Justine Boyd, a community leader who served as the YMCA’s CEO for the last eight years, ended her post on Aug. 22. She has been a major force behind the YWCA of Greater Atlanta and will leave a legacy of excellence and empowerment for women and their families. The YWCA of Greater Atlanta, whose mission is to empower women, eliminate racism and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all, has appointed Sharmen Gowens as its interim CEO, effective Aug. 23. Gowens is the current chairman of the board of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta and has been a board member since 2009. Boyd has accepted the executive directorship of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of Atlanta, another nonprofit. Jackie Parker, president of the Newell Rubbermaid Foundation and vice chairman of the board of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta, will serve as chairman of the board. Prior to accepting this role, Gowens was the community relations manager for lifestyle marketing agency Liquid Soul Media where she worked closely with nationwide community leaders to engage them in community-related projects. Gowens also held numerous positions at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, including community engagement manager where she managed the company’s community relations initiatives and programs. “Sharmen is a seasoned professional with more than 33 years of business and community expertise. She has a proven track record of supporting and enriching the Atlanta community,” said Parker. “We are thrilled to have her on board as the interim CEO and look forward to the success she will bring to the YWCA of Greater Atlanta.” According to a recent release Boyd joins the Komen For the Cure organization as executive director, effective Monday, Aug. 27, and brings with her 17 years of project management and fundraising experience. “We are excited to welcome this outstanding professional to the Komen Atlanta staff,” said Karen Bragman, Komen Atlanta board president. “She is a very active member in our community and her experience with healthcare disparities and social justice for women will be fundamental to helping our organization fill breast healthcare gaps in the Metro Atlanta area.” Boyd’s previous professional roles include assistant general manager of external affairs at the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and county clerk at the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. In her earlier roles, Boyd practiced leadership in fundraising, community relations, nonprofit management, private/public sector partnerships and government administration. In addition to her professional expertise, Boyd has received numerous professional accolades. In 2011, she was given the Atlanta Dream Inspiring Woman Award and was named one of the Business to Business Women of Excellence. During her tenure, Boyd increased program effectiveness and capacity, co-created Women History Month Fireside Chats with the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, and established the first endowment in the history of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta (Bettie Brand Mothers’ Endowment Fund). Under her leadership, the organization won the prestigious YWCA Racial Justice Hallmark award.
An executive search committee is currently in place to lead the search for the new CEO while Gowens serves as interim CEO.
Join the YWCA of Greater Atlanta on Sept. 13 at the Georgia Aquarium for its annual fundraiser, “Open Your Purse,” which supports its life-changing Women in Transition Program for homeless women and their children. For more information, visit www.ywcaatlanta.org/open-your-purse.
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