July 24, 2009

YWCA lays off executive director

Shelley Bobb was laid off as executive director of the YWCA seven months after she took over the nonprofit organization.

Terri Friedrich, who owns the local business Custom Employment Solutions, is taking over the YWCA as volunteer executive director. Friedrich will be unpaid.

"The board tried to keep her (Bobb), but we couldn't afford her," Friedrich said.

Bobb moved to Racine in January from Madison. She had worked for 25 years as a Lutheran pastor.

Along with her business, Friedrich is an adjunct professor at Gateway Technical College. She also sold an earlier business that she'd started.

Friedrich said she hopes to stay on as executive director until the YWCA stabilizes its finances.

"I'm here to help the the Y crawl out of their hole," she said.

The YWCA has gone through major changes in recent years. Once located Downtown, the agency sold its building and split into three programs: Youth Education, the Empowering Women Center and the Riverbend Nature Center. It also replaced former Executive Director Debbi Embry with Bobb.

While Bobb leaving is another major change, there are signs of hope, Friedrich said.

YWCA's Kids Klub recently won a prestigious award, Riverbend turned a profit in recent months and the Empowering Women Center received a contract to work with the state's Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Friedrich also noted that canoe and kayak rentals are available daily from 8:30-4:30 p.m. at Riverbend for $5 an hour with a two-hour minimum. You need a driver's license and credit card for the rental.


  1. And the director who did all those great things gets fired...

  2. Surely there is more to this story...Bobb is a talented and extraordinary leader. The hiring and firing of directors ends up looking like complete board ignorance and incompetence.

    Does anyone care about the manner in which this once great organization has been destroyed by ineptitude?

    Clean house. New board needed.

  3. Yeah, looks like they got rid of the person responsible for turning it around. Not good.

  4. look at how many directors have been let go of both the ywca and riverbend. the boards hires these directors and then claims they have no $$'s to pay for them. They don't keep them long enough to learn the community and gain traction. Someone needs to go and I would start with the president of the board.

  5. In the past 2 years the YWCA has lost excellent directors, a long time asst. director and several good board members. as another blogger stated....ITS TIME FOR A NEW BOARD. Let's start by getting rid of Julie Craig. She's the cancerous cell and has been for years.

  6. I agree, clear out the good 'ole girl YWCA board. The downward trend began with the YWCA spending the River Bend endowment for general operating expenses with little or no thought of the consequences. Whoever takes the helm has to acquire some core, active members to sustain the few human service programs. These programs have been attracting very few participants (>10) which is hardly the type of programming to sustain an agency.

  7. Who elects this board? Do they not take issue with these decisions?

  8. Hopefully, the YWCA board realizes that they have damaged the YWCA brand here beyond repair. As others have already noted they have fired a number of good staff and directors over the past few years. Each one fired has reduced the image of the brand. Rather than continue the death watch the Board should shut it down and find something else to do.

    It's time to call it over on this one.

  9. The recent director at River Bend was on her way out anyway. the acting lead person is doing an unbelievable job in light of the circumstances. Looks like it is time to shut all of the ywca ops down and start over completely.