With a master’s degree in wellness management and having made a career of helping families at the YMCA, Sara Robinson-Holmes recognizes that the community and people she interacts with daily have empowered her to be a better leader.
“I attribute much of my growth over the years to witnessing children and families coming together to experience first-time achievements, such as learning to swim, finding their path in sports or learning to read in our camp programs,” says Robinson-Holmes. “Being at the Y allows me to witness the joy of seeing families create healthy habits and parents serving as role models for their kids.”
Looking to the future, she adds, “I know that we, as an organization, and I, as a Y leader, can continue to strengthen our efforts to support families of this community as we navigate increased mental and physical health challenges brought upon by the pandemic.”
Executive Director, Downtown District
Samantha Marez’ experience with the YMCA started when she was 17 years old, working with the after-school and other youth development programs. She loved developing relationships through her work and continued working at the Y while earning her business degree.
As she states, “I worked in different departments, gaining knowledge and experience and found a passion in just meeting and connecting with people. I knew very early that I wanted to be a servant leader and give back to those in the community, and the Y allows me to do just that.
“At the Y, we are here to serve all and that is what I love the most. There is not another place in the community where I get to connect with so many different people with so many different backgrounds. I find so much joy getting to know them and connect them to others that could make a difference in their lives.”
Her experience at the YMCA has come full circle, with her children now enjoying the YMCA and its services.
“How cool is it that you can bring your family to one place that has something for each of them to enjoy!” said Marez. “I grew up in the Y and my kids are growing up the Y. The Y is families serving families!”
Executive Director, Midwest City
Originally from Dallas, Christin King received her degree in strategic communications from UCO in Edmond. After working in fashion in New York City, then at a full-service advertising agency in Oklahoma City, King says about her current position: “My passion for marketing and strategy has never been as rewarding as it has been here at the YMCA. Here, the return on investment (ROI) is not measured by the bottom line but is more about the impact the organization has on families in the communities it serves. That is very rewarding to me.”
In interacting with the families impacted by the YMCA’s programs, King hears every day about the difference the organization makes. One particularly powerful story came from a single mom who told King how the financial assistance she received for childcare saved her job and kept her family from being homeless.
King adds, “I was even hired when 8 months pregnant, and having our two daughters at quality, affordable child care at the YMCA means I can provide meaningfully to my family and our community.”
Vice President of Communications
In her position, Lacy Kendrick may not be on the frontline every day with Y members, but she works hard behind the scenes to make sure anyone who wants services from the YMCA gets them.
“My team is tasked with seeking partnerships with individuals and businesses who are just as invested in the health and wellness of our community as we are,” said Kendrick. “Their generosity allows families the access to our services they may not have the ability to pay for otherwise.
“From childcare to swim lessons to fitness programs, we are a place for all. I am excited to get up each day and go to work because of the two most important words of our mission statement: for all. We are a safe space for every single person in our community, regardless of gender, economic status, family structure, religion or physical abilities.”
Kendrick is passionate about service to others, having observed her parents, who were heavily invested in their community, and now, along with her husband, working to instill that sense of purpose in her own two sons.
Vice President of Financial Development
YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City
Over 14 locations in central Oklahoma