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a photo of five ymca staff members who put together the international women's day vendor fair that was held at the westside family ymca

Women make up the majority of the workforce at the YMCA of Greater Rochester, playing a vital role in what happens every day across our Association. Recently, staff came together to create the Women’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) to advocate, mentor, and be a resource for one another.

“There is no better support for women than other women,” said Alyssa Tarantino, Camp Director at YMCA Camp Arrowhead and Co-Chair of the Women’s ERG. “As a woman who is building her career, I wish I had other strong, intelligent female mentors who could have given me advice and direction earlier; I want to be that for others.”

An Employee Resource Group is an employee-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-based group that is designed to support employees in specific demographics throughout an organization. The YMCA of Greater Rochester has three such groups today — African American, Women, and PRIDE.

The Women’s ERG is bringing staff from all across the YMCA of Greater Rochester, in all levels of work, together to empower them to do great things both in their careers and their communities.

“As a leader of the YMCA of Greater Rochester, I want to be part of this movement – a movement where all women throughout the Y can come and have a safe space to talk, learn, be empowered, and give back to the community,” said Kelly Mitchell, Vice President of Finance and Co-Chair of the Women’s ERG.

Part of giving back to the community includes organizing events and collection drives that will have a positive impact on women. Their kickoff event was on International Women’s Day when they organized a Wellness Fair and Vendor Showcase featuring local women-owned businesses. The goal was to celebrate the women of the community and invest in the well-being of the women of the Y.

“For me, it’s important to be involved with the Women’s ERG because I have felt and experienced the same things that other women have,” said Deb Dries, Philanthropy Coordinator and Co-Chair of the Women’s ERG. “It’s important to support local women-owned businesses, advocate for women’s liberation within and outside of the Y, and volunteer for events or organizations focused on the needs of women.”
The co-chairs and other women in the ERG believe by building a strong, connected community of women of the Y, they can have a better impact in and outside the walls of the YMCA, embodying the mantra: “Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”