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8 Awards, Countless Acts of Heroism

November 16, 2018

The theme for this year’s Staff Assembly was superheroes. And why not? The YMCA staff are happy to go above and beyond to serve others. Staff from across Central Indiana enjoyed fellowship and reveled in the ways we’ve achieved the Y mission of healthy spirit, mind and body for all, throughout the year.

8 exceptional staffers

The event culminated with an awards ceremony to recognize eight exceptional staffers, who, 1) exemplify  local and national leaders in YMCA history, 2) embody the YMCA mission, or 3) provide exceptional member service. Each of 12 YMCA locations could submit a nominee for each category, and the Strategic Leadership Team selected the winners.

With a big, loud drum roll, here they are!

1. Diversity & Inclusion Award

This award recognizes an employee who has: 1) demonstrated above-and-beyond commitment to diversity and inclusion through programs or membership, 2) served as a role model by providing employment, volunteer, or internship experiences for persons with disabilities, or 3) developed a collaboration resulting in the YMCA being a more inclusive organization.

Winner: Susan Cavaletto – Ransburg YMCA

Susan was the director of building and grounds at the Ransburg Y until her unexpected death on Aug. 12, 2018.

[caption id="attachment_12081" align="alignright" width="500"]staff assembly 5 Ransburg YMCA staff accepts the Diversity & Inclusion award on behalf of Susan[/caption]

“I don't want her passing to diminish the impact she has had and the lessons she has taught us around inclusivity and how to honor diverse abilities.

It seems that today, everyone is hiring. It makes it a challenge to find good help. Susan's maintenance department is no different. Susan's good heart made her open to new possibilities in staffing. I would like to say that she adopted a new "staffing strategy," but it was really her kind heart and open mind that helped her build a staff team. Thirty-six percent of the maintenance staff have a job coach or caregiver.

Susan partnered with Noble of Indiana, Aspire, and Walker Career Center to meet the Y's needs for staff and for the applicant's need to belong somewhere and be productive. They loved her and she loved them. We promised each other that we would continue to honor Susan and make her proud by doing the hard work needed to keep the building she loved clean.

We will miss Susan forever, but we learned from her how to make our YMCA 'for all.' Not only for members, but for staff too.”

2. Luther Gulick Award for Spirit, Mind & Body

Luther Gulick is known for many significant contributions, including being the founder of the Campfire Girls. He is also responsible for what we know today as the Y triangle (spirit, mind & body). He believed each dimension was needed for all those who sought to grow to their full potential.    

Winner: Tammy Burris – Avondale Meadows YMCA

[caption id="attachment_12090" align="alignright" width="300"]Tammy Burris Tammy Burris, Avondale Meadows YMCA[/caption]

"Always looking for ways to meaningfully engage and meet the needs of members, last year Tammy coordinated the Inaugural Ladies Night Off event at the Avondale Meadows Y. Tammy’s vision was to offer an evening of holistic wellness and support for female members.

LNO brought together 80 women of varying ages in an evening of fellowship, group exercise demonstrations, beauty and spa services, empowerment workshops, and health and nutrition sessions. The event culminated with a Fashion Show for women of all ages and figures. Several participants have noted that the evening was life changing. Tammy has touched the lives of so many members with her encouraging spirit."

3. James Naismith Award

This award recognizes achievements in program innovation. James Naismith was a distinguished scholar and, while working as a physical education teacher in Springfield, MA he is best known for inventing the game of basketball and for introducing helmets to the game of football in the United States.

Winner: Maggie McCoy – YMCA at the City Market

[caption id="attachment_12082" align="alignright" width="300"]Maggie McCoy Maggie McCoy, YMCA at the City Market[/caption]

"Maggie has had a direct and positive impact at the YMCA. Whether it was hundreds of new people at Yoga in the Catacombs, or the thousands who came through the Y’s doors for the Indy Ultimate, these along with four other innovative programs simply would not have been accomplished without Maggie.

Maggie also now serves as the Y’s Wellness Cabinet co-chair. She continually conducts herself with poise and professionalism, even during stressful and demanding situations. She is always offering to “step up.” The association is fortunate to have her as an ambassador."

4. Will Peck Stewardship Award

There is not a more perfect name for the stewardship award. Will Peck was a respected businessman and leader and avid volleyball player inducted to the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Will is best known for his dedication and work as the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis who truly revitalized the association. He always challenged staff to think outside the box and “make it happen.”

Winner: Steven Bowden - Benjamin Harrison YMCA

[caption id="attachment_12092" align="alignright" width="300"]Steven Bowden Steven Bowden, Benjamin Harrison YMCA[/caption]

"Steven continually demonstrates prudent use of YMCA financial resources. As the director of buildings and grounds, he has increased efficiency at the Benjamin Harrison YMCA by building relationships with vendors, problem solving, performing preventative maintenance, comparison shopping and improving staff efficiency. Steven’s incredible vendor and donor relationships have resulted in:

  • 10 community garden beds donated by Lowes
  • Newly designed and donated kitchen in the Annex building
  • Donated paint for two Purple Heart parking spots
  • $1,500 of member-donated tools

Steven Bowden has a great attitude and caring approach with members and staff. We are very fortunate to have him on the Benjamin Harrison Leadership team!"

