Rich Wallis had a 37-year career at the YMCA. However, before his professional career, he volunteered as a junior counselor at his local YMCA day camp in the summer of 1969. His first full-time YMCA position was with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago working at the Elmhurst Branch where he managed adult fitness programs and a youth hockey program. In 1977, a mentor recruited Mr. Wallis to work for the Henderson County YMCA in Kentucky as a Community Program Director. In this position, Mr. Wallis strengthened the YMCA’s programs and operations.
After serving the Henderson County YMCA, Mr. Wallis returned to Chicago to be closer to his family. He continued working for the Y in Chicago until he became a Branch Executive for the Elmhurst YMCA in 1983. A couple years later, with the encouragement from a colleague at the Y’s national office, Mr. Wallis applied for and accepted a CEO position with the YMCA of Inland Northwest in Spokane, WA.
Mr. Wallis spent the next 16 years in Spokane. Through his leadership, the YMCA strengthened its position within the community. One of his most important achievements was revitalizing YMCA Camp Reed, transforming the camp into a premier youth resident camp in the Inland Northwest. In the late 80s and 90s, Mr. Wallis also enhanced the YMCA’s programs, growing the YMCA’s childcare program into the largest provider of pre-school and school-age care in the county.
Mr. Wallis ended his career at the YMCA of the USA as a Senior Resource Director where he led task forces to create a new mission and cost analysis toolkit (saving YMCAs millions of dollars), a governance model, and consulting resources for capital development projects. Though he retired in 2012, Mr. Wallis is still deeply involved in the YMCA Movement, managing the YMCA of the USA’s incoming CEO coaching program.
Community and Board Service
In addition to his YMCA career, Mr. Wallis is an active member of his community. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Sioux YMCA, he is a mentor for SCORE Spokane (Service Corp of Retired Executives), and he is a volunteer for 501 Commons, a consulting firm for non-profits. He is also deeply involved in other organizations, including Salish School of Spokane, Inland Northwest Camp Fire Council, Youth for Christ, and the Spokane Christmas Bureau.
Mr. Wallis received an associate’s degree from William Rainey Harper College in 1973 and a bachelor of science degree in Applied Behavioral Science from George Williams College in 1975.
‟It’s defined my life. It’s given me a purpose; I think that’s probably the biggest thing.”
‟The principles of leadership and good management are not complicated.”
‟Maybe the sub-message there is, keep the smaller Ys in mind.”
‟I felt like I left the Y in really good hands there.”
Associate Program Director, Elmhurst YMCA, IL
Program Director, Henderson County YMCA, KY
Community Program Director, West Suburban YMCA, LaGrange, IL
Senior Program Director, Elmhurst YMCA, IL
CEO, YMCA of the Inland Northwest, Spokane, WA
Senior Resource Director, YMCA of the USA