Press Release: A Farewell Message from Vanessa McDowell-Atlas, CEO of YWCA Madison

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Press Release: A Farewell Message from Vanessa McDowell-Atlas, CEO of YWCA Madison

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A Farewell Message from Vanessa McDowell-Atlas, CEO of YWCA Madison

MADISON, Wisconsin, January 22, 2024,A Farewell Message from Vanessa McDowell-Atlas, CEO of YWCA Madison.

Dear Madison Community,

I hope this message finds you well. It is with mixed emotions that I write to inform you of my departure from YWCA Madison as its Chief Executive Officer on February 16, 2024.  It has been a pleasure to lead such an amazing organization.  I will be moving on to my next chapter with an organization called Black Girl Ventures which has a national reach, and I will be their new Chief Operating Officer.

Over the past 7 years as CEO and 9 years with YWCA Madison, it has been an incredible journey leading this remarkable YW family. Together we have faced challenges, celebrated successes, and worked tirelessly to make a positive impact on the lives of those that we serve.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to my community for your unwavering support, dedication, and passion. We continue to have a lot of work to do to make this city one where EVERYONE feels like they belong. The work continues.

As I transition to a new opportunity, I am confident that YWCA Madison will continue to thrive under the capable leadership of Gery Paredes Vásquez, who I have named the interim CEO.  As the Director of our Race and Gender Equity department, Gery has orchestrated the co-creation and planning of our incredible Racial Justice Summit for the past six years. She has a deep understanding of our mission and passion for the work of YWCA Madison. The future holds exciting possibilities, and I am eager to witness the continued growth of this wonderful organization.  

As I bid farewell to my role as CEO, I ask my community to join me for our annual Circle fundraising event on Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 11:30am at the Alliant Energy Center.  This will be my last YWCA Madison event as CEO.  If you would like to attend, please reach out to Donor Relations Manager, Taylor Raether at  We ask that each attendee makes a gift of at least $100 at the event.  If you cannot attend, donations can also be made online at

Please know that my heart remains with this community.  I will always cherish the memories we created together and the impact we made on the world.  Thank you once again for being an integral part of this journey.  I look forward to staying connected and celebrating the continued success of YWCA Madison.

In Humanity, Community, Growth, and Restoration,

Vanessa McDowell-Atlas
CEO, YWCA Madison

About YWCA Madison
YWCA Madison
is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, dignity and justice for all. YWCA Madison is part of an international movement serving over 2 million in the United States and 25 million worldwide. For comprehensive information about this important work, go to


For Immediate Release
Contact: Jay Young
608.395.2198 |