considered a Vermonter, but people come in here from all over the world and talk about the friendliness of Vermont, and I’m proud of that,” she said. “I also just love the changing of the seasons and the beauty of it all.”

Paula Card, hard at work at ECHO's front desk. (Photo: Erin Murphy/ECHO)

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