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Southern California YMCA leaders gather at Cal State LA for leadership conference

October 8, 2018

By Jillian Beck | Cal State LA News Service

Hundreds of YMCA employees from across the region gathered at Cal State LA on Friday for the 2018 Southern California Regional Emerging Multicultural Leadership Experience, a daylong event aimed at cultivating the next generation of YMCA leaders.

Attendees took part in networking and mentoring opportunities, learned from educational presentations and received resources to empower YMCA staff across Southern California to develop diverse and culturally competent cause-driven leaders.  

Longtime former Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks delivered keynote remarks at the October 5 event, sharing memories of growing up in the 1960s in Cleveland, Ohio. She spoke of formative experiences at her neighborhood YMCA and shared moving stories from her decades as a reporter.  

“Every person who comes through that door at your Y has a story. The forces that shaped them can’t be undone—but they can be understood and refashioned,” said Banks, now a senior writer for the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at Cal State LA. “Don’t let your perspective be shaped by conventional narratives. You bring something special to the table. Your tools are tailor-made to help someone.”

“I believe that if you bring that attitude to work every day, your rewards will be bigger than a paycheck and more satisfying than a title on a door,” Banks added. As she concluded her remarks, she received a standing ovation from the hundreds of people gathered in the Golden Eagle Ballroom.

Speakers also included Daryl Gross, executive director for intercollegiate athletics at Cal State LA, and Alan C. Hostrup, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles.

“Leaders get out in front and stay there by raising the standards by which they judge themselves—and by which they are willing to be judged,” Hostrup said. “And that is you, that is us, and I am incredibly humbled and have great respect for the privilege to serve alongside you, working together, helping all communities live happier and healthier lives. Remember, there is nothing more beautiful than opportunity and equity.”

Cal State LA and the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles are key partners serving communities across the region. The university and the YMCA recently launched Achieve LA, an initiative to help communities thrive and create pathways to higher education for local youth. The collaboration recently brought arts education to Southeast L.A. County residents through workshops from Ballet Hispánico, the nation’s premier Latino dance organization.


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Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. The university has been recognized for its commitment to uplift and transform the economies and social well-being of the communities it serves, being designated by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities as an anchor institution

“We are proud to work with the YMCA to develop emerging leaders who serve our communities and will propel the people and places across our region,” said Cal State LA Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez, who is also on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles. “We’re building together and using our collective knowledge, resources and skills for the benefit of Los Angeles.”

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit