Waldo County YMCA Welcomes New CEO

By Waldo County YMCA | Aug 26, 2020

The Waldo County YMCA has named Russell Werkman as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective September 8, 2020.  Russell was selected by the YMCA’s Board of Directors following an extensive national search which spanned eight months.  Although the search process weathered complications attributed to the COVID pandemic, which limited travel and in-person meetings, interviews were ultimately accomplished utilizing ZOOM technology.  Russell succeeds Robert Oickle, who has served as the Interim CEO since January of this year.  In his new role, Russell will be responsible for strengthening and expanding operations with a focus on fiscal sustainability, implementing and achieving the strategic plan, advocating the Waldo County YMCA’S vision as a mission driven leader, facilitating fundraising team efforts, and leading the Waldo County YMCA staff team.


During our search for a CEO, we received interest from many well-qualified applicants from Maine, New England, and numerous states across the country.  Russell separated himself from other candidates based on his remarkable history of serving and leading others, someone who cares deeply about personal relationships and his ability to be a catalyst in building community.   These qualities, in addition to his professional experiences in education and training in fundraising, position Russell well to be our next CEO.  “I am thrilled to be joining the excellent team at the Waldo County YMCA to promote the physical, mental, social and spiritual development of the community,” Russell stated in a recent interview.


Russell Werkman comes to the CEO role with ten years of experience at St. George’s School in Spokane, WA, where he served as Assistant Head of Secondary Education and Head of Upper School.  In that capacity, he was responsible for faculty and staff of 30+, oversight of programmatic budgets, and he worked closely with the Board of Trustees as well as finance and benefits committees.  During his tenure with St. George’s School, Russell helped increase enrollment and fundraising through strategic planning.  Russell grew up in the Rockies but returned to the east coast every summer to see grandparents and cousins, he holds a degree in business administration and theatre from Williams College, Williamstown, MA and completed training in educational leadership, fundraising and development specialization. As a testament to Russell’s dedication to community, he was awarded the 2020 Romeo Paganucci Volunteer of the Year Award through the YMCA in Waterville, Maine.


Russell is both enthusiastic and realistic about the challenges and needs that exist for the near and distant future.  “I am looking forward to restoring programs safely and envisioning new ways that we can serve a community that my wife, Sarah, and I are excited to join.  During my interviews, the team of staff and volunteers inspired me with their enthusiasm and dedication.”  The YMCA Board of Directors understands that the CEO position is critical to the success and inherent strength of the mission. Leadership guided by altruistic compassion and a deep sense of community, balanced with financial and fiscal responsibility, are qualities that Russell confidently exhibits.  The Board supports and believes in Russell’s abilities to create tremendous community impact in the years ahead, and look optimistically forward to his tenure.

About the Y: The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net


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