Celebrating Women's History Month

31 March 2023
repeating Illustration of women

Throughout the month of March, we’ve been celebrating the contributions of women in our organization by bringing our Y community together in celebration of women at a women’s empowerment lunch where over 70 employees enjoyed togetherness and camaraderie, the Effingham Street YMCA “Stuffed the Bus” for the H.E.R. Shelter, the YMCA on Granby held a health fair that served over 350 people, and our President & CEO sent a heartfelt message of appreciation for the women that serve alongside him in the advancement of the Y’s mission.

As we wrap up Women's History Month, we recognize many women have made significant contributions and continue to make contributions to the YMCA of South Hampton Roads. From our staff and volunteers to our members and program participants, women have shaped our organization for the better.

In honor of this, we asked the female C-suite leaders of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads to reflect on what it means to them to be female leaders in our organization.

Headshot for Michele Catalano, Chief Development Officer for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads

Michele Catalano: Chief Development Officer
“The YMCA has a strong history of empowering women in leadership positions. And now, I am very proud to be one of them and to work alongside other amazing women to make belonging possible for everyone and truly impact our community. As a mother and a woman leader, I feel a great sense of responsibility to serve as a role model and inspire others to lead with passion and a purpose each and every day.”

Headshot of Susan Ohmsen, Chief Financial Officer for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads

Susan Ohmsen - Chief Financial Officer
“I started at the Y in 1990 when there wasn’t a lot of female leadership. Most YMCA locations had a role called a Business Director that was administrative in nature. Most of the individuals in these roles were women, and they would tell me that they had aspirations of leadership but didn’t see a clear path to a role in operational leadership. I encouraged them and felt it was important that I demonstrated to them what it is to be a leader in an administrative function. I role model the necessary skills you need to maneuver in business, but you are also an integral part of the operations team, and your role is to support that team. I am proud to say that several of those former Business Directors are now executive leaders in our YMCA.”

Headshot of Amelia Scott, Chief Experience Officer for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads

Amelia Scott - Chief Experience Officer
“In my work before coming to the Y, the industries were tagged as male-dominated and that can weigh on you over time navigating what your career path and opportunities are or how every personal interaction may positively or negatively impact your growth. The Y isn't like that. Even with a history where I couldn't have been a part of the Y as a member or employee, the commitment to progress, equity, and creating a sense of belonging fill me with gratitude and pride for where we are today and what our future looks like. As a female leader in our Y, I get the opportunity daily to show the hundreds of young people we employ and thousands we serve that the Y believes in me, in us as women, and appreciates the differences we have because they make us a better team. And, that better team can better serve our community.”

Headshot of Janeine Spencer, Chief People & Culture Officer for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads

Janeine Spencer - Chief People & Culture Officer
“As a female senior leader for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, I have a seat at the table and a valued, respected, and sought-out voice. In return, I am empowered to play my role in helping our teams advance our mission.”

As we celebrate Women's History Month, we are honored to be a part of an organization that has been shaped and led by so many incredible women. We recognize that although we are not perfect in our efforts toward gender equality, we are committed to making progress every day. We are continuing their legacy by promoting gender equity and supporting the leadership and voices of women in our organization and beyond.