A proven leader in the human services field, Vanessa McDowell brings nearly 14 years of experience to her position as YWCA Madison’s Interim Chief Executive Officer. She was initially hired in 2014 as the Director of Support Services for YWCA and later promoted to Chief Programs Officer. Vanessa is deeply committed to offering programs and services that support women and social justice, help families and strengthen communities. She has a passion for serving others by leveraging voices that have been silenced as well as empowering others to live out their purpose. She works from an empowerment model which aligns with the mission of YWCA Madison which is to eliminate racism and empower women.
Prior to joining YWCA, Vanessa worked for UW- Madison’s Wisconsin Equity and Inclusion Laboratory and was the Executive Assistant to the Pastor for Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Vanessa is born and raised in Madison, WI. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She has made a commitment to stay and work in the Madison community because of her dedication to this community.
In 2016 BRAVA magazine selected Vanessa as one of the 22 “Women to Watch”. She was also selected to participate in the 2015 class of Leadership Greater Madison.
We’re really trying to work with our community to be more collaborative, externally and internally, and see how we can better serve our community going forward,