Valuing Diversity and Strengthening Inclusion
Lynda Gonzales-Chavez is responsible for leading the YMCA in advancing a sustainable culture that values diversity, strengthens inclusion, and fosters community bridge-building.
As the senior vice president and chief diversity officer for YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the national resource office for the country’s 2,700 YMCAs, Gonzales-Chavez is focused on embedding diversity and inclusion practices, building staff and volunteer cultural competencies to engage underserved communities, and ensuring the nonprofit organization’s leadership mirrors the communities it serves.
Her international and domestic experience, combined with a deep understanding of history and culture, give her a unique perspective. With 28 years of global experience working with and on behalf of diverse and underserved populations worldwide, she is one of the most respected voices in the Y on global engagement practices.
She describes being a woman in her profession as an incredibly rewarding and fascinating journey. “I’m proud to work for a nonprofit that includes ‘for all’ in its mission statement and has an organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to meet the men who founded the Young Men’s Christian Association back in 1844 and what the conversation would be like!” she said.
Gonzales-Chavez has widespread experience with the Y as a staff member and a volunteer, and has held positions on the Y-USA Board of Directors and the World Alliance of YMCAs Executive Committee.
She joined the Y-USA International Group in 1999 as senior associate director, specializing in global and local-based strategies to engage immigrant, diverse, and marginalized communities at all levels of the Y. In this role, she provided support to YMCAs and communities focusing on cultural competence, inclusion practices, immigration, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse prevention, outreach to high-risk and incarcerated populations, gang intervention, conflict resolution, and life skills. She led cultural immersion trips to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America, and has represented Y-USA in more than 30 countries.
In addition, Gonzales-Chavez served as a program manager and senior gang interventionist for Youth Development, Inc., in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she worked with more than 50 gangs. She developed and implemented innovative programs for gang members that focused on cultural identity, non-violence, faith-based experience, informal education, peer mentoring, and participatory learning. “When I moved from a job as a gang interventionist to YMCA of the USA I learned that skills and experience between completely different roles are very transferable,” Gonzales-Chavez said.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of New Mexico and a master’s degree in public service management from DePaul University.
18 Comments on "Lynda Gonzales-Chavez"
Congratulations, Lynda! You are an inspirational and transformational leader! Thank you for all you are and all you do to serve others and advance #Equity #YForAll
Congratulations! An incredible achievement by an amazing woman. You truly make the world a better place for all!
Amazing! Another great accomplishment in the books, keep making strides for our communities everywhere!
Wonderful! Congratulations for this recognition and for all you do!
Brilliant! I am so proud of you, Lynda. Anyone close to you knows how much you’ve always valued your work and it is something I admire about you most. It is very nice to see you getting the recognition that you deserve!
This is a well-deserved recognition for many years of hard work and commitment to diversity and inclusion. I’m so proud of all you’ve accomplished, mi amiga. Congratulations and KUDOS!!
I am so glad that this powerhouse is on our team. Congratulations Lynda you’ve earned it and then some.
I have witnessed and seen the strong results of Lynda’s work in local communities, nationally and far beyond. One of THE most effective leaders and powerful advocates of lasting change I have experienced. A very well deserved recognition.
Congratulations Lydna for receiving this honor! It could not have gone to a more dedicated and inspirational leader!
Congrats Lynda on this terrific honor! Thrilled you are on the team to help and support YMCA’s across the country!
Congratulations, Lynda! A well-deserved honor in recognition of your inspiring leadership and innovative approaches to advance diversity and inclusion across the global Y Movement!
Lynda, I’m so proud of you and honored that I get to work with you! You are so deserving of this very special recognition – congratulations!
Congratulations Lynda! Your work makes me proud be a part of the Y movement. What an honored recognition for an amazing role model!
Congratulations on this award, Lynda! Thank you for your service to the cause of access, inclusion, and engagement for all in and beyond the YMCA Movement!!!
Congratulations on this well deserved honor, Lynda! Your leadership and vision of the role the Y can play in being a beacon of inclusion and equity during these challenging times is both inspiring and transformative. Honored to work alongside of you in service to the dream of a more inclusive, just, compassionate and equitable tomorrow. Sincere congratulations!
Congratulations Lynda! You are an amazing woman and an inspiration to all of us!
Congratulations Lynda! What a well deserved honor. You are an example for many to follow and we are excited to have a leader within the YMCA movement that demonstrates the importance of this work!
Inspiring leader, who is changing the game. We have never neede it more ! In these unprecedented times….