The CEO of Greater Cincinnati’s YWCA, Barbara Perez, has resigned after seven years at the helm of the organization.
“Barbara has resigned the CEO position in order to focus on her health,” said Anne Mulder, the YWCA’s board chair. “We, of course, wish her the best.”
Angela Culbreath Bryce, the YWCA’s senior vice president of people operations, will lead the organization while an interim CEO is identified and a national search is launched.
Perez, a prominent and longtime nonprofit leader, was named in 2015 to succeed Charlene Ventura, who led the YWCA for 26 years and had been with the institution for 40 years.
The local YWCA, founded in 1868 as the fifth YWCA association in America, is focused on the dual missions of eliminating racism and empowering women.
The local YWCA got a big boost at the end of last year when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ former wife, McKenzie Scott, made a major grant to the organization. Scott and the YWCA chose not to reveal the size of the grant, but it was believed to be in the range of the $4 million received by Meals on Wheels of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky to the $6 million received by Easterseals Redwood.
The YWCA was one of six local nonprofits to publicly acknowledge receiving what is thought to be nearly $60 million from Scott.
During Perez’s tenure, the YWCA Greater Cincinnati increased awareness of its racial equity work in the community. It increased training about implicit bias in the workplace through its Towards Equity program, led the annual Standing Against Racism pledge and addressed racism as a public health crisis.
Leadership Council earlier this year recognized YWCA as the winner of its annual inclusive culture award based on a nomination made by Bryce.
“By equipping our staff with inclusive language, trainings, and approaches, we are better able to serve our clients with different backgrounds, cultures, sexual orientations, and identities,” Bryce wrote. “These inclusive approaches not only let our staff know we care about them, and what makes them unique, but allow our staff to pass along that same empathy and compassion to our clients. Without this model of inclusivity, we would not have been able to expand our services to serve survivors of domestic violence who identify within the LGBTQ+, Latinx, Middle Eastern, BIPOC communities and more. It is our goal to provide the best resources possible to our clients to ensure the highest probability of them creating healthy relationships after leaving our organization, as well as continuing to thrive in other areas of their lives. And to do this, we have to offer our staff the same resources and commitment.”
During Perez’s tenure, the YWCA continued to honor dozens of women and emerging leaders through its signature programs, Career Women of Achievement and Rising Stars, all while caring for dozens of families who transitioned from domestic violence shelters to hotels during COVID-19 protocols. The YWCA moved its traditional in-person Career Women event – typically one of the largest-attended fundraisers held in the region – to a broadcast model reaching even larger audiences.
“We thank Barbara for her leadership,” Mulder said.
Bryce has served on the executive team for the YWCA for the past five years and leads operations and human resources.
“She will have the full support of the executive team as well as the board of directors during the search for a new CEO,” Mulder said.