Terri's career at the YMCA let her creativity grow and shine, and allowed her to change the world in a small way

tell us about your yMCA career

Everybody knows what the YMCA does for the community, but the great thing about the YMCA is that it helps people grow, both individually and also professionally. It let my creativity grow and shine as a woman, and allowed me to change the world, in a small way.

Every day I got to go to a calling. It was more than a job, and I feel very blessed to have had the opportunities it provided. I actually started in the Y in 1978 as a volunteer. It wasn’t until 1980 that I was invited to join the staff. I was at the old downtown Y on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. I started in the Women’s Health & Fitness Center, first as a part-time instructor, then part-time director. I got my first full-time position in 1984 at the Sequoia Y, which is now part of the YMCA of Silicon Valley.

In 1989 I left the Y to become Development Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters, but I missed the Y and I came back less than 2 years later. I worked for the Y in San Francisco, where Martie Bolsinger was my mentor, then I moved to become the Exec at the Mt. Diablo Y. I ended my career as COO in San Francisco.

How was the transition to retirement?

My last day of work was a Friday and there was a wonderful party! The next day I slept in, which was different, because I used to get up every day at 5:00 am. I took a deep breath and enjoyed the backyard and then started planning our wedding.

I got married in September and my wife and I took a trip to Italy for one month. It was fantastic!

Although I’ve done some work as a consultant, overall I’m surprised at how busy I’ve been with the family. We have three grandchildren and another is due in March. Also, I haven’t been inhibited by time limits and I have had the energy to explore different parts of who I am through classes and hobbies.

I didn’t realize how blessed I was to have a Y career, and little did I know what a blessed retirement I’d have!

tell us about the process of saving for retirement

Two people taught me to save for retirement:

Back in the mid-1980s, the Office Manager at the Y said “Save as much as you can now, and you’ll be happy later.” She was right!

My father emigrated from the Hawaiian Islands with a 10th grade education. He had to quit school in order to work to support his family. He always said “Pay yourself first.” So I did. I saved part of every raise I got.

If You Could Give One Piece Of Advice To Current YMCA Staff
About Saving And Planning For Retirement, What Would It Be?

Always pay yourself first; it’ll come back in spades in retirement.