Why an all-female board?
Despite many gains made over the last several decades, women remain underrepresented on executive boards at all levels. Among 71 percent of Fortune 1000 companies, women occupy less than 20 percent of board seats (the rest have female board representation of 20 percent or greater). At small nonprofit organizations (budgets less than $25 million), women make up 45 percent of CEOs and 43 percent of board seats. At large nonprofits (budgets $25 million and up), women make up 21 percent of CEOs and 33 percent of board seats.*
The YWCA offers an opportunity for women to develop leadership skills and have a real voice in the organization’s management at the executive and board level through maintaining an all-female board and a female executive director. This empowerment carries over into other areas of life. Many former board members have expressed that their experience on the YWCA board has provided them with experience and skills to enable them to pursue other leadership positions and contribute to other organizations in the community. The guidelines for all-female boards and executive directors are set forth by the YWCA USA.
*Information from 2020 Women on Boards, 2020wob.com.
Lyne Aurand, Co-President
Lyne graduated from Shippensburg University with an elementary degree and received an administrative certification from Penn State University. She taught in the Gettysburg Area School District for 40 years where she served on many district committees.
During her teaching career, she helped write grants, presented workshops, and designed programs. The Lincoln Elementary Activities Program (LEAP) and Girls Robotics were a partnership between the YWCA and local elementary schools to provide opportunities for children. Presently, Lyne is a Supervisor of Student Teachers at Gettysburg College. Since retirement from GASD, Lyne is serving the community by volunteering with St. James Lutheran Church and Gettysburg Optimist Club and wherever needed (Ruth Harvest, Cares, etc.) Lyne enjoys playing cards, dancing, traveling, and the beach. She lives in Gettysburg with her husband, Daryl, and spends as much time as possible visiting her two daughters, two granddaughters, and family.
A lifelong resident of Gettysburg, Kara Boehne-Miele is thrilled to be joining the YWCA Board of Directors. She remembers fondly many YWCA programs and activities during her school years and has frequented the fitness center as a community member.
After graduating from James Madison University in 2001, Kara started her career in education as the band, orchestra, and choir director at Oakdale Middle School in Frederick, MD. After deciding a slight career shift was necessary, Kara received her Master’s in Library Science from the University of Maryland in 2007 and has served as the High School Librarian and Department Chairperson for the Cumberland Valley School District in Mechanicsburg ever since. Outside of public education, Kara serves on the Board of Trustees for the Adams County Library System and is an active workshop presenter for various entities with her husband, Pete Miele, Executive Director of the Seminary Ridge Museum and Education Center. Her personal passions include cooking and baking, and in recent years has pursued the art of cookie decorating. She has shared her talents locally through classes at the Adams County Arts Council.
Kara and Pete live in Ridgewood with two crazy felines. They love to spend time outdoors hiking, kayaking, camping, and exploring new places, especially historic sites, state parks, and “hidden gems.”
Chrisanne Bowden was born in rural Western Pennsylvania. She has nearly three decades of experience in a wide variety of human resources and management roles. During her career, she has worked in an HR leadership capacity in multiple industries, where she is recognized as a catalyst for growth, positive change, and continual improvement. She currently works as a Human Resources consultant with PeopleWorks LLC, supporting businesses without in-house HR, as well as larger employers on special projects or areas needing specific expertise. She has also mentored many junior HR professionals. Prior to PeopleWorks she served as HR Director for Liberty, Whitetail and Roundtop Mountain Resorts.
Within the HR arena, Chrisanne’s areas of focus include Leadership Development, Employee Relations, Strategic Planning, Hiring and Training, Talent Management, Performance Evaluation and Improvement, Policy and Procedure Design, Regulatory Compliance and Community Outreach. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Slippery Rock University along with Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) credentials, has been an active member of National Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), has served as a board member of Frederick County SHRM, and is involved with Adams County Area Human Resources Association.
