We are quite fortunate to have a workforce of massively talented and dedicated people who are motivated by our cause and by the opportunity to change lives. Every year we ask our leaders to nominate a few stars who stand out as exemplary among their peers – Y associates who actively demonstrate the eight competencies we’ve identified as key to the accomplishment of our mission. Each year we are heartened by the plethora of strong nominations and challenged to choose only a few to publicly recognize and thank. This past Thursday at a retreat of 150 Y in Central Maryland leaders, we had the opportunity to do just that.
And the winners were:
Accountability: Annette Coleman, Operations Manager, Head Start
When the expression “quiet storm” is used, the name Annette Coleman comes to mind! She is the queen of mastering tasks, making accommodations, managing program operations, interacting with outside entities and through it all, she never drops the ball! Annette is the ultimate team player and personifies the meaning of accountability and excellence.
Integrity: Becky Zahn, Executive Director, Early Childhood Development and Quality
Becky Zahn is known as one of the most patient leaders in the Y! She always goes above and beyond to demonstrate her loyalty and support to everyone with whom she works across the organization. Becky is a tremendous listener and never over-reacts to difficult situations (and when you are dealing with 3 year olds, I promise, there are many)! Becky Zahn is a model leader with a deep reservoir of integrity.
Customer Focus: Cheryl Rosendahl, Director, Chipmunks Preschool, Carroll County
Cheryl has a strong reputation for quality customer service. The pre-school she runs, the legendary Chipmunks Preschool in Carroll County, consistently meets and often exceeds their goals, and their Net Promoter Scores always reflect Cheryl’s commitment to great customer service. Cheryl always happily partners with her colleagues at the nearby Hill Y as a further demonstration of her commitment to the community. She does all of this while also working as a teacher in the classroom!
Change Management: Kelly Lepley, Association Director of Fitness
In this relatively new role, Kelly has led the fitness team through a multitude of changes over the past year. Many of the changes were not easy, but Kelly remained resolute, knowing the long term benefit to the Y and its members. Kelly is always very open and transparent as to why the various changes are necessary, and she reinforces and models the value of her decisions through countless hours in Centers, coaching & mentoring fitness teams.
Resilience: Betsy Kulp, Senior Program Director, Orokawa Y in Towson
With the departure of Bev Landis, the former director of the Orokawa Y in Towson, someone had to step up and keep things up to the same high standard that Y is known for. That someone was Betsy Kulp! Betsy has had to wear multiple hats during this interim period and worked endless hours to keep the Orokawa Y team functioning seamlessly as we searched for a new leader. Through it all, she’s maintained her cheery and calm disposition, and always has time to listen and guide her colleagues. Betsy Kulp defines resilience!
Analytical Thinking: E.J. Amyot, District Executive Director, Greater Annapolis Y in Arnold
E.J. embodies what it is to be a Y leader, and he is passionate about our mission. He puts in long days, and when he’s not in his centers, he is out in the community representing the Y. He always champions new ideas, and is always positive. EJ thinks strategically, and his gift for analytical thinking has helped him emerge as a thoughtful, prepared leader.
Innovation: Trish Harper, Regional Camp Director
Y camp is synonymous with innovation and change. Each season brings a new set of challenges. Trish Harper has played an important part in helping the team create flexible, scalable, innovative and agile systems for handling our ever-growing and changing camp programming for nine years! As we start to plan yet another camp season and are challenged to innovate yet again, we thank and congratulate Trish Harper for her commitment to the Y, to camp and for being an excellent facilitator of innovation and change!
Teamwork: Mike Hines, Senior Fitness Director, The Y in Pasadena
During the acquisition of Big Vanilla in Pasadena this year, Mike Hines (a former BV associate himself) worked tirelessly to ensure that both the members and former BV associates felt welcomed and comfortable with the transition to the Y. He was pulled in many different directions, but always took the time to answer every question and address every concern. Even though he was going through an employment transition himself, Mike was the Y’s greatest advocate and did a tremendous job of communicating how positive the Y acquisition was for the community and associates alike. Mike is a true team player and we are delighted to have him on our team!
The Quinney Award: Coach Joe Brown, Director College Gardens Youth Development Site, Southwest Baltimore
This award is named in memory and honor of Lynn Quinney, a Y associate who died much too young and will always be remembered by us for her strong work ethic and deep commitment to our values and mission. Each year we honor one associate with this special award.
When the writer Mitch Albom sat down to write his second book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, he focused on identifying those five people that in some way he was touched and changed by forever. His story also paid homage to the “real people” of the world, who do amazing things every day, but never get their names up in lights.
Well, these qualities perfectly describe Coach Joe Brown! If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting him, you will certainly NOT forget him, and yes, he daily does amazing things which touch and change lives forever.
For over six years, Coach Joe has served as Director (aka “Ambassador”) of our College Gardens Youth Development program, where he delivers after school and summer programming to kids grades k – 12 (and beyond) who are residents of a subsidized housing community in Southwest Baltimore called College Gardens. Coach Joe doesn’t just deliver a quality program, he truly mentors and develops EVERY young person with whom he comes in contact. In addition to his fair, yet stern demeanor (and warm smile), Coach Joe is best known for his college wall, a beautifully painted mural of the U.S., where students must post where they plan to attend college. He then proceeds to help them all achieve their goals, including helping middle school students identify the right high schools; helping high school students get into college; helping them all find jobs and, perhaps most importantly, Coach Joe helps each student to become great human beings. That’s something he himself clearly mastered a long time ago!
Congratulations to one and all! I’m proud to call all of you colleagues and inspirations.
While we are thanking and recognizing, I want to also thank Board members Donna Wilson and Tom Brandt for spending part of their day with us last Thursday. They were generous enough to share their personal motivations for supporting the Y’s work and mission. They inspired everyone in the room.
Thank you all. Our community is better for your contributions!
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland