Veteran racial justice and local YWCA association leader, Margaret Mitchell, to head YWCA USA.
YWCA USA, one of the nation’s oldest and largest women’s organizations, announced its board of directors has selected Margaret Mitchell as their next CEO, effective January 3, 2022. Mitchell currently serves as president and CEO of YWCA Greater Cleveland, a position she has held for the past 10 years. Elisha Rhodes will continue as interim CEO until Mitchell officially assumes her position in January. At that time, Rhodes will resume her critical leadership role as chief operating officer of YWCA USA.
Mitchell’s deep commitment to the YWCA mission and social justice is evident in her many achievements. In 2019 she led the call to declare racism a public health crisis in Cleveland and throughout Ohio. She also launched a digital racial equity and social justice challenge in an effort to broaden the public’s understanding of racism in America today. In 2021, she received the YWCA USA’s Excellence Award for Racial Justice in honor of her fearless leadership, innovative programming and tireless advocacy. Mitchell has an equally impressive track record in fighting for women’s rights. Most noteworthy is her leadership operating Cleveland’s largest homeless emergency women’s shelter and launching a trauma-informed preschool for children.
“After a highly competitive nationwide search, I’m excited to welcome Margaret as YWCA USA’s next CEO,” said Tina Herrera, YWCA USA board of directors chair, in a statement. “When we launched our search in March, we began by identifying the specific criteria we knew our next CEO would need to successfully advance our mission. In Margaret, we found a leader with passion, a commitment to collaboration and building high-performing teams, and a belief that real social change is possible if we address systemic racism and sexism. We are absolutely thrilled to announce Margaret as our next CEO.”
Previously, Mitchell was the president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Cleveland and served as the vice president of business development and director of partnerships at Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Texas. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Mitchell gained valuable business experience at Menttium and in her work as a journalist. Under Mitchell’s leadership, YWCA USA will continue its mission of empowering women and eliminating racism. She will bring her thought leadership, as well as a demonstrated track record of commitment to YWCA’s mission, to meet this historic moment for YWCA USA and for the nation.
“I am both humbled and honored to have this opportunity to expand my role in advancing the mission of the YWCA,” said Mitchell, in a statement. “Like all YWCA leaders, I believe in a world where all women and girls — especially women and girls of color — are free from racism and sexism, experience justice and equity, and are able to thrive. On Day One, I will be ready to support the incredible work that our 200-plus associations are doing in communities across the nation. I am also looking forward to advancing our national advocacy agenda.”
Photo courtesy of YWCA Greater Cleveland.