Board of Directors

A charitable nonprofit organization, our YMCA is governed by board of volunteer leaders. The Board of Directors provides oversight of our programs and operations. Comprising respected civic leaders, business owners and industry executives, clergy and philanthropists, our board members dedicate many hours of service each year to our Y to the betterment of our community. Terms of service vary, but many of our Board Members serve our Y for decades, in a variety of capacities.

 

Jonathan Manela – President

 

Kristin McKinney – 1st Vice President

Kristin McKinney joined the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s Board of Directors in 2018. In 2019 she co-chaired the Capital Campaign to raise funds for a $28M expansion and renovation project and was elected to the Executive Committee as Vice President in 2020. McKinney’s background as a non-profit turnaround specialist positioned her to drive a recent internal restructuring effort as a member of the Y’s CEO Search Committee and leader of the transition team. In addi-tion to her Executive Committee role, she currently serves as Chair of Nominating and Governance.

As an extended member of the Bedford family who founded the Westport Weston Fam-ily YMCA in 1923, Kristin views her role as a steward of the family legacy representing in memoriam, mother-in-law Lucie McKinney, Lucie Bedford Cunningham Warren and Ruth Bedford whose strength, dedication to the Y’s mission and decades-long commit-ment to the organization inspire her daily.

Semi-retired, Kristin is a writer, artist and amateur musician playing both the guitar and electric bass; she resides in Westport with her husband John McKinney who serves as Chairman of the Y’s Board of Trustees.

 

Juliane Sunderland board member headshot

Juliane Sunderland – 2nd Vice President

I grew up in Weston and some of my best high school memories were as a summer camp counselor at Mahackeno where I made wonderful and long lasting friendships. Today, my husband, Jason, and I are so grateful that all 3 of our children are learning, growing and being enriched by the Y and its values.

Our older son has played basketball, gone to Mahackeno and has enjoyed attending many of the youth nights which give young adults a safe, fun place to go, hang out, play sports and have a great Saturday night away from electronics. Our 7 year old learned to swim at the Y and is hoping to be a Water Rat someday; he has also loved being a camper at the newly renovated Mahackeno Outdoor Center.

And, our daughter who is on the competitive gymnastics team calls the new state of the art facility her “home away from home.”  The YMCA gymnastics program has had such an incredible impact on her and is truly her happy place. It has taught her the importance of hard work, dedication, determination and honestly pure grit. All qualities that will serve her well in life. But most importantly she has developed amazing friendships and her teammates are truly like sisters, rooting for each other and congratulating each other for their wins and giving each other hugs and support after tough meets.

 As a board member, I am also so grateful to be able to play a role in sustaining this incredible community organization and helping to ensure it can continue to enrich our local generations to come. This fall, I am particularly honored and excited to Co-Chair the Bedford Responsibility Fund which supports and grants funds to organizations in the surrounding area that provide direct or supplemental educational opportunities for children and young adults.

 

Kathryn Gussen – Treasurer

Katie grew up in Fairfield. She graduated from Fairfield University before moving to Chicago to attend law school at Northwestern. She earned her post doctorate LL.M. in Manhattan, where she practiced large scale corporate law before joining Morgan Stanley in 2009.

Over the past few years, Katie has focused some of her energy on more philanthropic pursuits. She and her family live in Fairfield, where she served as Chair of the Board of Assessment Appeals. She works closely with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she chairs an annual fundraiser each spring. Additionally, she volunteers with Merton House and St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in town.

She has been a long-time member of the Westport/Weston YMCA. She grew up as a member of the Water Rats swim team. She has two sisters who also live in Fairfield with their families and, among them, they have 5 children, all of whom were involved with multiple programs and activities at the Y.

 

Libby Tritschler

Libby McKinney Tritschler – Secretary

I am the 6th generation of my family to call Fairfield/Westport my home. I am the Mother of three grown children who all used the y in their youth, the oldest swimming for the WRATS. In my professional life I am a local realtor.

The Westport Weston Family YMCA has been a philanthropic passion of my family for over 5 generations. The original vision was to find a place for boys and young men to congregate – that Vision has expanded over the years, but with the same thought in mind, to enrich the community by developing and nurturing youth, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility.

I am excited to serve on the Board of Directors supporting their commitment to better serve the community and to ensure this building and the YMCA’s mission is here for the next 100 years.

 

James Adams Westport Weston Family YMCA Board Member

James Adams

The Y is more than a gym to my family, it is also an important conduit to our Westport community. Whether it’s time spent at the gym or pool, gymnastics, father-daughter dances, or day camps, the Y is where we spend a great deal of our free time and connect with local friends.

