An Update on our Leadership

YMCA of Central New York President & CEO Stepping Down; COO named interim leader
Bertram L. Lawson II will begin new role as President & CEO of YMCA of Greater Brandywine

The YMCA of Central New York announced today that its President and CEO, Bertram L. Lawson II, will be stepping down as of June 30th. He has accepted the role of President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, which serves the community in and surrounding Chester County, PA. Lawson had held his role with the YMCA of Central New York since February 2021.

“The Board would like to thank Bertram for the incredible work he has accomplished during his stewardship as President & CEO while leading the YMCA of Central New York,” said Bob Markowski, the YMCA of Central New York’s Board Chair and Chief Volunteer Officer. “He exceeded our expectations in elevating the fact that the YMCA is a non-profit philanthropic organization while expanding the services provided and improving the diversity of the Board all while steering us through a worldwide pandemic. He will be greatly missed, but we wish him nothing but the best in the next stop of his Y journey.”

Josh Royce, the current Chief Operating Officer, will serve as the interim leader effective June 30th for the Association while a search for a permanent replacement is conducted. Royce has over 20 years of experience working in the Y movement. He joined the YMCA of Central New York in 2022 having previously served as District Executive Director at the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, leading multiple branches including an outdoor center and men’s residence.

“The YMCA of Central New York will continue to champion the ideals set forth during Bertram’s time here,” said Royce. “He worked to highlight the achievements of our Y on a national scale through our work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and ensuring that our mission is to welcome ALL. This work was put into practice daily through the amazing staff and volunteers around our Association and we will continue to deliver on our promise to our community by providing excellence through our programs and services and working to reach more of our neighbors.”

During Lawson’s tenure, the YMCA of Central New York worked to rebound from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, growing back to over 44,000 members from a low of 26,478 in 2020. In 2022, Lawson led the YMCA of CNY’s first Annual Campaign to receive over $1 Million in contributions and, along with key staff, secured support from Micron and National Grid, among other donations and support from strategic partnerships to advance the work of providing more access to the Y to underserved communities.

Many milestones were also reached in Y programming, including the launch of the Y Achievers, a college and career exploration program hosted by the Y in collaboration with Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, and the launch of Universal Pre-K, currently serving over 125 children in 5 school districts as part of expanded Youth Development programming. Hybrid studios were created to move virtual programming beyond a pandemic response into an integrated experience to provide greater accessibility and choice for members. The Y also received Praesidium accreditation during this time, ensuring the highest standards of safety for children and vulnerable individuals. Camp programming was revamped and enhanced for greater quality. More children were served in 2022 than ever before and the Y is on track to break that record in the summer of 2023.

Lawson also worked with leadership staff to position the Y as an employer of choice through key foundational policies, including reviewing pay rates across the association and a more equitable holiday schedule. The YMCA of Central New York was chosen to be part of a cohort of 10 other Ys around the nation to develop plans to support more equitable leadership across the movement and entered into a management agreement with the Cortland Y in 2022.

In his new role, Lawson will oversee the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, a $41M dollar organization and 2nd largest YMCA Association in Pennsylvania, serving more than 52,000 members as a pillar of the community with eight locations across Chester County, Pennsylvania. Chester County is the 7th largest county in the state of Pennsylvania and home to Lincoln University and Cheyney University, the 1st and 2nd Historically Black Colleges/Universities founded in the country.

“I have enjoyed my time serving in the capacity of President & CEO for this organization,” said Lawson. “We have tremendous staff members that truly care about the well-being of Central New Yorkers. In my time, we accomplished a number of major initiatives for this organization and company. I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with many great staff members, community leaders, and key stakeholders. I want to acknowledge Bob Markowski (Board Chair/CVO) for his amazing partnership and leadership; thank you!”

The YMCA of Central New York’s Board of Directors, in partnership with Y-USA, will begin its search to fill the role of President & CEO in the upcoming weeks.

Locations: Metro Offices
Category: Y News