Suzanne McCormick, CEO of the YMCA of the USA, one of the largest non-profits in America with 2,500 locations, talks about the original concept and founding in 1844 in response to unhealthy social conditions for young Christian men arising in the big cities at the end of the Industrial Revolution and how over the last 175 years the company has evolved its focus on health and well-being for the entire family. Suzanne then speaks about the importance of reputation and brand, both to the CEO and to the organization, during this evolution and changing world. Ms. McCormick also shares some of the challenges she’s faced and lessons learned while leading through change in such a vast, federated structure. Next, Suzanne discusses her vision for the future and what they’re doing today to listen to young people, along with some very unique initiatives.
In the second half of the interview, Suzanne talks about the huge focus on water safety and bringing that to lesser-served communities. Ms. McCormick shares insights on the Y’s focus on mind, body and spiritual health, including connections for the senior population. Suzanne explains how they deal with the competitive nature of other health clubs and how they differentiate themselves. Ms. McCormick then speaks about partnerships, reinventing communities, and the message to other CEOs on impact and programming for the well-being of children and families and how their missions really interconnect including goals around corporate social responsibility. Finally, as a lifelong learner, starting with the Peace Corps, Suzanne explains how people can advance as leaders and the connection to a favorite quote about humility.