Kalamazoo, Michigan

Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Kalamazoo

The Organization

Founded in 1885, YWCA Kalamazoo serves as the oldest and largest association in Michigan. Originally established to provide residential services for young women, today, YWCA Kalamazoo is a public health organization focused on social justice and is a primary resource for economic, gender, and racial justice for all women, children, and families in Kalamazoo.

Operating at the intersection of racial and gender equity, YWCA Kalamazoo is an ally in the mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. They are actively addressing social determinants of health in the community in the context of racism as a public health crisis. As the longest-serving YWCA association in Michigan, YWCA Kalamazoo provides individuals and families with victim-focused counseling and advocacy services as well as shelter for survivors of violence, transitional housing, and legal services. A range of family programs are designed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations and lead the way toward systems change in Kalamazoo area communities. In addition to direct services, YWCA Kalamazoo actively addresses the systems that cause injustice by educating the public and influencing policymakers on local, state, and national levels, focusing on advancing racial and gender equity by ensuring that the voices of underrepresented communities are heard.

Position Overview

YWCA Kalamazoo is at an important inflection point in its history. Following significant programmatic and team growth in recent years, it is focused now on sustainability as it builds on successful scaling both preceding and through the pandemic era. At this crucial moment, YWCA Kalamazoo seeks a CEO to lead the organization through this moment of reflection and strategic planning and co-create organizational structures while fostering a transparent and accountable culture. The next CEO will join a dedicated and caring staff deeply committed to supporting women, children, and families in Kalamazoo.

Strong candidates will, first and foremost, be deeply passionate about eliminating racism and empowering vulnerable communities while understanding the systematic barriers they must overcome to survive and thrive. The next CEO will be a seasoned leader who has navigated significant growth and/or led change management processes focusing on transparency, continuous learning, and improvement. The next CEO will be a powerful external voice for the organization and the families it serves, elevating YWCA Kalamazoo’s mission and presence in the community, bringing expertise in fundraising, and driving to cultivate new partnerships and donors. A trusted leader within the ecosystem in which YWCA Kalamazoo operates, the CEO will align, focus, and amplify the impact of its services and elevate its role in enacting systems change.


YWCA Kalamazoo’s next CEO will lead an organization that supports women, children, and families through programs centered on social justice, strengthening communities, and anti-racism. Leveraging the efficacy of YWCA Kalamazoo’s existing strategic plan and recent significant growth, the CEO will chart the organization’s next chapter, refine processes, and develop solutions to improve staff retention and identify opportunities to increase outputs, remain relevant to the organization’s changing needs, and sustain community impact. The CEO will engage in the following leadership opportunities:

Co-Create Organizational Systems that Build on the Expanded Success of YWCA Kalamazoo

The CEO will demonstrate humility, curiosity, and vision to support the team’s ability to address evolving and complex organizational challenges following recent significant growth and post-pandemic realities. Together with the Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Finance, the CEO will lead effective business operations that ensure YWCA Kalamazoo’s continued financial sustainability, revenue growth, and enhancement of staff employment proposition and benefits. Holding an enterprise-level view of the organization, the CEO will use sound business and fiscal management and data to ensure its overall financial health and effectiveness. The CEO will be skilled in culture building, change management, and organizational design to support organizational effectiveness in a dynamic time. They will possess a highly refined equity lens grounded in critical consciousness and an understanding of anti-racist practices, along with social and economic systems that have historically disadvantaged members of the intersecting communities that YWCA Kalamazoo serves.

Fundraising and External Relations

Partnering with the Development and Communications teams, the CEO will co-develop an external relations and fundraising plan to broaden potential revenue streams nationwide and elevate YWCA Kalamazoo’s visibility to increase support from individual donors, corporate partners, federal, state, and local grants, and foundations. The CEO will be an active, visible, and trusted leader within the ecosystem YWCA Kalamazoo operates, thoughtfully leveraging opportunities to promote the key focus areas and be a vocal advocate for improving outcomes, eliminating racism, empowering women and the most vulnerable populations, and families in Kalamazoo County. The CEO will cultivate excellent relationships with local media, oversee YWCA’s social media presence, and present YWCA’s vision and services through public presentations and attending relevant business events, conferences, and gatherings. They will serve, alongside senior program staff, as a trusted resource and partner to the community, organizations, funders, government agencies, and other collaborators to collectively strengthen the systems that impact girls, women, families, and people of color.

Internal Communications Leader and Culture Builder

The CEO will lead a dedicated staff of over 200 individuals, along with over 100 volunteers and an operating budget of over $16 million. The next leader will be a clear communicator committed to transparency and accountability to YWCA’s commitment to maximizing the talents of YWCA staff to create, implement, and manage essential programs. The CEO will foster effective collaboration and communication across departments, ensuring all staff understand and work toward shared organizational outcomes and goals. The next CEO will be a seasoned and charismatic people leader who ensures that the organization has the performance management and talent development systems and tools in place to promote staff growth and retention.