By engaging our community through the Y’s special lens of wellness and family, I know my daughters are gaining important skillsets, healthy habits, and confidence that will help them flourish as strong individuals and more engaged members of society.

I see my role – as member of the Board of Directors – as an extraordinary opportunity to help advance the Y’s unique value proposition by expanding opportunities for the Y’s members to engage and enhance the greater Westport community.

 

Jennifer Bagnato

So many of my childhood experiences include the Westport YMCA. I took gymnastics with Sally Silverstein and joined one of her first Showtime gymnastics teams traveling to perform around Connecticut. My parents and brother visited Mahackeno on weekends where I loved to explore the Saugatuck River by canoe and rope swing. The skills, challenges, freedom, and personal growth I experienced have stayed with me. The Y has formed how I think about what is important for our community of children to experience.

When my family and I moved to Westport, my kids learned to swim with the Y. They’ve enjoyed basketball and track and field classes. The Y feels like a true community where my kids can learn while I can connect with friends and go for a swim or workout.

Being a member of the YMCA Board will help me to provide support for this special community place centered on personal wellness and social values.

 

 

Diane Benke

As a lifelong swimmer, joining the YMCA was one of the first things I did when my family moved to town. It’s been an invaluable resource for our family ever since! Both of my children learned to swim at the YMCA, taking lessons and attending Hafaday swim camp. Our children have also benefited from various YMCA programs such as basketball clinics and Camp Mahackeno.

At the YMCA, I’ve found a second family in the SwimFit group and Triathlon Club. Not only do they both provide high quality, coached workouts, but they’ve also fostered wonderful friendships. We encouraged one another to improvise and continue working out through the pandemic. The YMCA community transcends the physical building and great facilities. I’ve competed in triathlons (proudly wearing our YMCA uniforms) and swimrun events with my teammates and friends.

As an active member, you can often find me in the pool. I serve on the board to give back to an organization that has given me so much. My personal mission is to share my passion for the Westport Weston Family YMCA by spreading inspiring stories of the positive impact this organization has had on the health and wellness of its members. I also leverage my marketing and management consulting experience to encourage continued innovation and growth to ensure that the invaluable services the YMCA provides will exist for future generations.

 

Brian Carey

The Westport Weston Family YMCA has been a constant throughout many distinct phases of my life. As a young child growing up in Westport, I attended Camp Hafaday, learned to swim in the old Brophy pool, and built friendships and relationships that I continue to value today. From there, I joined the WRATS swim team and truly found my Y community. Through my commitment to the team and my teammates, I honed many characteristics that serve me today including hard work (Ellen’s 5:30 AM practices during high school were tough), mental toughness and personal accountability. As a senior in high school, I was able to offer my perspective to the Board of Directors as one of the youth representatives.

After a number of years away, my family and I moved to Westport in 2019 and my involvement with the Y evolved into that of a Westport resident and parent of two young children. The incredible physical plant coupled with the caring staff has drawn our family into the Y’s numerous offerings. My son thoroughly enjoyed Camp Mahackeno this past summer and my daughter loves taking swimming lessons and using the state-of-the art gymnastics center.

I am honored to again serve on the Board of Directors. I aim to bring the perspective of someone who appreciates the rich institutional history of the Y with a view of its bright future. I hope that my involvement will contribute to the overall mission of the Y so it can be enjoyed by existing members and generations to come.

 

Alec Foege

 

John Greenspan

John Greenspan

John considers Westport his “adopted hometown” after relocating and starting a family here in 2002 with his spouse, Amie Appleton Greenspan. From the start, the Westport/Weston YMCA has been an important part of his family life here in Westport. Serving on the YMCA Board of Directors is a way for John to give back to such a special organization.

John works locally in Westport, leading investment and asset management activities for David Adam Realty, a commercial real estate firm active in Westport. Prior to joining his current firm, John gained over fifteen years of institutional real estate investment experience at both Commonfund and GE Asset Management. John holds a BA in American Studies from Trinity College, and an MBA from Georgetown University. John is an active participant in the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and is a Member of ULI’s Commercial and Retail Development Council. John is a current Board Member and past Chapter President (2016-17) for The Real Estate Finance Association of Connecticut (REFA-CT).

 

Johanna Kiev

Johanna is a Senior Asset Management Advisor to Rockwood Capital, LLC, a real estate private equity firm.  She started her career at Fitch, rating securitized loans, then moved to Morgan Stanley, before entering the world of real estate investments.  Born and raised in Paris, she moved to New York for graduate school.  After spending close to a decade in the City, she made her way to Westport 18 years ago where she discovered the Y with her husband and now three children.

When her second child was in elementary school, she realized there was a need for more programs that catered to the needs of children like her daughter’s.  As such, she approached the Y about starting programs for children with special needs, including participation in Special Olympics programming.  These programs have served many children over the past few years and she hopes the depth of available offerings will continue to grow.

In addition to serving on the Westport Y Board of Directors, her philanthropic interests include supporting medical research in congenital heart defects and various local grassroots organizations.

 

Mike Maloney

 

Dana McCreesh

I first fell in love with the Westport YMCA 15 years ago. My eldest daughter joined the Water Rat swim team and just like that, we had a new home. A new home in an old building, as she started off in the “warm pool” in the old downtown Y. We would enter through the back door to the smell of chlorine, a smell I still associate with my kids youth. Our Y time evolved as more family members began swimming, doing gymnastics and even shaving their heads at the Y, and we moved to the new building. Yet the essence of the Y remained the same – a dedication to youth development, health and social responsibility. Sixteen years ago, my family created TeamBrent, in order to fight childhood cancer alongside my now 19 year old son. TeamBrent and the Y are mission-aligned (youth development, health and social responsibility), and together we have hosted multiple events at the Y, from head shavings to family obstacle courses, raising funds and awareness to fight childhood cancer. I serve on the BOD because the Y is important to me, I love our community and together we make a difference.

 

Peter Masanotti

My family settled in Fairfield over 100 years ago. It was the best decision my great uncle ever made. I was fortunate to spend the first 15 years of my career practicing law in Southport and was active in town affairs as the President of the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, Rotary member and President of the local Jaycees chapter. During that time, I also served on the Board of Silver Hill Hospital. A career change 25 years ago resulted in my working in different locations from Tennessee to Boston to India with many other cities and countries in between. Unfortunately, my daily connection to Fairfield/Westport was lost as I became an occasional weekend resident. My recent CEO assignment in Boston ended with the sale of the company and I happily decided to partially retire and return to my home on a full-time basis.

The invitation to join the YMCA Board was both welcome and timely as I was looking for opportunities to get more involved in the community. The Westport YMCA is the perfect fit; I started swimming in a Y 35 years ago and never stopped. I am honored and humbled to be part of this organization that has served the community for generations promoting wellness and social responsibility.

 

Anjali McCormick – CEO

My Y story began almost 90 years ago when my grandfather left India and made his way to the University of Kansas where he joined the Y.  The Y today, as it was then, welcomes all, is community-centered, and focused on the wellbeing of the whole person in spirit, mind, and body.

I became a member of the Summit YMCA in NJ after moving there from NYC.  It is where I stayed fit and made friends and where my three children learned to how to swim and where they first played soccer and basketball.  More importantly, they learned about discipline, teamwork, and sportsmanship.

I started working for the Y about ten years ago.  The mission of the Y and the meaningful difference it makes in the lives of individuals and families in the communities it serves is what drew me to it.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to continue the Y’s legacy to enrich and enhance the Westport and Weston communities.

 

John McKinney – Chairman of the Board of Trustees

As the great, great grandson of Westport Weston Family YMCA’s founder E. T. Bedford, it seemed almost destined that John McKinney would steward the organization that countless members of his family, both male and female, so ardently supported. From E. T. to Frederick who purchased the Mahackeno property that is today’s Y campus, to his grandmother Lucie Bedford Cunningham Warren, his mother Lucie McKinney and his great Aunt Ruth Bedford, generations of Bedfords have dedicated their time and energy to preserving what has become a center of community life for many in the surrounding area. Currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees and ex-officio member of the Board of Directors, he is involved in every aspect of ensuring that our YMCA will be around for the next 100 years.

John proudly served in the CT Legislature as State Senator for 16 years, seven as Minority Leader. He was appointed by Governor Lamont to the Liquor Control Commission and is a permanent guest on the weekly political news show, The Capitol Report.

John is a lifelong resident of Fairfield County and resides in Westport with his lovely wife, Kristin

 

Andy McNab

Andy McNab

Along with my wife and son I moved to Westport in 2006.

We joined the Y quickly after arriving, our son joined the afterschool program and then started swimming lessons.

Swimming lessons progressed to the Westport Water Rat Swim Team and the WRATS were the center of our life for the next 10+ years.

I became involved in the WRAT Parent Club and was subsequently asked to join the Y Board of Directors . This was during the final years of the Downtown Y and during the building of the new facility at Mahakeno, so exciting times for the Y, the WRAT swim team and the Gymnastics team.

