Why an all-female board? Despite many gains made over the last several decades, women remain underrepresented on executive boards at all levels. Among 71 percent of Fortune 1000 companies, women occupy less than 20 percent of board seats (the rest have female board representation of 20 percent or greater). At small nonprofit organizations (budgets less than $25 million), women make up 45 percent of CEOs and 43 percent of board seats. At large nonprofits (budgets $25 million and up), women make up 21 percent of CEOs and 33 percent of board seats.*
The YWCA offers an opportunity for women to develop leadership skills and have a real voice in the organization’s management at the executive and board level through maintaining an all-female board and a female executive director. This empowerment carries over into other areas of life. Many former board members have expressed that their experience on the YWCA board has provided them with experience and skills to enable them to pursue other leadership positions and contribute to other organizations in the community. The guidelines for all-female boards and executive directors are set forth by the YWCA USA.
*Information from 2020 Women on Boards, 2020wob.com.
Kelly Alsedek, Co-Vice President
Kelly Alsedek was born and raised in Harrisburg, PA. She is a graduate of Gettysburg College, with a major in biology and minor in art. After pursuing graduate study in art and design, she worked for several years as a medical illustrator at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and then, as a graphic artist for public television affiliate WPSX-TV in State College before moving into higher education communications.
Kelly returned to Gettysburg College in the early1980s to work in the public relations office, then moved on to positions at Dickinson College and then Lebanon Valley College, where she served as director of publications and associate director of marketing and communications. Kelly retired from Lebanon Valley and moved to Gettysburg in 2013. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Y and found it to be a great resource as she became integrated into life of the community. She serves on the Communications Committee and Board of Directors of the Land Conservancy of Adams County, as well as the Gettysburg College Alumni Board of Directors. Kelly’s significant other, Ken Ross, lives in New Cumberland, PA. They met 6 years ago at a dog park—thanks to their Portuguese Water Dogs—and discovered they had many other interests in common. Their current Porties are Madigan and McDougall.
Lyne Aurand, Co-Vice President
Lyne graduated from Shippensburg University with an elementary degree and received an administrative certification from Penn State University. She taught in the Gettysburg Area School District for 40 years where she served on many district committees.
During her teaching career, she helped write grants, presented workshops, and designed programs. The Lincoln Elementary Activities Program (LEAP) and Girls Robotics were a partnership between the YWCA and local elementary schools to provide opportunities for children. Presently, Lyne is a Supervisor of Student Teachers at Gettysburg College. Since retirement from GASD, Lyne is serving the community by volunteering with St. James Lutheran Church and Gettysburg Optimist Club and wherever needed (Ruth Harvest, Cares, etc.) Lyne enjoys playing cards, dancing, traveling, and the beach. She lives in Gettysburg with her husband, Daryl, and spends as much time as possible visiting her two daughters, two granddaughters and family.
Leigh Magraw Ayers
Leigh was born and raised in Gettysburg and is very familiar with the work of the YWCA. She participated in Leadership Hanover in 2016, a unique leadership program focused on discovering and developing the leader within yourself. Leigh is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Gettysburg, a community organization made up of men and women who share the goal of serving the Gettysburg and Adams County areas through service to children and the community.
She has a passion for advocacy and recently volunteered with the Day of Transformation, an event focused on helping women who are aspiring to make a change in their lives and could use a helping hand to gain confidence and guidance for a better future.
Professionally, her career has been spent working in both the non-profit and for-profit world which has taught her a lot about the issues individuals and families face. She truly enjoys helping people and strives to make a positive impact on her community in the short term and for the future.
I’m very happy to be asked to join the YWCA board, a place where I have come to find community and encouragement for as long as I have lived in Gettysburg, since 1999. I swim, I tried yoga for several years until my knees and my poor technique did me in, and I have also stepped up and enjoyed spin classes.
My personal geography started in Sweden, and went through Minnesota, Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, before coming to Gettysburg. I’m a Lutheran pastor working as a professor at United Lutheran Seminary, teaching modern religious history, and that means everything after 1600. This has been a good field for my often distracted and over stimulated appetite for reading, reading, reading. Right now I am learning a lot about Russian history. I’ve already told my students, so they cannot be shocked, that during a period of top down reform, including the instruction to cross yourself with three rather than two fingers, many old believers actually cut off a finger so that they would be able to continue using two fingers, and not be punished. That shows you a passionate commitment to tradition.
So, I am not dismayed by difficulties that attend the work to encourage all women and families in our town, county, state, and nation. We do live in easier times. And I look forward to working with people who are dedicated to advancing work on racism, sexism, workism, classism, and all the other subconscious assumptions that are routinely acted out as if they were unassailable. The work to touch hearts, to support healthy community life, and to meet new faces and friends, is a work I want to join.
Reyna is a long-time resident of Adams County and respected advocate in the local Hispanic community. She has served as a translator at both the courthouse and local hospital.
Having moved to the United States from Acapulco, Mexico in 1997, Reyna and her husband Mike (originally from Philadelphia) have raised three kids here and become deeply involved in the local community. Along with several family members, Reyna has owned or helped to operate several businesses providing jobs and bringing income to our area – Casa Reyna, Los Hermanos, and Alam B Roofing.
Having retired early (due to disability), Reyna continues to focus on friends, family and community – doting on her three grandchildren whenever possible. This will be her second term serving on the board.
Yeimi (Jamie) K Gagliardi
Yeimi K. Gagliardi, works as a Latino health educator in Adams County for Wellspan Health. She also serves as chairperson for the Latino Services Task Force and the Tobacco Prevention Task Force of Healthy Adams County where she leads and collaborates, with other community-based organizations, in the development, implementation and evaluation of initiatives to reach underserved communities in Adams County.
Some of the initiatives that she had overseen include:
Early childhood education, health literacy, family planning and reproductive health, addiction and recovery and access to healthcare.
Yeimi graduated from Universidad Sergio Arboleda in Bogotá, Colombia with a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Finance and Foreign Trade and holds a master’s degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from American University in Washington DC, Mrs. Gagliardi is a certified English to Spanish translator, certified personal trainer from the American College of Sports Medicine and Car Safety Technician from Safe Kids Worldwide. Mrs. Gagliardi has more than 15 years of experience working with Latino communities in the United States. She is currently a board member at the Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania, the Hispanic American Center-Manos Unidas and the bilingual Vida Charter School in Adams County, she serves as a mentor for youth in the local independent living program, Project Hope. Yeimi loves flamenco dancing, hiking, walking and cooking for family and friends, she enjoys reading about behavioral economics, neuroscience and she is curious about mostly everything!
Emily Gerlach, Secretary
Emily is a young professional who has worked in the Gettysburg area since 2015. She is a licensed social worker in the state of Pennsylvania and has earned a master’s degree in social work from Shippensburg University and a bachelor’s of arts degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh.
In her current roles as Social Services Director for Homewood at Plum Creek and Client Services Specialist at Survivors, Inc., she is able to put her advocacy and counseling skills to good use in working to improve the lives of older adults and survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault. Environmental sustainability, international women’s rights, and food security are other causes near and dear to her heart! In her spare time, Emily loves being outdoors, camping, traveling, kayaking, and running. She is overjoyed at the opportunity to collaborate with other strong women leaders and the Adams County community through the YWCA!
Katy Giebenhain is a graduate of Oregon State University (art), University of Baltimore (publications design) and University of South Wales (poetry). Katy works in the Foundation Office at Carroll Community College.
She co-hosts a First Friday poetry series at The Ragged Edge Coffeehouse and is on the local DFA Healthcare Task Force. She and her husband have been happy YWCA members since they moved to Gettysburg. Her dad has been playing pickleball for decades, so she appreciates that it is offered here!
