This Hamilton group that empowers women has a new permanent leader

Wendy Waters-Connell has been selected as the new executive director for the Hamilton YWCA. Prior to this new role, Waters-Connell served as executive director/CEO for the Quaker Heights Care Community for more than 18 years.

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Wendy Waters-Connell has been selected as the new executive director for the Hamilton YWCA. Prior to this new role, Waters-Connell served as executive director/CEO for the Quaker Heights Care Community for more than 18 years.

The YWCA has hired an executive director to be the permanent replacement for Sherri Bluester, who died unexpectedly in 2016.

Wendy Waters-Connell, 52, was voted in by the board to fill the role as executive director on a permanent basis with her first day slated to be Jan. 30. Dr. Lee Sanders of Miami University had been serving as interim but did not take on the full-time roll.

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She has been in Hamilton for almost 30 years and is a graduate New Miami High School. Waters-Connell earned an undergraduate nursing degree from Miami University through a scholarship from Fort Hamilton Hospital.

For the past 18 years she has served as executive director/CEO for the Quaker Heights Care Community of Waynesville, which she feels will help her accomplish moving the YWCA Hamilton to new heights.

“My hope is to raise awareness about the the mission of the YWCA,” Waters-Connell explained. “I will use my personal and professional journey to help promote this important work. When I am successful, there will be partnerships and funds growing the efforts to eliminate racism and empower women in Hamilton and Butler County … ultimately strengthening our families and communities.”

She added that the new position offers the challenge of discussing societal issues and finding solutions to help make gains for women and all members of the community.

“I am excited to be coming into this position because it is an intersection of race and gender,” Waters-Connell said. “At this point of my life I am ready to have those conversations and promote a mission that facilitates a better society and community.”

She said it is special to lead an organization that is located in Hamilton, where she has been since getting married to her husband Christopher (a life-long Hamilton resident and HHS grad) in 1988. The couple has two sons, David, 21, a senior at Miami University, and Jackson, 18, a senior at Hamilton High School.

The YWCA went through some tough times after Bluester died in December 2016 unexpectedly at the age of 50. She led the organization for more than six years after taking the position over in 2010 following the retirement of Sibyl Miller.

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Sanders was named interim executive director of the YWCA. She previously worked at Miami University Hamilton for almost 30 years, teaching mathematics and then serving in positions in administration. She declined to be considered for the full-time director’s post.

Board Director Liz Hayden said she was very happy to have a quality candidate like Waters-Connell as executive director and she also thanked Sanders for running the organization until a permanent replacement was found.

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