On February 14, the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, a branch of the YMCA of San Diego County, officially named Anna Arancibia as its new executive director, concluding a nationwide search that began in July.
When former executive director Michael Brunker took on a new role at the association level for the San Diego Y in July 2019, Arancibia was named interim executive director during the search that lasted roughly seven months.
Throughout the process, however, Arancibia emerged as the clear choice for the position, having worked at the Jackie Robinson Y for 16 years, six of them as the associate executive director.
“I’m really thrilled and excited to be able to lead in this capacity,” said Arancibia. “I want to make sure everybody who walks through our doors feels welcome and feel like they’re part of a family. I’m very passionate about making sure we create that culture within our Y.”
This promotion is a natural progression for Arancibia, who has spent 16 years rising through the ranks of the Jackie Robinson Y. After joining the Y as a site supervisor for afterschool programs, she has since worked as a sports director, youth programs director, outreach director, membership director, associate executive director and interim executive director, until finally being named executive director.
“My No. 1 strength is adaptability,” said Arancibia. “I’ve been able to adapt to different situations and whatever opportunities come up. Early on, I was a site supervisor, then this position for a sports director came up, and while I loved sports, I didn’t initially have experience running a sports department. But I took it and ran with it.”
Because of her long tenure with the Jackie Robinson Y, Arancibia understands and resonates with members. She is also in a perfect position to lead the branch in meeting the community where its needs are.
“I’m a familiar face at my particular Y because I’ve been here so long,” said Arancibia. “The relationships I’ve developed throughout my years at the Jackie Robinson Y have made it really exciting to see what will happen. Kids I used to have in my programs are now bringing their kids, so it’s a wonderful family experience.”
Moving forward, Arancibia hopes to implement more creative ways for her branch to take its services “outside the four walls,” as well as break ground on a new pool for the facility. These developments, along with the appointment of Arancibia as the executive director, point to a bright future for the Jackie Robinson Y.
The key to Arancibia’s success, and the biggest lesson aspiring leaders can learn from her, is simple: put in the work. “Put in the work and serve more,” she shared. “If you put in the work, you can actually do it. For me, this is a ‘wow’ moment. I’ve put in the hard work, passion and love, and now I have this position, which is super exciting.”