Kristin is a Professor of Systematic Theology at United Lutheran Seminary and the Associate Dean of Religious & Spiritual Life and the Chaplain at Gettysburg College.
She is married to John Largen, they have one very sweet Jack Russell Terrier, Henry. Kristin loves running, reading, playing the harp and travelling…and working out at the YW of course!
Jane received her Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University, her Master’s Degree in Education from Villanova University and completed the CFP™ Professional Education Program at the College for Financial Planning.
After teaching high school physics for 13 years in King of Prussia, Jane moved to Gettysburg in 1987. She worked briefly at the YWCA as Development Director in the early 1990s. Jane has worked in financial services since 1994, and started Lordeman Associates in 1997 to provide Financial Planning to families, individuals and small businesses. She has three children and four grandchildren and lives with her life-partner, Steve Askew.
Angie, as she prefers to be called, is a native of Gettysburg. My great-great grandfather is Lloyd F.A. Watts who was a freed slave that fought in the civil war at Gettysburg.
I have two adult sons Kyle and Nicholas Brown, 5 grandchildren, and a trusty puppy companion named Kia. My hobbies include cooking, gardening, and running. I love my spiritual life and read a lot of bible verses from several different sources and journaling.
I have been employed at Gettysburg College since 2007 in the Office of Admissions as an Administrative Services Assistant. I serve on the Grievance Council for Gettysburg College and a Qualified Administrator for the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI) on campus. Prior to my employment at Gettysburg College, I was employed at The Boyd’s Collection, LTD for 12 ½ years as a sales representative and International shipping specialist at. I have also had a few part-time jobs locally such as Federal Pointe Inn, Majestic Theatre and Boyer’s Wine Cellars as a mixologist.
My passion is dancing and I discovered Zumba my first year at Gettysburg College. As part of the commitment to wellness, the college offered a variety of physical fitness classes during the lunch hour and Zumba is one of them. Instantly I knew Zumba was going to be a constant in my life! Merengue, samba, salsa, and cumbia are part of my Hispanic heritage, so this style of fitness was a natural fit for me!
Globally the YWCA has a strong Zumba program with creative instructors. Wherever I travel to on vacation I always look for a Zumba class and I can honestly say that the YWCA in Gettysburg has some top-level instructors.
I believe in equality for all as well as intercultural competence. I am committed to being part of the process and organizations that support this mission.
Kristin Rice is known professionally for her role as Chief Public Defender for Adams County. She is a graduate of Goucher College and Dickinson School of Law. Her profession began as a founding partner of Wolfe and Rice, LLC, which she started with her husband John Wolfe, in 1986.
She has previously served on the Boards of Adams County Children and Youth Services, Adams County Library System, Apple Line Transit Authority as well as the YWCA. Kristin is a proud mother of three young men.
Jessica Ritter, President
Jessica is 26 years old and has a Master’s Degree in religious studies. She focused on sociology of religion, and researched how a community (and individuals within) gendered God.
Her bachelor’s degree is on sociology and religious studies as well. She is very passionate about a wide range of issues-from astronomy to violence against women, and is excited for the opportunity to engage her interests in social justice at the YWCA.
Denise Membreno Royer
I was born and raised in Parsippany, New Jersey, the youngest of four children. After graduating from Connecticut College in 1996 I lived in Washington, DC for 15 years where I began my career as a marketing/communications professional with a 10-year stint at the Discovery Channel and current position with Mortgage Bankers Association. DC is also where I met my husband, Paul, who is an attorney in Gettysburg.
Together with our two children, we moved to Gettysburg by way of Western New York where my husband worked for six years in the energy industry.
My mother and father, natives of the Netherlands and Nicaragua respectively, met in New York City when they were young physicians. They became naturalized Americans and loved the life they made in this country. After growing up first-generation American it means a lot to me to be putting down roots in this area, where Paul’s family has lived since before the Revolutionary War. Despite our different backgrounds, we share very similar views on what it means to be good parents and citizens.