Chrisanne’s primary focus and source of pride is mentoring. Having served as a Mentor for four young women through Woman to Woman Mentoring in Frederick County, Maryland, where she also was a board member, she now mentors with Project Hope through Adams County Children and Youth Services. She is passionate about using her time, energy and experience to improve the lives and successes of young women.
I grew up just South of Gettysburg in Emmitsburg, Maryland. I was lucky enough to be a member in the Prince of Peace Episcopal Church in Gettysburg as a girl. When my husband and I moved back home from the Philadelphia metro area to be closer to my family, I remembered the YWCA of Gettysburg. When I was a girl, a friend of mine from church belonged to the YWCA and her family brought me to an activity at the YWCA. I told my husband, I really think that this is where things are happening in the community and we need to join.
We joined the YWCA as REC members with a family pool membership. I encouraged my father (who recently moved back into the area) to join as well. Prior to COVID my father and I were apart of your 4:30am work-out crew (not as often as we should have been). It instantly felt like family. My husband and I sent our twins (Max and Allie) to the YWonders and Jumping Jax programs. That is where the YWCA experience truly cemented a place in all of our hearts. We found our home. The teachers, the parents and the children of the YWCA have made the decision to move closer to family take on a whole new meaning. Little did we realize that not only did we have our relatives in the area; but, we now had a whole new loving community that can only be described as FAMILY.
I’m very happy to be asked to join the YWCA board, a place where I have come to find community and encouragement for as long as I have lived in Gettysburg, since 1999. I swim, I tried yoga for several years until my knees and my poor technique did me in, and I have also stepped up and enjoyed spin classes.
My personal geography started in Sweden, and went through Minnesota, Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, before coming to Gettysburg. I’m a Lutheran pastor working as a professor at United Lutheran Seminary, teaching modern religious history, and that means everything after 1600. This has been a good field for my often distracted and overstimulated appetite for reading, reading, reading. Right now I am learning a lot about Russian history. I’ve already told my students, so they cannot be shocked, that during a period of top-down reform, including the instruction to cross yourself with three rather than two fingers, many old believers actually cut off a finger so that they would be able to continue using two fingers, and not be punished. That shows you a passionate commitment to tradition.
So, I am not dismayed by the difficulties that attend the work to encourage all women and families in our town, county, state, and nation. We do live in easier times. And I look forward to working with people who are dedicated to advancing work on racism, sexism, workism, classism, and all the other subconscious assumptions that are routinely acted out as if they were unassailable. The work to touch hearts, to support healthy community life, and to meet new faces and friends, is a work I want to join.
Emily Gerlach, Secretary
Emily is a young professional who has worked in the Gettysburg area since 2015. She is a licensed social worker in the state of Pennsylvania and has earned a master’s degree in social work from Shippensburg University and a bachelor’s of arts degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh.
In her current roles as Social Services Director for Homewood at Plum Creek and Client Services Specialist at Survivors, Inc., she is able to put her advocacy and counseling skills to good use in working to improve the lives of older adults and survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault. Environmental sustainability, international women’s rights, and food security are other causes near and dear to her heart! In her spare time, Emily loves being outdoors, camping, traveling, kayaking, and running. She is overjoyed at the opportunity to collaborate with other strong women leaders and the Adams County community through the YWCA!
I grew up and have lived in Adams County my whole life, with the exception of attending college at Madison College (now James Madison University) in Virginia. My bachelor’s degree is in Home Ec. Education and I started my career as headteacher, then promoted to Director, of the Infant Migrant Day Care Program funded through Lutheran Social Services. After my three children were born, I stayed at home with them until they were all in school. At that point, I went back to work for my family’s business, Adams County Nursery, where I worked as a co-owner and Credit Manager until I retired in 2017.
Throughout my career, I’ve taken on a variety of volunteer roles in the community, including the Chair of the PA Apple Marketing Board, Christ Lutheran Church Council President, Vacation Bible School Director, and Sunday school teacher for Bendersville Lutheran Parish, lead in the effort to establish the county-wide Eddie Horst Scholarship and have assisted in the Adams County Dollars for Scholars scholarship selection day.
In my retirement, I’ve enjoyed traveling with my husband Steve “Buzz” Haller to our beach house on the Rappahannock River, taking oil painting classes, and spending time with my 4 granddaughters who are between 4-7 years old. I am currently involved in a Be the Bridge group with Nancy Lilley and I have recently become a Mission Member at the Y.
Judy Morley is a nationally recognized leadership speaker and coach, specializing in helping female entrepreneurs master purposeful leadership, emotional intelligence, and courageous communication. Her goal is to teach women to be authentically audacious! Her 25 years of corporate and nonprofit experience vary from being an advertising executive to a college professor to an executive to an entrepreneur and franchise owner. She is even an ordained minister! Each of these positions has given her great insight into helping people find their authentic style of leadership.
Morley holds a PhD in American History and a master’s degree in Conscious Leadership, as well as being a certified Emotional Intelligence facilitator. She has helped boards of nonprofits as both a hired consultant and a board member, showing them how to work together more effectively. She is the author of multiple monographs, essays and books, including Use the Cosmic 2×4 to Hit a Home Run. She has been featured in several documentaries, including “MPower: Empowering Women in Business and Beyond.” She is currently on the faculty of the Lincoln Leadership Institute at Gettysburg and the president of Intuitively Speaking, a speaking and coaching firm located in Gettysburg, PA.
Smitha Nair, Co-Vice President
Smitha was born and raised in India, and started Medical school when she was 16. That is where she met her husband Dr. Raj Makkenchery. They married in 1998 and moved to the United States. Smitha completedher residency at UMASS Fitchburg Family Practice and moved to Gettysburg in 2007. She now lives with her husband, parents, and 3 children in Gettysburg.
Smitha worked for Wellspan from 2007-2010 and then took a short break to care for her two children. She then worked at Family First health, 2012-2016. In May 2016, Smitha decided to quit the traditional setting and started her Fellowship at the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. In May 2017, she started her own private practice in Gettysburg, Aura Integrative Medicine Clinic. Her interest is to address the physical as well as lifestyle, emotional, and spiritual needs of her patients. Smitha’s goal is to get to the root cause of problems and use compassion and care to heal my patients.
Her hobbies are writing poetry, watching cooking shows, and scrolling Pinterest.
Rukhsana practiced as a radiologist at Gettysburg Hospital for 31 years and retired in December of 2017.
She was a board member of YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County from 2010 to 2016. She and her husband were co-recipients of Adams County MLK Living the Dream award, Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice Peace Maker of the Year award and World Affairs Council of Harrisburg Peace Maker Among us award.
Rukhsana has formerly served on Vida Charter School board and currently serves on Adams County Bar Foundation, Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice and Adams County Farmers Market boards.
Linda Raymond, Treasurer
The Board of the YWCA is composed of a truly diverse and gifted group of women and Linda is pleased to rejoin it as a member and Treasurer. She is retired, having followed two very different career paths – conducting and performing in military music, and working in business with two luxury car companies. Elements of both fed her lifelong interest in tackling projects, data, and details.
Linda strives to lead a healthy life and enjoys teaching gentle yoga at the Y during less turbulent times.
She and her husband Pat have one son and six grandchildren in Arlington, VA.
Jessica Ritter, Co-President
Jessica has a Master’s Degree in religious studies. She focused on the sociology of religion and researched how a community (and individuals within) gendered God.
Her bachelor’s degree is in sociology and religious studies as well. She is very passionate about a wide range of issues-from astronomy to violence against women and is excited for the opportunity to engage her interests in social justice at the YWCA.
Denise Membreno Royer
I was born and raised in Parsippany, New Jersey, the youngest of four children. After graduating from Connecticut College in 1996 I lived in Washington, DC for 15 years where I began my career as a marketing/communications professional with a 10-year stint at the Discovery Channel and current position with Mortgage Bankers Association. DC is also where I met my husband, Paul, who is an attorney in Gettysburg.
Together with our two children, we moved to Gettysburg by way of Western New York where my husband worked for six years in the energy industry.
My mother and father, natives of the Netherlands and Nicaragua respectively, met in New York City when they were young physicians. They became naturalized Americans and loved the life they made in this country. After growing up first-generation American it means a lot to me to be putting down roots in this area, where Paul’s family has lived since before the Revolutionary War. Despite our different backgrounds, we share very similar views on what it means to be good parents and citizens.
Our daughters are both thriving in the Gettysburg area school district and are active in athletics and organized music. Thanks to my introduction to the Gettysburg Beer Runners, I have formed strong friendships in the community and rediscovered my love of running. I live a busy life and on any given day, you may find me working, attending one of my daughters’ events, running on and off the battlefield (often with my dog), or at the Y with my husband.
Cara relocated to Gettysburg from New York City. She completed her undergraduate work in Comparative Religion at Colgate University and earned a Master of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University. Her 20-year career has focused on career counseling and pre-professional advising in higher education, mainly at Barnard College and Yeshiva University. Cara currently works as an Academic Advisor at HACC and coaches clients in private practice.
Since moving to Gettysburg, Cara has become a true CrossFit enthusiast and has volunteered as an Ally at SCCAP in the Circles program. In addition, she has been active with the YWCA Sharks Swim Team as an officer of the Parents Association. Cara enjoys exploring new places and visiting old favorites with her husband and two children whenever she can. Cara looks forward to the opportunity to meet new people and become more involved in the Gettysburg Community.
Elizabeth C. Strauss, Co-Vice President
Elizabeth grew up in Charlotte, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2002 with a BA in Germanic Languages and Literatures. Upon completion of an interdisciplinary transatlantic curriculum at UNC and Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, Elizabeth was awarded an MA in Political Science in 2003. She also earned an MA and Ph.D. in History from the University of Notre Dame in 2014.
After moving to Gettysburg with her husband, Charles, in late 2013, Elizabeth began work as a contributor to the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies’ Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos project at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In fall 2016 she joined the faculty at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD as an assistant professor in the Department of History. Drawn to the mission of the institution to empower women and eliminate racism, Elizabeth and Charles joined the YWCA immediately upon moving to Gettysburg. An avid runner, Elizabeth enjoys the Y and its environs for training. Elizabeth is a proud mother of four children—Anna, Charlie, Tessa, and Peter—all of whom have benefited in profound ways from the caring and committed community at the YWCA’s childcare center.
Lindsey L. Wilner
Lindsey was born and raised in the Midwest. She graduated from Michigan State University, with a degree in psychology, and went onto complete her master’s and a doctorate in clinical forensic psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Lindsey has worked in a variety of settings from county jails to state prisons to federal prisons. She currently maintains a private practice in Gettysburg, focused on forensic psychology, that is assessment of individuals who are somehow involved in the justice system, as well as completing evaluations on individuals applying to become public safety officials. Lindsey also works at South Mountain Restoration Center as a clinical psychologist. Lindsey is passionate about helping underserved communities and populations, especially those who were (or are) incarcerated, and ensuring their voices are heard.
Lindsey loves to volunteer. Beginning at a young age, she was in girl scouts. During her undergraduate career, she was a member of Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a fraternity that focused on giving back to the community. While in APO she was the chair of connecting new students with senior members of the organization. During her senior year, she was the Vice President of Programming, which focused on bringing members of the organization together in fellowship. She completed leadership classes at APO Conferences. Over 2 years, Lindsey amassed 700 hours of service. In graduate school, Lindsey was initially a member of the Forensic Ambassadors, which connected students to faculty and staff, as well as provided forensic psychology-based volunteer opportunities in the greater Chicago area. Lindsey was then President of the organization. Throughout the years, Lindsey has maintained volunteer efforts in other capacities, such as for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or at local running events (when she’s not running in them).
When Lindsey is not working or volunteering, you can find her reading a good mystery novel or magazine, watching a movie or television show, planning her next travels, out running around Gettysburg, or walking her fur baby with her spouse. Lindsey is excited for the opportunity to work with the YWCA of Adams County and join a team of strong female leaders!