The YMCA of Central New York has just welcomed a new President and CEO and for the first time, an African American is serving in the position.
“It means a tremendous amount to me and my family” says Bertram L. Lawson II, who officially took over in February. “As some may know, times for African Americans in our country have not been always the best but this to me helps to bring some light to say how things are going, where we are going futuristically. I’m very happy about that.”
Lawson II says he’s spent much of his time getting to know the Y’s staff and learning about their programs and facilities. He’s already discovered one area that the YMCA of Central New York can help with.
“There’s a lot that the YMCA can do to help fill the gap in youth development from career exploration, college exploration as well as trade and vocational exploration” Lawson II says. “There’s a lot of job opportunities out here for young people. They just need to be aware and exposed to those different options.”
Lawson II has also been learning how the YMCA of Central New York has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, as he will help determine how they move forward.
Prior to coming to Syracuse, Lawson II was the Chief Operating Officer of Mastery Charter Schools Network in Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ. His experience also includes more than 20 years of service to other YMCA’s.