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Ozarks YMCA names second ever COO

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The Ozarks Regional YMCA tapped an internal veteran as its new chief operations officer, the second person to hold the role in the local group’s history. 

Kathryn Custer took on the COO role July 24. She comes to southwest Missouri with 14 years of experience in the YMCA system, most recently as executive director of the Jorgensen Family YMCA in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she oversaw a membership of 18,000 and a $4 million budget. She’s credited with increasing annual campaign totals by 40 percent as a part of a multibranch association, according to a news release. Before her time in Indiana, Custer served in the YMCA of Greater Miami and the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta.

“Growing membership is always important, it’s No. 1,” said Julie Eaton, YMCA director of marketing and communications. “But we also want to grow our financial assistance and to do that, we need to grow the annual campaign and that’s where Kathryn comes in.”

Custer succeeds Kathryn Colglazier, who was promoted in October 2015 to the then newly created COO role. She left the organization in February for the YMCA of New York, Eaton said. 

Chosen from more than 90 applicants as part of a nationwide search, Custer’s position as COO focuses on operations throughout the association. The 126-year-old Ozarks Regional YMCA has more than 25,000 members and an annual budget of over $11 million. In her role, Custer manages all facilities and programs, and is responsible for operations and growth, including 60 full-time and 550 part-time staffers.

Custer plans to align resources in the branch communities of Bolivar, Buffalo, Cassville, Hollister, Lebanon, Monett, Resident Camp Wakonda and both Springfield locations. 

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