Chief executive of SLO County YMCA to retire in April

jlynem@thetribunenews.comJanuary 3, 2013 

Jenifer Rhynes

COURTESY PHOTO

Jenifer Rhynes, chief executive officer of the San Luis Obispo County YMCA, is retiring.

Rhynes, 55, stepped into her leadership role at the SLO County YMCA in October 2001 after leaving her post as CEO of the YMCA of Orange, where she had worked for 12 years. In all, Rhynes, whose work has included fundraising, staff development, program expansion and collaboration with other community organizations, has more than 32 years of experience with the YMCA organization.

Her last day will be April 1, which also happens to be April Fool’s Day and her son, Matt’s, 30th birthday, said Rhynes, playfully.

“I had really planned to retire right about now for the past 10 years or so,” said Rhynes. “It was just a matter of figuring out when was a good time to make that transition.”

Rhynes, who enjoys gardening, home improvement and caring for her four horses, has no concrete plans following retirement. She said only that she would like to nap, fulfill her duties as president of Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, hike every trail in San Luis Obispo County and connect more with friends.

Rhynes said one of her greatest accomplishments was helping to build “an organizational culture that thrives and responds and meets people where they are.”

The open communication, responsiveness and compassion, she said, are reasons why the YMCA’s programs have worked well for people, no matter what their interests or where they live in the county, she noted.

She believes the county’s YMCA is poised to grow and thrive long after her retirement, whether it’s building additional facilities in the county or taking on a new program emphasis.

“There’s no history to resolve, only forward thinking,” Rhynes said.

Rhynes plans to leave her successor a four-inch notebook filled with best practices and an explanation of how the organization’s many partnerships have fallen into place over time.

Rhynes does not know who the next CEO will be, saying there will be a nationwide search and a selection done by the local board.

“As I tell people, this job sounds fun, but it’s really complicated,” she said. “I’m trying to weave the fabric together so it’s more straightforward.”

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