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Bertram L. Lawson II Appointed President and CEO of the YMCA of Central New York


On February 8, 2021, Bertram L. Lawson II stepped into the role of president and CEO of the YMCA of Central New York.

Previously, Lawson served as the chief operating officer for Mastery Charter Schools Network, a $250 million non-profit organization. He was overseeing all aspects of non-instructional school operations, school budgets, sports, extra-curricular programming and student enrollment for 24 campuses.

Prior to this role, Lawson was recruited by the Y in Central Maryland to serve as their senior vice president of operations, providing leadership to three health and wellness centers, 20 day and resident camping locations, youth development, 20 community schools and mentoring programs while supervising two vice presidents and a district executive director.

Lawson also served the Y for over 21 years, including in Philadelphia, with significant operational, membership, grant delivery, partnership, fundraising and program experience.

“Bertram’s past experiences in the Y movement will enable him to immediately assess the Y’s role in the post-COVID environment in our community and act to provide services that will address those needs,” said Fran Nichols, the YMCA of Central New York board chair and chief volunteer officer. “He is highly collaborative and we see the opportunity to create partnerships with other not-for-profit organizations, the city and county, schools and our members to improve the lives of those in Central New York.”

Lawson holds a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University and is currently working toward a MBA from Wilmington University. He holds multiple Y-USA certifications and is a graduate of Y-USA’s Multicultural Executive Development Institute and C-Suite Next Level Coaching Programs.

He serves on various boards including BanksGiving, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in the eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware region. He has also served on national YMCA committees including the membership taskforce, diversity inclusion leadership council and multicultural advisory committee.

Lawson is the immediate past national chair for the Y-USA’s African American Employee Resource Network. He is an active member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. where he was initiated via Beta Chapter in 1996. He is also a husband and father of four children.

“As I embark on this new journey leading the YMCA of Central New York, I look forward to us being true change agents and a community convener that focuses on positively impacting the Central New York region,” said Lawson. “This opportunity brings me great joy because it will allow me to work in a capacity that can bring forth programs and services that help people to grow and thrive.”

Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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