On March 1st, 2021, YWCA USA announced current chief operating officer Elisha Rhodes as interim chief executive officer to continue the organization’s work in pursuit of gender equity and racial justice.
A proven leader and movement builder, Rhodes is dedicated to championing YWCA USA’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women. Rhodes has spent the past 15 years supporting the organization’s strategic and operational growth and often credits YWCA USA for playing an instrumental role in her personal and professional growth. As interim CEO, Rhodes will bring the leadership, passion and experience needed to ensure YWCA USA’s network possesses the operational, fiscal and relational resources to move forward its strategic initiatives and further accelerate the mission.
The Board also announced Gloria Lau as interim chief strategy officer to support YWCA USA as a strategic advisor during this transition period. Lau is a leadership transformation expert with more than 30 years of executive management experience at leading nonprofit and financial services organizations in both the U.S. and internationally. Lau served as the interim CEO for YWCA USA from 2009 to 2012.
This decision follows January’s announcement that CEO Alejandra Y. Castillo would step down after more than three years leading the organization.
Rhodes and Lau will continue in their interim positions until the YWCA USA Board of Directors completes its national search for a permanent CEO.
Statement from N. Elizabeth McCaw, Chair, YWCA USA Board of Directors:
“There is no doubt that Elisha’s leadership will continue YWCA USA’s work to pursue a more just and equitable world for everyone, regardless of race or gender. Elisha’s steady leadership will further enhance our commitment to strengthen and support the communities we serve that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the ensuing economic crisis.”
Statement from Alejandra Y. Castillo:
“Under Elisha’s leadership, YWCA USA will continue its critical work to make our country a better place for everyone. YWCA USA absolutely will continue its momentum as a trusted partner in the fight against racism and sexism. I am deeply proud of everything YWCA USA has accomplished and excited for its future potential.”
Statement from Elisha Rhodes, Interim Chief Executive Officer:
“It’s an honor to lead YWCA USA through this transition as we continue to meet the mission and the legacy that is the YWCA movement. The strong partnership of the YWCA USA Board, Associations and national staff will ensure that our transition period is one of continued growth for the entire network. I’m excited for the work we will do together.”
About YWCA USA
YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The organization is one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over two million women, girls, and their families each year. Learn more: www.ywca.org