New YMCA leader brings energy, enthusiasm to the role

Published 2:36 pm Monday, July 10, 2023

The Albert Lea Family YMCA’s new chief executive officer is looking forward to continuing the good work of the organization as well as collaborating to address other unmet needs in the community in the future.

The nonprofit organization at the beginning of the month announced it had named April Jeppson as its new leader after a six-month national search. Jeppson previously served as the community and marketing program director for the organization, overseeing program development and management for the fitness, aquatics, Senior Center and marketing departments.

“During our search for a new CEO, we looked at candidates from around the country; however, Jeppson stood out among the rest,” said board President Erin Sauer in a news release. “Her energy and vision for the Albert Lea Family YMCA are exactly what we were looking for in a leader. With Jeppson’s enthusiasm, experience and passion for the Albert Lea Family YMCA, we are convinced that we will have fantastic leadership for years to come.”

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Jeppson said she is humbled by the opportunity to continue the work of the YMCA in Albert Lea in her new role.

“I have seen the positive impact that our programs can have on the community, so I’m excited to further our reach by expanding on these efforts,” she said.

Jeppson will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategic plan, improving operating performance, stewarding fundraising efforts, managing its organizational risk, progressing as an inclusive organization and positioning the Albert Lea Family YMCA as a vital partner for community change, according to the release.

Jeppson said she is excited to work with the staff moving forward, noting it is full of people who care.

“We care about the Y, but it’s not just the Y,” she said. “We care about the community and making it better.”

She asked the community to extend patience and grace to her and her staff as they navigate through the next few weeks in filling a few open positions. She said many staff members have already stepped up to help in different areas.

“This is an opportunity to have a reset, get our footing and dig in and get some work done,” she said. “There’s so much work that can be done.”

While membership at the YMCA is up 14% since before the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she knows there is still room for growth.

Her goal is to look closely at how things are done within the organization and to figure out what is the best way to offer service to the community.

“Just because we’ve offered a program for so many years, doesn’t mean we have to continue,” Jeppson said. “If there’s a better way or a better service … I want to be consciously helping this community in whatever areas that line up with what we can do and what they need.”

Jeppson succeeds interim CEO Dennis Dieser.

Currently, the YMCA offers fitness classes (both land and water), swim lessons, child care
services, after-school programing, teen programming and youth sports programming. It also oversees the operations and programming of the Albert Lea Senior Center.

In addition to her work with the YMCA, Jeppson has been a gymnastics and American Ninja Warrior coach through the Albert Lea Gymnastics Club and has served on the Albert Lea Blue Zones Leadership Team and board of directors through the United Way of Freeborn County.

She has lived in Albert Lea for 12 years, and she and her husband, Brian, have three children.
Jeppson has Associate of Applied Science degrees in human resources from Minnesota State Community and Technical College and health and beauty management from Iowa Central Community College.