YMCA Women: Sherri Valitchka,

Sue Pawlowski and Amy Albright

 

Sherri Valitchka, Amy Albright and Sue Pawlowski have collectively been working at local YMCAs for 65 years. These ladies are the force behind the Y’s marketing efforts in Green Bay, Oshkosh and the Fox Cities. Each bring unique strengths to the group, so when these talented women get together they’re bringing the organization closer to its mission. They’re also enjoying the camaraderie and a lot of laughs.

 

“We work together just like any other co-workers would and our friendships have grown over the years. We know about each other’s families and have seen families grow. I don’t know what I would do without this group of ladies to bounce ideas off of,” says Pawlowski.

 

She reveals they formed the regional marketing group

about 17 years ago. The group is made up of Green Bay,

Oshkosh, the Fox Cities, Manitowoc, Marinette and

Door County. They concluded it was easier to join forces to market the organizations and tell the YMCA story than to compete with one another.

A terrific trio

Valitchka, Albright and Pawlowski talk weekly and usually get together monthly. The trio collaborate on marketing ideas and leverage the power in numbers by making the most of their advertising dollars as well as securing the best deal on marketing and promotional items.

Valitchka explains each contribute something special to the team.

 

“Amy is a great copywriter and wordsmith, plus she is the best storyteller and can teach us all something of the art. Sue has so much knowledge and Y seniority. She has wisdom and passion and is involved in so much more than just marketing, so she helps us connect our work to the overall movement of the Y,” says Valitchka. “I bring experience in media buying and knowledge about production. We have made some great videos and commercials, extending our reach significantly.”

 

Marketing the mission

By promoting youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the women are able to make an impact on the community. Pawlowski

YMCA womenadds, “Our job at the Y is to help individuals and families with total wellness — spirit, mind and body. We do this by offering programs and services that directly hit all three of these areas.”

 

One of the greatest marketing challenges the ladies face is educating the community that the YMCA is more than a “gym and swim.” Valitchka says, “A lot of people think of the Y as a place to work out — a place that has a gym and a pool — but we are so much more than that. We are a charity, we raise funds annually and we give back to the community. We are a cause-driven organization.”

 

The Green Bay, Oshkosh and Fox Cities YMCAs serve over 88,000 members and tens of thousands of other community members through programs. They raise approximately $2.3 million and give out $3.2 million annually, which includes subsidizing programs.

 

Valitchka explains the YMCA is for everyone, regardless of their financial situation. No one will be turned away because of an inability to pay. “My job is to make sure that people know what is going on at the Y and that they know that no matter what their financial situation is, they are always welcome at the Y,” adds Albright.

 

Different, yet united

Albright explains the YMCAs deliver programs that are needed in the community. “Every Y in every community is different, because the needs of the community are different, although we are all trying to achieve the same thing — strengthening our communities,” she adds.

The three ladies reveal the most rewarding part of their job is seeing the impact the YMCA has on individuals and families.

 

“YMCAs are really here to serve the community, so when you see a program come to life that meets the needs of the community, it is extremely satisfying,” concludes Albright.

 

Q&A with Sherri Valitchka

How long have you worked at the YMCA?

I’ve been at the Green Bay YMCA as director of marketing and communications for 10 years.

 

What are your primary responsibilities?

My job encompasses oversight of all advertising, marketing collateral, digital media, media and public relations, brand management as well as some internal communications. In Green Bay we have a corporate structure and we (corporate) support four branches, two off-site camps, two on-site camps and we are the largest program provider of School Age Child Care.

 

What does a typical day look like?

We’re a people business so no day is typical. A large part of what I do each day is keep communications flowing and deliver information through the appropriate channels. I am also meeting and emailing with the staff I support. I spend time with vendors, community contacts and other collaborators. I always have a few marketing projects going at once.

 

What has been your greatest contribution as an employee of the YMCA?

Two of my greatest contributions here have been: 1) My work led to launching our YMCA Healthy Kids Day event off-site. Healthy Kids Day remains our largest community event that positively impacts youth and families. And 2) My contributions to the regional marketing group. I bring experience in media buying and production knowledge. We’ve made some great videos and commercials and have extended our reach significantly.

 

Tell me a little about yourself.

I was born in Milwaukee and raised in Fish Creek. College and later a job brought me to Green Bay. Early in my career I coordinated a special event where I worked with the Y. I liked the people and the environment. After one year with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and 10 years at the Weidner Center, here I am, back at the Y. My husband Luke works as a high school principal and our 15-year-old daughter Zoe is a singing, dancing, performing girl who is, dear God, about to drive! We have two dogs, Greta and Ryder.

 

What are you involved in outside the YMCA?

