Jan Brucato worked for the Y for over 33 years and became one of the first 10 female Y CEOs in the country.

Tell Us About Your YMCA Career

I worked for the Y for 33 years and 9 months. The YMCA is all about the community. And for me, the Y is all about diversity. I cherish the way the Y attracts people from all walks of life into its programs and membership.

I came to the Y in 1980 after being laid off from a newspaper job in Cincinnati. I had been a gymnast in high school, so a friend referred me to the Wade YMCA in Covington, KY, where I became a Gymnastics Coordinator and Coach. That was just part time, so, to make ends meet, I also taught school half days, and I bartended at night.

I fell in love with the Y, and I embraced every opportunity to learn and grow. After a year, I became the Y’s Physical Director. From the Wade YMCA, I moved to the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, where I became an Associate Executive Director. Then I became a CEO, one of the first 10 female Y CEOs in the country. It was at a small Y in Maysville, Kentucky, and I did a little bit of everything, which helped strengthen my skills. I moved to Lexington, Kentucky as the VP of Operations and then became the CEO of the Central Kentucky association. My last job was as Mid-Major Resource Director for YMCA of the USA.

How Was The Transition To Retirement?

At first when I retired, I felt relaxed, but lonely. The transition wasn’t easy for me. One year before I retired we had moved to Louisville when my husband took a new job, so I didn’t know many people. (It would’ve been easier to retire in Lexington where I knew more people.)

I am currently volunteering on a project for the Louisville YMCA. We’re piloting a worksite wellness program that’s a collaboration between the Y, two health care providers and a locally-based, global employer.

Tell Us About The Process Of Saving For Retirement

My mentor at the YMCA was Kent Rea. He was based in the South Field office, and he took me under his wing. One of the things he did was encourage me to save for retirement.

As a result I was able to retire at age 57. I’m the youngest of 4 siblings, and they can’t believe I am the first of them to retire. They are jealous!

If you could give one piece of advice to current YMCA staff about saving and planning for retirement, what would it be?

I remember those tough times, being young with a family to support. But, I’d say this: Don’t let things in front of you now prevent you from planning for your future. Save early. It will give you the life you want and deserve!