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June 28, 2022

New President & CEO Takes Reins at the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg

Respected community leader brings decades of experience in government and non-profit sectors

Cordella Friesen

Winnipeg, Manitoba – The Board of Directors of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg today announced that Cordella Friesen will become its president and chief executive officer for the association this summer.

Friesen’s career and volunteer work has been dedicated to serving her community, including having served as a member of the Board of Directors of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg since 2019. She will join the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg with more than fourteen years experience working with municipal and provincial governments, most recently as Assistant Deputy Minister, Cabinet Planning and Operations, for the Province of Manitoba. During the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine, Friesen took a lead role in our Provincial Vaccine Implementation Task Force where she led the Workforce Planning and Training work stream that resulted in over 4,000 people being hired and trained to work in clinics all across Manitoba and influenced the fast and effective implementation of the immunization campaign.

“I am thrilled to be joining the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg, an organization committed to healthy communities. So many people in our communities are facing challenges and hurting whether it be because of the impacts of the pandemic, or addressing the truth of residential schools, refugees who continue to flee from countries like Ukraine and Afghanistan or those that continue to experience harm in the 2SLGBTQ+ community,” says Friesen. “I truly believe in the important and critical work of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg as a trusted partner that inspires and helps people to reach their full potential. I am honoured to be a part of this work, addressing these challenges head-on and being able to work with the Board, the experienced leadership team, staff and volunteers who are so committed to this cause and to the future of Winnipeg.”

As president and CEO, Friesen will be taking on the responsibilities of a 143-year legacy of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg – including 37 childcare centres, four health, fitness and aquatics facilities, one learning and leisure centre and one overnight camp.

Friesen assumes the role from retiring President and CEO Kent Paterson, after his successful ten-year career at the helm of the organization. Paterson will remain in place over the summer to assist with a seamless transition. Friesen’s appointment is effective August 22, 2022.

About the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg

A registered charity committed to strengthening the foundations of community, the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg serves more than 80,000 members. Since its founding in 1879, the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg has been a leader in nurturing the potential of children, teens and young adults, promoting healthy living, and fostering social responsibility. The Y helps people of all ages lead healthier and more productive lives regardless of their background or financial situation. 


Media inquiries:
For more information, please contact:
Leslie Haynes | Communications Specialist | YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg
Phone: (204) 894-7144 | leslie.haynes@ymanitoba.ca