Julie Watkins named CEO of YMCA of the Rockies
December 29, 2015
ESTES PARK – YMCA of the Rockies CEO Kent Meyer will retire as of February 1, 2016 after more than 30 years of service to the organization. Julie Watkins, who has had a 28-year career with the YMCA, is currently serving as Vice-President of Association Advancement with the YMCA of the Rockies, and will become the new CEO.
Watkins was selected after a nationwide executive search which identified highly-qualified internal and external candidates.
"Julie has all of the background, experience, and leadership skills we were seeking," said Stephen Goldmann, chair of the Board of Directors, "but it was her passion for our mission and love of the YMCA of the Rockies that truly set her apart. I am confident that she will build upon the firm foundation that Kent left while also bringing her own unique talents and perspectives to the YMCA of the Rockies."
Watkins began her career at the YMCA of the Rockies in 1983 when she worked as a summer seasonal staff member in the food service department at Estes Park Center. After completing her degree in Leisure Studies from Iowa State University, Watkins returned to the YMCA of the Rockies where she served as the Snow Mountain Ranch Human Resources Director, Snow Mountain Ranch Center Director, and in her current role as Vice-President for Association Advancement.
Watkins has served as a board member of the Grand Foundation, as a chairman of the Church of Eternal Hills' personnel committee, as a member of the Grand County Tourism Board, and on the Winter Park-Fraser Valley Sales & Marketing Council.
As the Center Director at Snow Mountain Ranch, Watkins successfully led the organization through the devastating pine beetle epidemic of the early 2000s. Most recently, she has led the entire YMCA of the Rockies association through comprehensive long-range planning processes.
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Marlys Polson, a current member of the YMCA of the Rockies board and chair of the search effort, states that Watkins, "…brings much to the role. She obviously has a good background about our association, great leadership skills, and has such a passion for the mission. I'm confident she'll bring a great balance of understanding the past while looking for ways to enhance the future for our guests, partners, staff and communities."
Kent Meyer has had a long and meaningful tenure with the YMCA of the Rockies, beginning in 1986 as Director of the organization's Camp Chief Ouray summer camp. From there he served as Center Director at Snow Mountain Ranch and ultimately became CEO of the YMCA of the Rockies in 2001. During his time as CEO, Meyer led an extensive expansion of Estes Park Center, which included the addition of a world-class conference center and three LEED-certified guest lodges. He also led the development of yurt villages at Snow Mountain Ranch and advancement of Camp Chief Ouray, recognized as one of the best summer camps in the U.S.
"Many marks of Kent's leadership were not as visible to the public, but were critically important to the success of the YMCA of the Rockies," said Goldmann.
"These include guiding our transition to a policy governance board model, the establishment of a sustainable financial future, and helping to build a culture of philanthropy. I know I speak for all our members in thanking Kent Meyer for his outstanding service and saying that we look forward to the continuing advancement of our mission under the leadership of Julie Watkins."