Leadership & Strategy

Leadership & Strategy

YMCA of Columbia-Willamette 2021–2023 Strategic Plan

Our Mission

To put the Christian principles of love, respect, honesty, responsibility and service into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

Place of Belonging

Everyone wants to be welcomed, to be known, to be respected, and to be loved. The social and economic impacts of COVID-19 have caused many people to experience increased stress. We believe providing a place of belonging is a starting place for the healing of individuals, families and the community.


To be the “Third Place of Belonging"for individuals in our community.


  • Adapt our physical locations to be inviting places for all
  • Expand Chaplain Services
  • Expand programming for those physically isolated due to COVID-19

Geographic Expansion of Services

Our Y is entrusted by Y-USA with a large geographic service area that includes areas of SW Washington and greater Portland. Due to limited brand recognition and physical footprint, we are inequitably serving our region and the diverse populations within it.


To use a regional model to develop relationships with other local leaders and to identify community needs our Y can help address.


  • Strengthen Board of Trustees and branch board membership to reflect to the communities we serve
  • Develop storefront Y locations
  • Serve in areas of greater racial and socio-economic diversity

Community Partner in Addressing Homelessness

The Portland metropolitan area is experiencing a crisis of homelessness, the causes, circumstances, and faces of which are varied. We recognize that no one organization alone can address the crisis, and that it is our social responsibility to get involved.


To become an active participant and community partner in addressing the homelessness crisis.


  • Develop partnerships with organizations addressing homelessness issues and proposed community solutions
  • Increase the accessibility of our facilities and programs

Organizational Sustainability

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens the sustainability of our organization. Success is dependent on the adaptability of our services, staff, and communicating our impact.


To adapt as needed to unexpected constraints and changes while building the organization’s long-term strength.


  • Create an organizational culture that quickly adapts
  • Invest in attracting, developing and retaining staff talent
  • Adopt an enterprise funding mentality

Meet Our Leadership Team 

Board of Trustees

Charmin Shiely, Board Chair Keith Mays
Dick Wingard, Secretary/Treasurer Ruppert Reinstadler
Robert Countryman Chris Rogers
Curtis Dent Dan Swift
Neil Fernando Carol Terrell
Jay Jones Bob Tomeoni
Ross Kelley Nick Veroske
Debi Laue Mike Zahniser

Executive Team 

President & CEO | Tyler Wright

Born in Kokomo, Indiana, and son of a professional ballroom dancer and bluegrass singer, Tyler has been with the YMCA in a full-time capacity since 1987. An honor graduate of the University of Southern California, he was pursuing a career as an actor and dancer until he found his calling in the YMCA movement. Tyler began his Y career as a volunteer camp director for the Wilshire YMCA in Los Angeles and has also worked at multiple YMCAs in California. He served as President and CEO at both the Helena Family YMCA in Helena, MT and at the YMCA of the Foothills in La Canada, CA.

Tyler has been a YMCA national trainer in numerous areas, was recognized by Who’s Who of America and the National YMCA as a Cause Driven leader and has led many presentations on thought leadership, design and innovation. He has served on several Y-USA task forces and national committees. While at the YMCA of the Foothills Tyler was chairman of the California State Alliance of YMCA.

Chief Financial Officer & Vice President | Denise LaRue

Denise LaRue has over 30 years’ experience in corporate business, in the area of hospitality management. Denise’s prior position was Chief Financial Officer of a northwest-based hotel chain. She received her degree in Business Administration/ Accounting from Oregon State University. She and her husband have two children.

Chief Human Resources Officer & Vice President | Katie Christianson

Katie Christianson has over 18 years of experience in Human Resources Management in various for profit business/non-profit organizations including Charles Schwab, Pacific Pulmonary Services, Restoration Hardware, Adidas, Nike, Xenium HR and National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

Katie received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Pre-Law Studies from University of Colorado at Boulder. Katie is a marathoner/ultra- runner and she and her husband have two sons, two dogs and three cats.

Chaplain & Vice President of Christian Mission Advancement | Bob Reichen

Before coming to the Y as Chaplain in 2007, Bob Reichen served in full-time ministry for almost 40 years. He served on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ and led a Church Growth Consulting ministry in New York City for 13 years. Following a move back to Portland in 1985, he served as Associate Pastor for a large church in West Portland. Bob received his Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University and has done graduate work at the New School for Social Research in New York City and at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. He and his wife Grace have two children and three grandchildren.