In their quest to find the next CEO of the YWCA Central Alabama, members of the search committee cast a wide net, interviewing candidates from all over the country. It didn’t take them long, however, to realize that they didn’t need to look far.
Yolanda Sullivan, a former Board president who has led the agency on an interim basis since January, was named CEO of the organization today. The news was met with cheers and applause from the staff and Board members who gathered for the announcement.
“I can’t think of anyone with a greater passion for our mission than Yolanda,” Board president Kathryn Harbert said. “She has a heart for the women, children and families we serve, and she has the vision and skill set necessary to lead our beloved YW into the future. We knew we were putting the YWCA into very capable hands when she was named Interim CEO, and she has proven it this past year.”
Sullivan, who had a 30-year career with Vulcan Materials before taking over at the YW, became the eighth woman to serve as executive director or CEO in the agency’s 111-year history. She follows Suzanne Durham, who retired in December 2013 after 34 years.
“It’s the dream job I never knew I aspired to,” Sullivan said. “There’s nothing better than helping to completely transform lives, and that’s what we do every day. Our focus is on making the lives of those we serve better, and our fabulous staff works tirelessly to ensure that it happens. I love being part of the team that lifts people up and being surrounded by miracles.”
Sullivan volunteered with the YWCA for 20 years, serving as both treasurer and vice president of finance before becoming Board president in 2007 and leading the agency through a successful $15 million capital campaign. She also served as president of the Junior Board.
A longtime member of the YW family, Sullivan has long been a vital part of the community, as well. She serves on the board of The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and is a member of The Women’s Network and Zonta International. She has past service on the boards of United Way of Central Alabama, Birmingham Museum of Art, Barrels of Love, St. Vincent’s Health System and The Bell Center. She is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham, Leadership Alabama, Momentum and Project Corporate Leadership. Sullivan is an active member of St. Francis of Assisi, where she has held a number of leadership positions.
“I am absolutely delighted that Yolanda has been chosen as the new CEO for the YWCA Central Alabama,” said Jennifer Caraway, director of domestic violence services. “I have had the pleasure of working with Yolanda for the past year, and I know her heart is here and she is committed to every aspect of this agency’s mission. She is so inspirational, and she is the type of leader you want to follow.”
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