From Crossfit world beater to the YMCA…

Volunteer blogger Beka Sharrock has been getting to know some of the personalities who make up the senior leadership team at Calgary YMCA, finding out what drives them to work for the YMCA and the person behind the job title….

Name: J. Kelly Smith

Job title: Senior Vice President Operations Association Services

Job description: I work with the seven general managers of the branches who report to me. I am also responsible for working on things that will help us accomplish our strategic plan.

Background: I have been with the Y for the past 14 years. I worked for an international pharmaceutical company in Montreal before joining the Y.

The best part of my job is: I enjoy getting out and meeting people in the community. A large part of my job is meeting people in the community and all levels of government. So it sets the framework for what I can do in the future. You are always looking at the day to day running of things if you do not look forward.

The most challenging part of my job is: keeping an eye on that future direction and where we want to go and having everybody moving towards that, keeping everybody on the same page. And it is a pretty big page, five to 10 years out. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it does not.

If I wasn’t working at the Y I would be: doing this somewhere else! What is nice about this is you can be chief cook and bottle washer. You can set the stage that people take over and run.

The best piece of advice I was given: to follow your instinct and get things done, as a team work very hard.

Five words to describe me: competitive, teamwork, drive, passion, sporty.

Not a lot of people know that: I came 26th in the world for my age group in the Crossfit Games Open Section last year. I also enjoy running and have completed several ultra marathons of 100km.

Weakness: It’s yet to be determined!

What the Y means to me: I have been here a while now and it has been a career and it has turned into a life for me. We give a lot of responsibility to people at a very young age in terms of leadership. We are excellent at that. We have had many participants in youth programs who have gone on to do amazing things and I like seeing that.