The Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s Board of Directors have announced the hiring of Katy Leclair as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Leclair, who will assume her new role with the Joliet-based non-profit organization on July 12, will replace Jim Watts, who announced his retirement earlier this spring after 40 years with the YMCA and nine years as CEO in Joliet.
During her 18 years working for the Y, Leclair has embraced the organization’s mission and worked tirelessly to ensure that Y programs and services become more accessible to those who need them most. Before joining the Greater Joliet Area YMCA in 2013 as the organization’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Leclair worked for YMCA associations in St. Louis, Naperville, Miami, Kankakee, and Chicago. Her passion for serving the community’s youth led her to 360 Youth Services in Naperville, where she served as CEO for two years,before returning to the Greater Joliet Area YMCA in 2017.
In her role as the Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s Chief Operating Officer, Leclair provided leadership to the association’s four branches, helping to oversee operations and staff development for 500 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees. During her tenure, the YMCA’s membership and program enrollment reached all-time highs, and the organization’s operating revenue grew by more than 71 percent, surpassing $11.4 million in 2019. Leclair also managed several multi-million-dollar renovation projects, and negotiated long-term strategic partnerships with local healthcare providers, school districts, and other like-minded community organizations.
Over the last several years, Leclair has played a key role in the Morris Community YMCA’s efforts to build a new full-facility YMCA in Grundy County. Working side-by-side with Morris YMCA staff and local volunteer leaders, she helped to secure lead capital gifts from Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers and the City of Morris. Additionally, Leclair has been instrumental in leading the YMCA through its three-month COVID-19-related closure and ongoing recovery efforts, helping to secure federal relief funding and much-needed charitable support.
“We are very excited to announce that Katy Leclair has been named ournext President and CEO”said Nick Macris, Chairman of the Greater Joliet Area YMCA’s Board of Directors. “After having conducted an extensive national search, we continued to be very impressedby Katy’s professionalism, passion, and dedication for ourYMCA. Katy has been a valuable member of our leadership team for many years, and we are excited for her to take the next step in her career and lead our YMCA as we continue to advance our mission throughout Will and Grundy Counties.”
A native of Oak Forest, Illinois, Leclair was first drawn to the YMCA because of the role the organization’s mission plays in uniting people of all different backgrounds, experiences, and generations within the community. A true believer in the spirit of volunteerism, Leclair is active in several Will County community initiatives, currently serves on the board for the Zonta Club of Joliet, and has held membership in local chapters of the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs.
A former two-sport collegiate athlete, Leclair earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Webster University and a juris doctor degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University. She and her husband Steve, who is a teacher at Plainfield South High School, live in Plainfield with their son, Austin.