5. Youth Impact Award

[caption id="attachment_12104" align="alignright" width="300"]Alex Eklund, Fishers YMCA Alex Eklund, Fishers YMCA[/caption]

A new award that recognizes an employee who has made an extraordinary impact on youth and exemplifies the Y's core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. The Youth Impact award recognizes and celebrates the outstanding work of youth workers and their enduring positive impact on young people and to the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.

Winner: Alex Eklund – Fishers YMCA

"Without a doubt, Alex Eklund shines the mission and character of the YMCA. Alex has been a part of the Fishers YMCA staff family for over seven years in several roles, each relating to children and their development. Whether it's teaching sports skill clinics, leading After-School sports enrichment programs or instilling life skills, confidence and self-esteem on the sports field, he personifies the Youth Impact Award. As the Fishers sports specialist, Alex's efforts and enthusiasm are genuine and can be seen in the way he is greeted by parents and young players with an energetic "Coach Alex!" wherever he goes. He is an educator and embodies excellence, thoughtfulness and thoroughness in every task.

Since Alex has been on staff, the Fishers Y’s Net Promoter score has gone from a 60 to 87 percent in the spring of 2018. The previous three surveys were 79 percent or better. This is a huge accomplishment, and one that can be measured in satisfaction by Alex's communication and program experiences."

6. John R. Mott Award

[caption id="attachment_12105" align="alignright" width="300"]Julia Behringer, Jordan YMCA Julia Behringer, Jordan YMCA[/caption]

Recognizes achievements in financial development. John R. Mott was known for his achievements in fundraising, which included raising approximately $235 million during World War I. In addition, he was also a Nobel Peace Prize winner and was dedicated to working with international student organizations.                      

Winner: Julia Behringer – Jordan YMCA

"In five years, Julia has raised over $67,000 for the Annual Campaign in direct person to person asks. Julia is dedicated to the YMCA mission, to serve and welcome all. As the morning opener and Wellness Adviser on the floor, Julia takes time to know and connect with those coming in the center. She makes strong connections with members and helps everyone feel a sense of belonging. Julia also shares her own Y story and how the Y has touched her life.

Julia is a highly valued member of the Jordan team, and her commitment to the YMCA mission is exemplary."

7. Excellence in Member Service

[caption id="attachment_12089" align="alignright" width="300"]staff assembly 4 Dominez Savage, YMCA Youth Development[/caption]

Every member interaction provides an opportunity to contribute to a positive member experience. Not only do we provide Y members with access to facilities and programs, we provide them with connections, a sense of belonging and purpose. How we engage members is vitally important to their membership experience and our ability to achieve the Y mission.

Winner: Dominez Savage – Youth Development

"Dominez has had a significant impact on families and Youth Development staff because of her outstanding customer service. At the start of the 2018-19 school year, Dominez took on the attitude of "GREATNESS" in all that she does. Her greatness mantra has paid off this year and decreased the number of delinquents for the West Region she serves by 75 percent. It has also improved her relationship with her peers and the team of site directors.

Dominez sends out small pick me ups. One example that the leadership team West received..."When we plan for things, we never plan for hiccups. We plan in the right now for the future, but at times a barrier may come about which is fine because your greatness is not stopped. It may be delayed, but not stopped. I encourage you all to find greatness in barriers, delays, and bumps in life. Greatness is achieved by being successful in what you do. Greatness is achieved in being confident in what you do. Greatness is achieve by determination. Keep it up ladies. You all do an amazing job and remember G-et R-eally E-xcited A-bout T-oday N-o E-xcuses S-tay S-uccessful. YOU ARE GREAT!!!"

This is the same way she uplifts our families daily. How can you not feel ready to take on the world with a cheerleader like Dominez in your corner?"

8. Presidents Award

staff assembly 2

Given by the President & CEO to an individual whose significant contribution transforms the YMCA in a significant, positive way or notable effort association–wide. Examples of accomplishments could include: opening a new YMCA center; launching a major new program initiative; association project leadership; providing leadership to a major community or public policy initiative; securing an unprecedented gift for capital or endowment

Winner: Janet Allaby – Association Office

YMCA CEO Eric Ellsworth presented Janet Allaby, the Y's chief financial officer,  with the President's Award.

"Janet was instrumental in securing $18 million in new market tax credits that would benefit the Y, with $4 million to help fund the new OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA. She is diligent, smart, a great project manager and a delight to work with. She met the extreme complexity of the project head on while having to navigate many different personalities and know when to involve other partners. The Y would not have benefited by these tax credits without Janet’s determination."

Thank you to all award nominees for their hard work and dedication to the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis and its members. Your work is valued and appreciated. And congratulations to the award winners!

You can be a superhero

Would you like to join this fantastic group of superheroes? Search these job opportunities and begin your career with the YMCA today!

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