Wednesday, June 29, 2011

YMCA names interim CEO

Boise executive and local professional to lead facility during transition stage

Express Staff Writer

Jason Fry

An interim CEO for the Wood River Community YMCA has been named, as a nationwide search for a permanent replacement gets under way.

Cliff Naumann, executive director of the Downtown Boise YMCA, will be interim CEO for two months, working closely with Jason Fry, who previously served as the Wood River YMCA associate executive director. After two months, Fry will take over the role for one year as a CEO search is conducted, according to a news release issued Monday.

"The Wood River Y is working to improve its efforts to provide affordable individual and family programming and services to the whole community with focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility," the release states. "As part of this process, the new leadership will be talking extensively to the local community to determine its needs in the above areas and to grow its scope and reach in the valley."

Board Chair Alex Orb said Naumann will be an asset during the transition.

"I'm extraordinarily impressed with Cliff's ability to be on the fast track and understand all aspects of the Y," he said in an interview.

Former Wood River Community YMCA CEO Teresa Beahen Lipman stepped down in May. The senior program director, Kat Vanden Heuvel, had been acting as interim director of the Ketchum organization since Beahen's departure.

Orb said the candidate search will be conducted nationwide, but that does not exclude local applicants.

He said a qualified candidate will understand the YMCA at all levels, not just day-to-day operations. He or she also will have an understanding of donor relations.

"All nonprofit organizations have to fundraise and be very good at understanding a customer base," he said. "That's a big responsibility."

While board members typically are involved in fundraising, employees have a significant role to play.

"We are the voice, they are the face," Orb said of staff. "The board should be in the background helping every way they can, but the employees are running it."

The new CEO also will have to focus on members' experience, he added.

"Make members feel like they're getting even more than what they need out of the Y—more than their money's worth," Orb said.

He said that although a year has been set as the deadline, a CEO could be hired sooner, though "we're not going to rush into it just to fill the position."

Fry has served as production manager at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. In 2009, he started Peak Productions LLC, producing events such as the Sun Valley Center for the Arts Wine Auction, concerts, the Y Classic and this year's Sun Valley Shakedown.

He earned a Master of Science degree in exercise science from Ithaca College and is a certified personal trainer through the International Sports Sciences Association.

"I think Jason is excellent," Orb said. "If we can convince him to stay with us, we'd love to do that."

Fry declined to say whether he could be persuaded.

"One day at a time," he told the Mountain Express.

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