I am involved in the community I live in as a board member for a youth theater organization, Treehouse Theater. I am involved in the Women’s Fund of Green Bay and I’ve volunteered previously on marketing the Girlfriend’s event. I sit on an advisory committee for NWTC and have been active in the community with various community events.

 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love musical theater and I enjoy seeing live performances. I love movies too. I like to connect with nature through walks and bike rides. I like to swim (I am a pool girl though) and I have some artsy hobbies, including design and photography.

 

What is something few people know about you?

I am into new age holistic health stuff. Most people wouldn’t know that because I don’t talk about it much, but it keeps me zen through all of the chaos.

 

 

Q&A with Amy Albright

How long have you worked at the YMCA?

I have worked for the Oshkosh Community YMCA for 19 years.

 

What are your primary responsibilities?

Currently, my role is director of development and communications. The YMCA is a cause-driven organization and it is my job to connect people to the YMCA.

 

What does a typical day look like?

A day at the Y is never typical! My day might involve chatting with members over coffee, working with staff to develop marketing materials, submitting information to the media about the Y, working on special events and talking with donors about opportunities to support the Y!

 

What has been your greatest contribution as an employee of the YMCA?

My greatest contribution to the Y has been as a fund and friend raiser for the Oshkosh Y. I love connecting people to the Y and showing them the amazing impact we are having in Oshkosh and the surrounding community.

 

Tell me a little about yourself.

I grew up in Oshkosh and love our community. After going to college in Madison (Go Badgers!), I returned to Oshkosh and married my husband, who works for a family business. We are here to stay and are committed to this awesome community! My husband Bob and I will be celebrating 19 years of marriage. We have two children. Our daughter Cami is almost 16 and our son Bobby is almost 13. We live in Butte des Morts with our little dog, Scruffy.

 

What are you involved in outside the YMCA?

I am very active in the community. I’ve been involved in the PALS program, mentoring kids at Jacob Shapiro Elementary School and Winneconne Schools. I’m part of Service League of Oshkosh and most recently joined Oshkosh Southwest Rotary. One of my greatest contributions is growing the YMCA Golf Outing, an Yning Women Wine Tasting event, and raising money to support the YMCA.

 

What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about people. The potential of us as people is unlimited!

 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to spend time with my family and friends, and I enjoy entertaining, wine, reading, traveling, shopping, Lifetime for Women (guilty pleasure!) and the Green Bay Packers! (Not necessarily in that order.) I love gift-giving and making people laugh and feel good!

 

What is something few people know about you?

That is a good question — I am a bit of an open book! But, I do listen to talk radio, which as a kid I swore I would never do!

 

Q&A with Sue Pawlowski

How long have you worked at the YMCA?

I have worked for the YMCA for 36 years.

 

What are your primary responsibilities?

I am the membership and community relations director, so I’m responsible for membership, marketing and PR.

 

What does a typical day look like?

No day is typical. I have the privilege of having my office in a Y branch and with that brings many opportunities for infusing variety into a day’s work. One day I may be working on marketing goals and budgeting and the next day I may be needed to give a tour of the Y facility. I enjoy watching the kids from childcare walk through the building and listening to our YNOTS Active Older adult choir sing beautiful songs.

 

What has been your greatest contribution as an employee of the YMCA?

I feel that I contribute to the Y by being a relationship builder; I enjoy working with people of all walks of life.

 

Tell me a little about yourself.

I grew up in the Fox Cities and am very glad I stayed around this area to have the benefit of raising a family in a way many only desire to do.

My husband Brad and I have been married for 29 years. Our family consists of our son, Michael, and two daughters, Becky and Maggie, and six grandkids.

 

What are you involved in outside the YMCA?

I am involved in the:

• Community First Fox Cities Marathon Board of Directors

• St. Mary Catholic Schools Board of Trustees

• Fox Cities Morning Rotary Club

• Fox Cities Morning Rotary Board

• Fox Cities Morning Rotary Membership Committee Chair

• President-elect of the Rotary

• Menasha Park and Rec. board

I love getting involved in volunteer opportunities at my church and other organizations that involve working to better our communities. I feel that my greatest contributions is to see a project from start to finish.

 

What motivates you? What are you most passionate about?

A good challenge motivates me. I am passionate about helping others find what drives them and help them succeed. I believe in honesty and the golden rule. I work each day to succeed at these.

 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to bike, camp and take hikes. In my free time, which is not too often, I like to create simple crafts and design word art.

 

What is something few people know about you?

That I was crowned State Poppy Princess when I was 5 years old for the American Legion and as a part of that I was featured on the TV show Romper Room. I was also on Family Feud. w

 

 

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