New President & CEO of YWCA Cincinnati Announced

The Board of Directors of the YWCA of Cincinnati today announced that Barbara Perez will succeed Charlene Ventura as president and CEO. Perez will take the helm on August 3, 2015. Ventura will stay on to assist with the transition for a period of one month.

“The YWCA strengthens and uplifts our community, thanks to visionary leaders like Barbara Perez and Charlene Ventura,” said Nancy Lawson, chair of the YWCA Cincinnati Board of Directors. “Barbara brings deep experience and a strong record of accomplishment. She is an exceptional cause-driven leader who is committed to our mission and will lift our dedicated staff and all those who benefit from YWCA services and programs as she leads us into the future.”

Perez brings more than 30 years of progressive experience leading nonprofit organizations, fundraising, coaching and working with community leaders. Most recently she served the Arthritis Foundation as Chief Mission Officer, Great Lakes Region, implementing groundbreaking programs and providing strategic leadership to 60 staff members across nine regional offices with a budget of $9 million. She previously held leadership positions with the Butler and Hamilton County Mental Health Boards, Central Clinic and Cincinnati Behavioral Health.

“I was drawn to this position because of the YWCA’s long-standing commitment to eliminating racism and empowering women through the exceptional programs that are so important to our community,” said Perez. “There is great responsibility to ensure that we continue to build on Charlene Ventura’s legacy of leading an outstanding organization of dedicated professionals and volunteers who make this work possible. I’m honored that the YWCA Board of Directors has chosen me to lead that effort in Cincinnati.”

Perez has served as Chair, Inclusive Leadership Committee of Leadership Cincinnati and she was a 2008 finalist for Nonprofit CEO Woman of the Year, Cincinnati Regional Chamber. She holds a Master of Science from the University of Cincinnati in health planning administration and a Bachelor of Arts in social work from Concord University.

“I am very pleased with the decision of the Board,” said Ventura. “The YWCA has been in existence in Greater Cincinnati since 1868, and I feel like my stint of 40 plus years has been part of a continuum of the work of many brave women who came before me and the many more who will carry on after me. The best thing that can happen now is for our community to continue to support the important work of the YWCA under Barbara’s leadership.”

 Charlene Ventura announced her retirement in November 2014 after more than 40 years of service to the YWCA. The Charlene Ventura Power of One Endowment Fund has been established to ensure her commitment and legacy live on for generations. Under the direction and approval of the YWCA Board of Directors, this endowment fund will be dedicated annually to leverage and build capacity for YWCA programs or services.