The Board of Directors of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver has announced the appointment of a new President & CEO for the association, a respected community leader and former YMCA board member, Heidi Worthington. Worthington, who has served for over six years as Senior Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer at Pacific Blue Cross, has a long history with the local YMCA, including her position on the Board of Directors from 2017 to 2020. Worthington assumes the role from retiring President & CEO, Stephen Butz, after his incredible 42-year career with the YMCA in Canada.
Board Chair, Mary Anne Davidson, said Worthington is the right leader for a pivotal time in the association’s history. “We were fortunate to have an excellent field of candidates,” Davidson confirmed. “We feel very confident that Heidi is the right person to help us build on a strong track record of community impact and are looking forward to her leadership during an exciting and complex time. With 20 plus years of leadership experience locally, nationally and internationally, Heidi is a proven leader with deep strategy, innovation, stakeholder engagement and brand/marketing capabilities. She understands complex situations and particularly those our communities are facing. She has lived experiences with Y programs and services—from early days thriving in Y aquatics programs to relying on Y child care as a single mom to contributing to the advancement of the organization as a donor and governance volunteer—all of which have inspired her to join the Y as our new leader.”
In the past decade, through the execution of its strategic plan, the YMCA of Greater Vancouver has grown from serving approximately 95,000 people with $33 million in annual revenue, to today being home to nearly 1,200 employees serving more than 120,000+ people—at 250 locations across the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast—with expected annual revenue this year of $67 million. This growth includes the redevelopment of the Chilliwack YMCA, significant capital investment at YMCA Camp Elphinstone, and the new Bettie Allard YMCA in Coquitlam scheduled to open in fall 2022. Significant expansion in core programs such as child care, mental health and employment services has also occurred along with the transition of the Endowment Fund of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver into the YMCA of Greater Vancouver Foundation, now with total assets approaching $100M.
As the largest operational charity in BC, each year through its wide range of programs and services the YMCA helps thousands of children, families and individuals to thrive, learn new skills, improve their physical and mental health and find meaningful connection. In addition, the YMCA is the largest child care provider in the province—a critical enabler to our recovery from the pandemic. It also dedicates millions of dollars each year to assist individuals and families who would otherwise be financially unable to participate in important YMCA programs, to do so. These services and support are so greatly needed, coming out of a challenging past two years.
This, said Worthington, is what makes her so passionate about the work of the YMCA.
“I am passionate about Health Equity which I define as ensuring all British Columbians have equal access to care and support, to have the best health outcomes possible. Guided by a mission to improve health and wellbeing for British Columbians, I am proud to have helped drive initiatives to close the gap for women, new parents, retirees, and First Nations communities in BC. Like Pacific Blue Cross, the YMCA is an important partner in the building of strong and healthy communities. The Y’s mission is even broader, and I look forward to making a difference for individuals and families across British Columbia. It is an honour and privilege to return to the Y in this new role to serve our communities at a time when YMCA services are needed more than ever.”
During her time at Pacific Blue Cross, Worthington drove profitable growth and innovation for the organization. She was responsible for all revenue lines, spanning across both group and individual products. Heidi also spearheaded strategy and execution for product development, innovation, and marketing, as well as overseeing two operational teams. She holds a commerce degree in marketing from McGill University and a Masters in Arts from Kathoilieke Universiteit Leunven, Belgium.
Worthington’s appointment is effective March 21, 2022.