The Y in Central Maryland Blog

Monday Mission Update

This past Friday evening hundreds of families descended on our Ys throughout the region with their little ghosts, goblins, fairies, princesses, pumpkins (and whole lot more!) in tow for the much anticipated, greatly loved annual Happy Healthy Halloween at the Y!

Games, crafts, contests and healthy snacks ruled the night during this free community event open to all. The photos below and TV news interview done by our very own District Executive Director Lauren Reyes tell it all. Well done, Team Y!




Earlier in the week, a less scary event took place at the Weinberg Y in Waverly, where around 160 Y leaders met for an all-day retreat focused on exploring the myriad career development pathways available to associates at the Y.

The day started off with a panel discussion I moderated with four Y Board members: Dr. Kevin Banks of Morgan State University, Mo Jishi of M & T Bank, Dana Smith of Hannon Armstrong and Donna Wilson of Chesapeake Employers Insurance. Each shared candid stories about their own career paths, none of which were straight or without some real challenges. While everyone’s experience differed, all agreed that each experience along the way, good and bad, helped to prepare them for the leadership position they have today and all agreed that putting family first is a high priority.

Some unexpected answers: When asked what book was most influential in their career, Dr. Banks quickly cited “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” by Dr. Seuss, explaining that he was the first in his family to go to college and now is a Dean at a prestigious university. When asked what the most important quality for success is, Dana Smith said “emotional intelligence,”  the interpersonal skills considered so essential for successful leadership and navigating the social environment of a job that it is thought to be more than twice as important as technical skills or having a high IQ in achieving success. Certainly this has relevance in the work we all do together to understand each other’s needs, as well as those of the diverse and multi-faceted communities we serve.

Other highlights of the day included a wonderful talk by Clark Baker, the legendary retired CEO from the Greater Houston Y association. Clark shared many important stories and lessons about philanthropy, including always thanking volunteers, learning from your mistakes and the importance of hiring good people and then, as he put it, “getting the heck out of their way” to let them do what they were hired to do!

Our new Chief Human Resources Officer, Kim Keating, shared a powerful career development tool available to all Y associates on Y Exchange (  Jenn Hall, our new executive director of Before and After School Enrichment, then shared the new Facebook Workplace Y site, which will be launched on Thursday.

We capped off the day by honoring Y associates who were selected by their peers for expertly demonstrating the Y’s core competencies:

Accountability: Karen Farley, Hill Family Y in Westminster

Analytical Thinking: Robyn Vance, Marketing & Philanthropy

Change Management, Rhea Butler, Reach & Rise Mentoring Program

Customer Focus, Tina Mahon and Mike Walburn, Finance & Accounting

Innovation, Kelly Lepley, Association Health & Wellness

Integrity, Debra Barrett, Baltimore County Head Start

Resilience, Shanelle England, School Partnerships

Teamwork, Eric Somerville, Volunteerism & Community Engagement

Lynne Quinney (named in honor of our late colleague), Diana Beeson, Human Resources and Association Health & Wellness

Your growth and development at the Y matters a great deal and I urge all those who attended to share what they learned with their teams. I am deeply committed to redoubling our efforts to make this Y among the best, most rewarding and desirable places to work, where associate well-being is given the same extraordinary level of commitment and care as that given to our members and participants. We, of course, have some work to do to get there, but I am confident we will.


I want to thank our special guests as well as the Y Shout-Out team for making it such a successful day.


All the best,


John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland


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