Interim leader steps in at YWCA Dayton: Meet Patricia McDonald

Search committee launching national search

Patricia McDonald, who was recently announced as the interim president and CEO at YWCA Dayton, is coming to the organization with 30 years of experience as an executive and helping non-profits in transitions.

She has been an interim CEO at two other local nonprofits — Dayton Society of Natural History (which includes Boonshoft Museum of Discovery) and Dayton Performing Arts Alliance.

“I have found in the other two experiences, I’m bringing a lot of that knowledge, that experience, that leadership of stewarding nonprofits along a path of transition,” McDonald said.

“Mission is not a statement on the wall, it’s how you live it. My purpose when I was at the Boonshoft Museum, as well as when I was at the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, was really to help steward the mission (and) encourage the teams, who are phenomenal here.”

YWCA Dayton’s Board of Directors has established a search committee to seek its new leader in a national search. YWCA Dayton’s mission is being dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

YWCA Dayton is Montgomery County’s only domestic violence shelter. The organization offers other housing programs related the shelter, such as permanent apartments for women coming out of homelessness, a home-share program, and transitional housing. YWCA Dayton offers its Center for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Montgomery and Preble counties while operating a 24-hour crisis hotline.

McDonald’s appointment comes after the previous YWCA Dayton CEO, Shannon Isom, resigned to accept a position as president and CEO of Community Shelter Board in Columbus. Isom had been the CEO of YWCA Dayton since December 2013. Her resignation was effective Jan. 6.

“She’s left a wonderful legacy. She made unbelievable strides to grow, expand, build this organization to what it is today,” McDonald said.

Kaitlin Schroeder, marketing and communications manager for the YWCA Dayton, said it was hard to overstate Isom’s commitment to the YWCA’s mission.

“YWCA is one of the oldest nonprofits in the region. We’ve been a fortress in this community for 150 years,” Schroeder said. “We’ve been through many leadership changes. We’re going to go through another one, and we’re a timeless organization that’s ready for the next leader.”

McDonald plans to work with YWCA Dayton for however long that search takes. At one of the previous nonprofits she worked at during a time of leadership transition, what they thought would be a 90-day transition turned into 18 months due to COVID-19.

“In both cases I said, as long as it’s necessary for the board to find the right person that they feel is going to fit into the role, I am happy and pleased and committed to being in this role as the interim president and CEO,” McDonald said.

McDonald has previously been recognized by the YWCA Dayton and named a Dayton Magazine 2019 Business Hall of Fame Inductee and a Dayton Business Journal “Power 50″ Most Influential Woman honoree. She has also served as an adjunct professor for the online MBA program at the University of Dayton.

“My connection to the YWCA goes back to 2007 when I was nominated for the Women of Influence Award,” said McDonald, who has also received YWCA’s Marsha Froelich Survivor Award. “I’m very, very proud of that, and that opened the doors for me to get to know executives here at the time. And since then, I’ve been very connected.”

McDonald also worked as the market president of KeyBank for the Dayton Region and retired in 2017 after 30 years as a local and regional bank executive. McDonald also has 30 years of experience volunteering and serving on local nonprofit boards.

“I’ve spent 30 years in this community doing work as a volunteer at lots of nonprofit organizations,” McDonald said. “After my retirement from my professional career, the opportunity to bring some of those skills to the nonprofit on the other side of the board table was really exciting for me and I really felt like I was bring expertise in a variety of ways to each one of the organizations and here at the (YWCA). I feel as though that’s my niche.”

McDonald said she also planning to hand off the reigns of the organization to whomever the search committee decides is the right permanent fixture for the YWCA Dayton.

“I feel like this is number three. It may be my last opportunity to do this. I don’t feel like I’m ready to retire for the fourth time and not do anything else after that, but we’ll see,” McDonald said. “I will be happy to … hand over a well-honed group of individuals and organization to the next leader when the time is right.”

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