SHERIDAN — While Sheridan YMCA Associate Executive Director Diane Ballek won’t leave the YMCA completely, she will step down in the coming weeks from her leadership position.
She’ll shift, instead, to a part-time role at the nonprofit organization focused on youth and family development.
Ballek will work primarily in member services and the health and wellness programs.
Ballek has served as associate executive director for a dozen years, but has worked at the Sheridan YMCA for decades.
She expanded the programming in health and wellness, developed the professional staff through training and mentoring and promoted exceptional member service.
Ballek noted that the shift in her professional workload just seemed right.
“You know you reach a time in your life where you know it’s just different,” Ballek said, noting that she has children, grandchildren and other family with which she’d like to spend more time.
Sheridan YMCA Executive Director Jay McGinnis said he has learned a lot working with Ballek.
“We complement each other extremely well,” McGinnis said. “I think we were kind of twin pillars. … Our skill set is different and our focus different and our interest different.”
McGinnis added that Ballek focused on adults, while he focused on children. In more than a few situations, Ballek was the drive behind getting programs started. Those included the chronic disease programs and mentoring young leaders.
McGinnis described his right-hand colleague as humble, reserved and quiet, and a leader who emphasized knowing the YMCA members’ names.
“She has just been a hand-and-glove fit for the Y,” McGinnis continued.
Even as she makes the transition to a less demanding role at the organization, though, Ballek’s passion for the YMCA’s cause remains evident.
In speaking about her shift and McGinnis’ retirement, she repeatedly referred to “what the Y is all about.”
To her, the YMCA is about relationships.
“Without those,” she said, “people come and go.”
She said she hopes that as the YMCA undergoes big changes in the year to come — with the start of construction on the aquatic center and new leadership — that younger staff members at the nonprofit remember that point.
“Not many people can say they enjoyed coming to work every day,” Ballek said. “I can count on one hand the number of mornings I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to it. Not because of the job or the people, but because of the challenges that awaited.”