YMCA snags United Way exec as CMO

YMCA RattiSteve’s breakdown: FYI – These guys are the national resource office for the nation’s 2,700 YMCAs which serve 21 million people each year, including nearly 10 million children under the age of 18.

Great cause client!

CHICAGO, IL: YMCA of the USA, the Chicago-based national resource office for 2,700 Ys across the country, has named Valerie Barker Waller the organization’s new chief marketing officer. Waller succeeds Kate Coleman, who left earlier this year to work as a senior advisor at a branding agency.

Most recently, Waller was vice president of marketing and communications for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. Over the course of a 27-year career, she also has worked for Ameritech, Leo Burnett Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, and United Airlines, where she worked in the carrier’s marketing department. Waller also had a significant role on the team that helped orchestrate Chicago’s failed bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics that will kick off instead in Rio de Janeiro in early August.

In her new role at YMCA, Waller will be responsible for identifying and creating opportunities to build the Y brand through strategic partnerships, public engagement and collaboration with hundreds of YMCAs across the country. Waller’s appointment also comes six months after the Y rolled out its first-ever national marketing campaign that carried the tagline “For a better us.” The campaign was designed to change perceptions about the YMCA and raise awareness of the work the organization does in the areas of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

Kevin Washington, CEO of Y-USA, said of Waller’s appointment: “Valerie is the perfect fit. She has deep experience leading and elevating prominent brands, and she has delivered the kind of results we seek for the Y.”

A Chicago native, Waller holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in finance and business economics from the University of Notre Dame.


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