Our daughters are both thriving in the Gettysburg area school district and are active in athletics and organized music. Thanks to my introduction to the Gettysburg Beer Runners, I have formed strong friendships in the community and rediscovered my love of running. I live a busy life and on any given day, you may find me working, attending one of my daughters’ events, running on and off the battlefield (often with my dog), or at the Y with my husband.
Tracey Smith, Treasurer
Tracey is the dean of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at HACC’s Gettysburg Campus. She joined HACC in 2005 as a technician in Financial Aid then proceeded into roles such as; specialist, Financial Aid, fiscal support specialist, and director of enrollment services.
She previously served as an instructor for the Medical Billing program previously offered through Workforce Development (2004-2008). Tracey is a proud HACC graduate with an associate’s degree in Social Science. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management from Eastern University, St. Davids, PA, and her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, Portland, OR. Tracey serves on the board of directors for the Learning Center at Filey’s, Dillsburg, and recently became a group mentor with Project Hope in Gettysburg. She enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with her family.
Sarah’s first role model was her mother, a scientist who headed a lab in the 1940s and 50s and a faith-filled Methodist who embodied John Wesley’s dictum to “Do all the good you can, By all the means you can.“
Though Sarah’s doctorate was in English and her work was in higher education, in her various faculty and administrative positions at Mount Saint Mary’s, McDaniel College, and Shippensburg University, she has been proudest of her work building programs that support student access and success, especially high-impact strategies that offer experiential-learning opportunities and connect students with local and global communities. At the Mount, she was recognized by her students for “Excellence in Teaching”; she received the “McDaniel Award” for “outstanding leadership, commitment, and service,”; and at Shippensburg University, she was the first recipient of the newly created annual “Stokely Award,” recognizing “Outstanding Support of Academic Initiatives and Living-Learning Communities.” Her last position was as a dean in Academic Affairs at Shippensburg University.
Following her mother’s example, Sarah gets great enjoyment and energy from volunteering. She is on the board of the nonprofit Bakewell Farm, where she served as president and coordinates volunteers. For SCCAP, she volunteers each week at the food pantry and supports the Gleaning Project as a “food mover” and with fundraisers such as Empty Bowls. At the YWCA, she has volunteered at the Nearly New Sale, at the MLK Day of Service, and as a presenter for the brownbag lunch series. With Project Gettysburg-Leon, she assisted with the annual auction and with organizing the 2018-2019 monthly meetings. She is a member of the Adams County Food Policy Council and volunteered with organizing the mobile food market event at Misty Ridge and with fund-raising efforts to support printing of the Local Food Resources Guide.
Sarah and her husband Paul love to travel. They summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and hiked down into Havasu Canyon to swim beneath turquoise waterfalls. They will always remember climbing the narrow stairs of Notre Dame to look down with the gargoyles at the Parisian streets below. Sarah also enjoys non-fiction, especially biographies and autobiographies. Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, by Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, has been a recent favorite for its inspiring account of Lincoln’s challenging journey to “Save and Transform the Nation.”
Elizabeth C. Strauss
Elizabeth grew up in Charlotte, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2002 with a BA in Germanic Languages and Literatures. Upon completion of an interdisciplinary transatlantic curriculum at UNC and Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, Elizabeth was awarded an MA in Political Science in 2003. She also earned an MA and PhD in History from the University of Notre Dame in 2014.
After moving to Gettysburg with her husband, Charles, in late 2013, Elizabeth began work as a contributor to the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies’ Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos project at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In fall 2016 she joined the faculty at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD as an assistant professor in the Department of History. Drawn to the mission of the institution to empower women and eliminate racism, Elizabeth and Charles joined the YWCA immediately upon moving to Gettysburg. An avid runner, Elizabeth enjoys the Y and its environs for training. Elizabeth is a proud mother of four children—Anna, Charlie, Tessa, and Peter—all of whom have benefited in profound ways from the caring and committed community at the YWCA’s childcare center.