‘Staying Put in New Canaan’ Executive Director Barb Achenbaum Hits 5-Year Mark

Five years ago, Barb Achenbaum considered creating a company that would help adult children understand important parts of their parents’ lives. 

A Chicago native who earned a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Princeton University, she’d been living in New Canaan for about 10 years and had come to know firsthand what it meant to help organize finances, healthcare and estate planning after taking on responsibilities for both her own parents and father-in-law. Just at that moment, the position of executive director at Staying Put in New Canaan opened up and her husband, Jonathan, encouraged Achenbaum to apply. “But I said, I hadn’t had a job in 23 years because I had been a professional volunteer,” Achenbaum recalled on a recent morning from a conference room in Staying Put’s Pine Street offices. “I had done a lot, I was involved in the PTA, Encore, and all of these different organizations. It’s a real job, but not a paying one.

Jane Nyce, Retiring Director of Staying Put in New Canaan: ‘This Is the Dream Job’

Jane Nyce, longtime director of Staying Put in New Canaan, is retiring to coastal Maine in about two weeks—there, she’ll spend time hiking and kayaking with her husband of 38 years, invite plenty of Connecticut friends and her three kids (maybe grandkids soon, “knock on wood,” she says), and pursue more work with seniors. “I can’t sit still,” was the last thing she told us during an interview Wednesday, transcribed in full below. We talked about the organization, the way it serves New Canaan, the town itself and its future. We talked about her family, her first date with the man who would become her husband (she asked him to a movie and dinner—and remembers what she made and what he brought, though not the film), and delved into her rich and interesting educational and professional backgrounds. Thank you to Jane for your readiness in being available for an interview, and for your candor during our conversation.