Staff Spotlight – Brenda
Brenda is the YMCA of the Inland Northwest’s Association Business Office Director, which is a fancy way of saying that she makes sure our business runs smoothly. This year she is celebrating 30 years of working at the YMCA!
She started working with the Y while she was still college in 1987. Looking for a summer job for when college was not in session, Brenda found her way into working in child care at summer day camps. She transitioned from child care into full-time program directing by piloting the kindergarten after school child care program, which is still going strong to this day. Brenda originally wanted to teach, or go into a similar field of child care, but after several years of hands-on child care she decided that while she still wanted to help children and work with the Y, she would do so in a more managerial manner.
In 1994 she became a full time employee of the YMCA and has overseen countless programs since then. In her time here there has been many changes to the staff, the executive structure, and the YMCA in general. Brenda says that part of what’s kept her at the YMCA for the past 30 years is the constant change; the need for consistent yet flexible program management. The YMCA’s commit to its core values is also a major part of why Brenda has worked here for so long. She used to work at the North and downtown (now Central) locations, but eventually the decision was made to merge all program management. Program management had two main focuses: overseeing all program development in a more hands-on fashion, and the more managerial side that dealt with statistics and spreadsheets. Brenda again chose to handle the more managerial side of operations. She describes herself as “very left-brained” and she enjoys working with statistics, which is very handy in managerial work. Back when Brenda first started at the Y, she had to make spreadsheet by hand. Sometimes she still revises and edits printed spreadsheets by hand before entering them in Excel. She finds that this method just clicks with her. Brenda’s previous hands-on experience with child care and other YMCA programs helps her keep her responsibilities in perspective. She knows what it is like to be “on the ground” as an employee of the YMCA, and uses that knowledge to shape her perspective of the programs she oversees. The programs at the YMCA have a tangible difference to them from other programs, and Brenda knows this from first-hand experience.
Brenda loves the outdoors. In her downtime, she loves to take in the sun. During the summer, if the sun is out, she will set up her above ground pool, and if the sun isn’t out she will travel to where it is. One of her favorite vacations was to a village in Fiji. She stayed at a resort near a local village and snorkeled in crystal clear blue water. She also enjoys connecting with her niece who just started high-school, which is a very different age from Brenda’s previous experience with kids in the K-6 age range.
We at the YMCA appreciate and cherish Brenda and her incredible and lasting contributions and look forward to continuing working with her.