AU Alumna Makes a Difference as Leader of D.C. YMCA
The YMCA is in a bit of everything Angie Reese-Hawkins, SOC/BA ’79, does. As President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., she is busy developing new programs; expanding existing services, and trying to secure the lasting impact of the YMCA, where she has worked for the past 28 years. But her connection to the YMCA is much more personal, and goes much deeper than her packed schedule or her extensive career. She came into her own within the walls of her local YMCA. “I was an extremely shy child,” says Reese-Hawkins. “At the YMCA I found a fun and nurturing environment, and I truly blossomed there.”
Reese-Hawkins joined the YMCA in 1986 after a stint in retail sales management and has never looked back. “I wanted to take my business acumen and invest it into the unlimited potential of the human spirit,” she says. “Once I became a part of the YMCA movement, I knew I had found a career with meaning and purpose.”
Nearly 30 years later, Reese-Hawkins is as committed as ever. She was awarded the 2008 Cyrus Ansary Medal for her extensive contributions to the D.C. community, a tribute she is unaccustomed to receiving as an individual. “The YMCA’s staff members, volunteers, and participants work together to make so many wonderful things happen in the community,” she says. Everything we accomplish is truly a collective effort.”
The YMCA is a celebration of collaboration and excellence. In many ways, it is the heart of Washington, D.C., home to programs that link the community with a range of services, from wellness initiatives to literacy and aquatics classes.
Reese-Hawkins’ belief in the community – and the role that the YMCA plays in sustaining the links people make with their neighbors and friends – are both a source of great joy and an imperative to carry on. “Being the President and CEO of the YMCA has been a positive and life-changing experience for me, and my connection to the Y is infinite and strong,” she says. Even after she leaves office, she says, “I will still be involved, and the YMCA will still be serving the children, families, and communities of the D.C. metropolitan region.”