Lindsey Simmons is the new CEO of the Switzerland County YMCA

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Lindsey Simmons is the new CEO of the Switzerland County YMCA

  The Switzerland County YMCA has a new director.

  Lindsey Simmons officially began her new duties as CEO on Monday morning, May 1st, and brings a wide range of experiences and expertise to the position —all of which she believes will have a positive impact on the YMCA and also the community in general.

  Simmons grew up in Madison, and attended Indiana University in Bloomington.

  “For the past six years I’ve been working in Head Start, a federally-funded preschool program,” she said. “Head Start here used to be here in the YMCA. It’s really child-focused; working with children and families and working with families who are at risk. Where I’m most comfortable is reaching those more marginalize populations. That’s where my training is.”

  Simmons said that because Head Start was a federal program, there was a lot of compliance that needed to be met.

  “That was really good for me in that position to develop just a really strong sense of fiscal integrity; so those are just strong habits to build,” she said.

  Simmons, graduating with a degree from IU in anthropology and geology, found herself in the non-profit world after doing a lot of traveling.

   “I leapt into Head Start six years ago as a teaching assistant, and just got really into how children’s brains work and how you can apply it to how an adult’s brain works,” she said. “Then just use some of my analytical background. I became the director two years ago (OVO Head Start in Madison). I would love to give a shout out to Elaina Freeman, the executive director over there, because I think she really helped me build a lot of my professional skills.”

  Simmons said that all of her experiences with Head Start really became an amazing resource for her during the interview process here at the Switzerland county YMCA, and that continued through the on-boarding process once she accepted the position here.

  “I was in a position where I was ready for a position like this — and it sounds like the Y was ready for me,” Simmons said. “I’ve done facilities management, I’ve taken care of several playgrounds. I’ve managed a large budget and I’ve been in the non-profit sector. Head Start is only as good as your partnerships, and that sounds like something that the Y board also wants to focus on.”

  Simmons said that she loves working with children and families; and she also loves working with partnerships on all levels.

  “I think what — more than anything — shined to me and made this the opportunity of a lifetime — because I changed my career to come here — was the opportunity to get to know Switzerland County; and Switzerland County has a lot of cool things going on. It seems like the best opportunity to leverage the resources that we have to greater impact the community; so I’m really interested in the community-building aspect.

  Simmons and her husband, Joseph Pietrykowski, are residents of Madison, but in her new position she’s already been busy meeting new people all around the county and looking at ways to forge new relationships while maintaining the current ones that the Y enjoys.

  “I feel super ready to be here,” she said. “I have a big task ahead of me, because I want to get it at the minute scale, you know, where every person who interacts with a YMCA staff or representative or partner just feels valued and loved. That we’re here for them as a community; but then also in a broader spectrum I’m just excited to see what programs or options or things that are already going on that we can just help make better.”