Watching John and his WRAT friends grow up was a wonderful experience. His WRAT friends are friends for life and the Y is a special place for all of us. Becket and I are still there most days, either walking around Mahackeno (six laps is three miles!) or using the facilities.

Personally, I cannot imagine our lives without the Y and I have seen what it has done for others and the community. We want to see others benefit from the Y as we have done and I am very proud to help the Westport Y in any way I can.

 

Ngassam Ngnoumen

The Y has been with us as we raised three daughters. We started with swim lessons for our 18 month old twins and never left. Through sports, camp, competitive swimming, fundraising, volunteering, and community & family events; our daughters have built meaningful relationships supporting themselves and others. Across and outside the US, the Y has been a place that welcomed and modeled inclusive leadership for our Girls, now heading to high school. Our Westport Y has touched many lives in its almost 100 years of existence.

The Water Rats swim team has been another home for our daughters since grade school. It has been meaningful to be part of our Y’s journey starting in 2015 and to bring an innovations background to support our board’s commitment to better serve our youth, families, and our community – and be here for the next 100 years!

 

Tobias Reiss-Schmidt

 

Christina Scherwin

When we moved to Westport about 6 years ago, I was looking for a gymnastics program for our children and a place, as a new mom, to get back on track with my workout routine. I was lucky to find a great community at the Y, just 5 min from our house. Today our daughter is on the competition team. She has already accomplished and experienced more than I had ever dreamed off, thanks to the wonderful coaches. Our son enjoys gymnastics, swimming, and having playdates and camp up at the newly renovated Mahackeno campgrounds.

In joining the YMCA, I found that a membership goes a lot further than any ordinary gym membership. Through generous member donations, the YMCA enhances and supports education for children and young adults in our local communities. The opportunities given to individuals and organizations are invaluable and something I am incredibly proud of as a board member.

My background is that I have been an Olympic athlete. I am immensely passionate about health, both physical and mental, for all members, and in particular for our young ones. Teaching the younger generations about the importance of an active lifestyle will help them grow as athletes and as future leaders.

 

T. George Vatis

 

Cathy Walker

When I relocated to Westport five years ago, I worked with a real estate agent who could not stop gushing about how incredible the Westport Weston Family YMCA was. She was not kidding! And then I found out the YMCA had plans to more than double its building and completely modernize all the facilities across its acres and acres of outdoor space.

Once we moved to Westport, we became one of those families that was at the Y almost every day: both of my children were enrolled in the Y’s afterschool program, my daughter competed for the Water WRAT Swim Team as well as the Westport Weston Family YMCA Dance Center, and my husband, Colin Walker, swims with the YMCA’s Masters Swim Group. Our kids also attended Camp Mahackeno. I joined the YMCA board to give back to this special organization that has done so much for my family and our town. It is a modern, inclusive, and diverse organization that brings joy to its members and gives generously to its neighbors near and far.

My professional focus is working for consumer companies (many health and wellness focused) backed by private equity firms. I build out their executive teams and help them stay competitive in this ever-changing consumer world. The YMCA Board of Directors was committed to staying at the forefront of wellness trends and making sure that this special organizations served every member of our community. I knew I wanted to be part of this special team and support our mission to make the our Y relevant for future generations.

 

Barbara Wiederecht

We moved to Westport in 1988 and the ink was not yet dry on our new home when I had already joined the Y. Moving to a new town and a new state, the Y quickly became an integral part of my new Westport life. As our children arrived, they immediately started swim lessons which became a lifetime skill and ultimately led to the Water Rat swim team. Hafaday and Mahackeno became summer highlights.

I joined the Board of Directors in 2001, had a 2-year term on Trustees and then came back to Directors. As I look back, the Y has been such a vital part of my family’s life, from nurturing my children to all of us enjoying Y activities and making friends. One of my favorite parts of my Y journey has been the opportunity to chronicle many Y events with my camera including Y National swim championships and the Make Mahackeno Happen campaign. While in the building I can usually be found taking advantage of the many fitness classes and on the pool deck officiating at a WRAT meet. Giving back to the Y has been easy as it has given so much to my family!

 

Trustees Emeriti
Paul Becker (deceased)
Ruth T. Bedford (deceased)
George H. Damman
William L. Gault
Lester R. Giegerich (deceased)
Mrs. Lucie C. McKinney (deceased)
William E. Mitchell
Allen A. Raymond (deceased)
Mark A. Smith (deceased)