It is with mixed emotions that I announce the retirement of our longtime employee Winifred E. Cyrus, Director of Member Services, effective July 31, 2020. Although we all wish her the best as she begins a new life chapter, we will, nonetheless, miss her terribly. I know many of you have a long association with Winnie from your equally long membership in the Royal Oak Foundation.
Winnie first came to Royal Oak in July 1986 and has had 34 continuous years with us. When she joined, the organization was working out of a cramped space on the third floor of a narrow brownstone on East 72nd Street. There were 2 full-time and 2 part-time employees. Royal Oak had just purchased its first computer (a mini-mainframe) and Winnie was instrumental in adapting its function to the needs of Royal Oak.
Since then there have been 4 office relocations and the Foundation has grown to a staff of 9 with over 14,000 members across all 50 states.
Winnie handled member services and was responsible for the daily operations of the New York office. She was an essential liaison to the National Trust. She coordinated Royal Oak’s mailings and oversaw the shipping and arrival of all materials from the U.K., most especially National Trust handbooks and magazines. You may thank Winnie for ensuring that your member mailing arrived in your mailbox. To say she had close relationships on both sides of “the pond” would be an understatement.
The Foundation’s institutional knowledge and the working history of both Royal Oak and the National Trust resides with Winnie, who is the longest serving staff member. Moreover, her expert skills in extrapolating data – from a database that she first helped create – have served the advancement of Membership, Development and Programming over the past three decades. For me, a relatively new Royal Oak staff member, having access to Winnie’s knowledge and her understanding of how things work has been invaluable. I will miss her advice and long memory of how Royal Oak has served its members and mission.
Though we must say farewell, it is not a goodbye as Winnie will always be a part of Royal Oak and the National Trust.
Ian Murray, Executive Director
On behalf of the Royal Oak Staff and Board of Directors