Nurture a Diverse and Talented Team

The CEO will lead and partner with YWCA Kalamazoo staff to cultivate and create the conditions for all staff to bring their full selves. The CEO will nurture the shared leadership environment through communication strategies and role clarity that promotes transparency, authentic feedback, asset-based support, and a learning orientation within and across the YWCA Kalamazoo team. As a strong collaborator, the new CEO will demonstrate an inquiry-grounded orientation that seeks to engage a wide range of inputs and synthesize those differing perspectives into rich and actionable insights that inform its decision-making and reflect the values of YWCA Kalamazoo and its network of partners. The CEO will deepen YWCA Kalamazoo’s commitment to anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Board Relations and Governance

In partnership with the board, the new CEO will ensure the strong governance and financial health of YWCA Kalamazoo. They will ensure YWCA complies with relevant state and federal laws, regulations, and standard accounting procedures. Working closely together, the CEO and board will align on the organization’s strategic direction and vision to determine the best strategies for deliberate growth, program refinement, and staff retention. The CEO will encourage board engagement, leveraging their experiences and relationships to identify future board members, key sources of partnership and funding, and opportunities for continued organizational growth.


While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, strong candidates will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

Organizational & Operational Leadership

  • Leadership experience managing complex operations or programs within an organization addressing education for marginalized populations, youth, or social services.
  • Success in building, scaling, and developing sustainable organizational growth strategies across programs and/or geographies.
  • Capacity and experience to build and foster sustainable and effective relationships with mission-aligned donors to raise significant fundraising investments toward common goals and objectives from public and private sources, including government agencies, community organizations, individuals, and foundations.
  • Thoughtful, timely decision-maker with experience using data and evidence effectively to inform strategy and promote continuous learning and improvement.
  • Effective organizational champion and partner who can elevate YWCA Kalamazoo’s visibility and secure new partnerships in the youth services ecosystem.

Connection to the Mission

  • A sophisticated understanding of the barriers and interconnecting systems that women, children, and families encounter when accessing programs and services, particularly in attaining economic security.
  • Deep commitment to social justice and anti-racism and demonstrated ability to lead candid and brave conversations about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Familiarity with YWCA Kalamazoo’s four key focus areas through professional or lived experience as an individual who has navigated and/or faced systemic barriers.

Cultural Leadership & Management Style

  • A deep and sustained learning journey and commitment to equity with the proven ability to apply a racial equity lens to all levels of an organization’s work.
  • A leader who prioritizes a relational work environment that builds trust and seeks to foster a culture of transparency, accountability, and integrity. Strong relationship-building skills and an authentic interest in listening to and learning from others; the ability to act intentionally, establish trust, engage stakeholders, and cultivate belonging.
  • Emotional intelligence and ability to engage in productive conflict; an active listener who understands a trauma-informed practice lens.
  • Excellent management skills and experience leading and inspiring change in a diverse, mission-driven environment; proven capacity to develop systems and decision-making that foster participation, mutual accountability, and growth.
  • Collaborative leadership style demonstrated by knowing when to step in and direct, when to delegate, and when to share leadership.
  • Powerful communicator one-on-one, in small group settings, and with large audiences.

Values & Management Style

  • An experienced manager who has built opportunities for staff leadership and champions staff growth across a program or organization.
  • Highly relational style: ability to build relationships and engage in healthy dialog that fosters mutual understanding and trust.
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to reach and inspire internal and external audiences; ability to connect with scholars, community, funders, and partners in both individual and group settings.

The Basics

  • A master’s degree or equivalent experience with demonstrated progressive expertise in administration, financial management, and program development.
  • Familiarity with the landscape of communities, unique assets, and challenges across Kalamazoo, or the desire to gain this knowledge, is highly desired.
  • Demonstrated progressive leadership experience in a nonprofit, human services, community-based organization, or educational institution.
  • A seasoned leader who weaves data, values, and desired impact to drive strategy.

How To Apply

More information about YWCA Kalamazoo can be found at www.ywcakalamazoo.org.

This position’s salary is approximately $180,000 – $220,000, including flexibility to reflect the candidate’s experience and skills and a comprehensive benefits package.

This search is being conducted by Allison Kupfer Poteet, Danielle Higa, and Alejandra (Ale) Villa of the national search firm NPAG. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.

YWCA Kalamazoo is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to a diverse workplace – people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQIA+ people are strongly encouraged to apply.

Sign up