Daley departure: FORWARD Worthington, YMCA directors are on their way out
“My family and I have really enjoyed our time here in Worthington. We appreciate all the support we’ve gotten from people that are in the region.”
WORTHINGTON — An opportunity for one local family means changes ahead for two community organizations — FORWARD Worthington and the Worthington Area YMCA.
FORWARD Worthington Director Mike Daley has resigned effective March 29, in order to take a position in philanthropy and engagement at Texas A&M University. While Meredith Daley, executive director/CEO of the YMCA and Mike’s spouse, has not yet formally resigned from her position, she has informed the YMCA Board of Directors that she intends to leave.
“We’re happy for them and wish for the best,” said Steve Robinson, city administrator for Worthington, praising Mike’s leadership through the reorganization of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau and Worthington Regional Economic & Development Corporation into FORWARD Worthington.
“I think we have set some groundwork here that will be able to continue to serve this organization for a number of years,” Mike Daley said. “I think we have a strategic plan in place… it’s just a matter of finding who is the next best fit to fill this role.”
The next FORWARD Worthington director will serve as a point person for all things related to economic development for the region, not just the city, he explained.
He views merging the three organizations into one as his greatest accomplishment since he started more than two years ago.
“They were three different organizations with three very different visions in how they operated,” he said. “They were all doing things to better Worthington and better the region, but they were doing them separately. Now I think we have an approach and a shared vision for the future.”
The opportunity arose so quickly, Meredith said, that she hasn’t had much time to look into new positions, though she definitely does want to work once the move is made.
“It may take a little time to find a perfect position,” she said.
Whatever that new role is, it seems unlikely to start the way Meredith’s time at the YMCA did: she had to shut down the Y on her very first day at work, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve done some really great things. We have gotten through some incredibly challenging years, and we continue to stay viable, stay relevant and engage our members,” Meredith said. “Right now our membership numbers and program participants have been more than they were before COVID.”
She praised the staff for their hard work toward that goal, and said she feels the Y will continue to grow and membership will expand along with the community — a trait she said is currently “almost unheard of” at YMCAs.
“How do we serve more members, and how do we get more people in the doors? That’s probably one of the biggest challenges,” she said.
The Daleys both praised the community for its support over the years.
“I know that we will miss Worthington greatly moving forward, and we have nothing but great things to say about our time here in Worthington,” Meredith said. “And we will for sure miss all of the people here that have made these past three years really great for us.”
“My family and I have really enjoyed our time here in Worthington. We appreciate all the support we’ve gotten from people that are in the region,” Mike added. “We’ve appreciated the time we’ve had here. We’ve appreciated the community.”