HOLYOKE — The Greater Holyoke YMCA has named Conor Bevan as its new CEO following a five-month search and have found a new head for the organization with deep roots to the city and its YMCA.

“Life has come full circle for me. I was at the YMCA at the early age of two before there was any child watch program,” Bevan told Reminder Publishing.

With his mother working nights, Bevan’s grandparents would often bring him to the Holyoke YMCA while watching him to get a workout in. This is where Bevan would eventually become immersed in the community that YMCA’s foster as he quickly met so many people as a young child.

“I was very fortunate a group of senior citizens would watch over me and taught me how to play checkers,” Bevan said. “That was my first introduction to the Y and then it morphed into a passion for health and wellness, a passion for community, a passion for civic engagement and volunteerism. I’ve met lifelong friends and mentors, and I was really given my wings to fly. My entire childhood was spent at the YMCA and I owe a tremendous amount to the organization.”

Bevan will succeed Kathy Viens who is set to retire from the position. In this new role, Bevan will be responsible for positioning the Y as a vital partner for community change, implementing a strategic plan, fiscal management and more.

“During our search for a new CEO, we looked at candidates from throughout the country, but Conor Bevan stood out among the rest. His energy and vision for the Greater Holyoke YMCA is exactly what we were looking for in a leader,” said a statement from the YMCA’s Board of Directors.

Bevan comes to the YMCA with 14 years of experience in the nonprofit world, just coming off serving at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford as the Chief Operations Officer for more than two years. While in that role, Bevan increased total youth served and average daily attendance by 85%, received national recognition for organizational safety standards, and formally launched three new program focus areas rooted in DEI, STEAM and Workforce Readiness across nine sites.

“With Conor’s experience leading the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford as their Chief Operations Officer, passions towards the Holyoke YMCA and youth programming, we are convinced that the Greater Holyoke YMCA will have fantastic leadership for years to come,” said the board.

Prior to this new position with the Holyoke YMCA, Bevan had leadership roles at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke, Springfield Boys & Girls Clubs, Berkshire Health Systems and as a civilian lead contractor for the Navy. He also has a bachelor’s degree from Skidmore College and a master’s degree in Public Administration in Nonprofit Management from New York University.

“When the opportunity presented itself in Holyoke, a community that I’ve lived in my whole life and literally grew up going to, my heart was full of joy,” Bevan said.

Bevan said the YMCA gave him a sense of belonging outside his home as a child as it exposed him to the value of community, the value of mentors and healthy relationships, and feeling connected with others in the community. He added these lessons learned while growing up helped develop him into the person he is today.

“It was a second home, it was a home away from home,” Bevan said. “My hope is to further that mission. To continue to make the Greater Holyoke YMCA the epicenter of health and wellness. The epicenter of family enrichment and community engagement. It’s people that make the YMCA a special place and my hope is we’ll continue to welcome all people throughout the greater Holyoke region who believe in health and wellness and bring them together so they can have the same type of community and sense of belonging that I was given.”

Bevan added he was beyond grateful for the opportunity and thanked the YMCA’s Board of Directors and the community for entrusting him with the opportunity to lead the YMCA.

Bevan also advocated that anyone interested in joining or learning more about the Holyoke YMCA should visit on Saturday, April 6 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. for its annual Sneaker Peek event. The event serves as an evening of supporting, honoring and strengthening the community.

According to Bevan, the event serves also as an annual Open House event for the YMCA and a ceremony where the Oldershaw Community Service Recipient is announced as well as the Distinguished Service awardees. The event will have a food and cash bar leading up to the program’s start at 7 p.m. It is free to get in and RSVPs are required by March 30 to jchartier@holyoekymca.org or 413-534-5631.

“It’s meant to celebrate the work of our board, the work of our team and thank amazing members in our community who have gone above and beyond to further ambition,” Bevan said.

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