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Helen Forbes Fields named president and CEO of YWCA Greater Cleveland

Forbes Fields joins YWCA Greater Cleveland after serving as executive vice president and general counsel for United Way of Greater Cleveland.
Credit: YWCA Greater Cleveland

CLEVELAND — After an extensive search, YWCA Greater Cleveland has announced that Helen Forbes Fields has been named as the organization's next president and CEO. 

Forbes Fields currently serves as executive vice president and general counsel for United Way of Greater Cleveland, a position she has held for over five years. Forbes Fields will assume her new role in July, while interim CEO Teresa Sanders will resume her position as YWCA Greater Cleveland's chief program officer. 

“It is an amazing thing to have the opportunity to lead an organization that has been so integral to the fabric of my hometown,” said Forbes Fields in a statement. “I do not accept that the challenges we face as a city are too complex or too broad to face. As President and CEO of YWCA Greater Cleveland, I will ensure that we continue to name and directly address the impact systemic racism and sexism have on women and girls in our community.”

YWCA Greater Cleveland has been looking for a permanent leader since Margaret Mitchell was appointed as the CEO of YWCA USA in October of 2021.

Prior to joining United Way, Forbes Fields' resume included over 31 years of experience practicing law with the Forbes, Fields & Associates law firm. She served as law director for the city of East Cleveland in 1997 and again in 2005. 

“After an extensive nationwide search, it is my honor to welcome Helen to YWCA Greater Cleveland,” said Pat Gardner, President of YWCA Greater Cleveland’s Board of Directors. “We knew that the next CEO would need to be a singular individual who could continue the momentum YWCA has built over the past decade, support our organization’s continued growth, and have the resilience to lead us through this moment of backlash to the progress we have made as a country towards racial and gender equity. Helen has been a life-long advocate for Cleveland with deep ties in our community. Her determination, strategic thinking, and grace are why we are thrilled to have Helen leading us in this next chapter of YWCA’s history.”

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