LOW MOOR — The Alleghany Highlands YMCA Board of Directors has chosen new leadership with experience and ties to the Alleghany Highlands in naming a new chief executive officer.
Bobbie W. Wagner has been named the new Alleghany Highlands YMCA CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2024. She succeeds Jennifer F. Unroe, who has announced her retirement at the end of the year. Wagner and Unroe will work together through Dec. 31 to ensure a seamless transition in YMCA leadership.
“We are extremely pleased to announce the hiring of Mrs. Wagner,” said Amy Bartley-Simmons, president of the Alleghany Highlands YMCA Board of Directors. “She brings a wealth of enthusiasm and exuberance to the position along with a keen knowledge of YMCA inner workings.
“The board also acknowledges Jennifer’s devotion and dedication to the Alleghany Highlands YMCA over these many years,” Bartley-Simmons added. “She has provided tremendous leadership — including times that were tumultuous and quite uncertain during the pandemic — and she will be tremendously missed. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement.”
Wagner comes to the Alleghany Highlands YMCA from Lexington, where she most recently served as executive director of Hull’s Angels, Inc., a nonprofit organization that oversees the operations of Hull’s Drive-In. She previously worked for seven years with the Rockbridge Area YMCA.
An Alleghany County native, Wagner grew up in the Valley Ridge area. She is the daughter of Tony and Pam Wolfe and a 2007 graduate of Alleghany High School.
“I am thrilled to return to my roots in this new capacity to serve the Alleghany Highlands,” Wagner said. “The YMCA has been part of my life since I was a child growing up in the area. I spent many afternoons playing basketball at Boys Home in the original YMCA location, which later in life led to an 11-year career with the YMCA.”
After graduating from AHS, Wagner received her bachelor’s degree from Radford University in recreation, parks and tourism with a focus on special events, tourism and recreation administration. She then earned her master’s from George Williams College of Aurora University in Williams Bay, Wisc., in recreation administration with a focus on non-profit management. She brings knowledge and experience in business development, fundraising, community outreach, communications and strategic operations to her new role at the Alleghany Highlands YMCA.
During her tenure at the Rockbridge Area YMCA, Wagner led the organization to growth in all areas — wellness, childcare, membership and youth sports. She was also instrumental in establishing an early learning center at the Lexington-based YMCA. During the COVID crisis, she was at the forefront in developing wellness programming and emergency childcare. She helped establish enrichment centers for children during school closures in locations such as churches, a hotel and even a local restaurant.
Wagner is a past president of the Lexington-Rockbridge Chamber of Commerce and has served on the chamber board for seven years. Her husband, Shawn, is a native of Rockbridge County.
Wagner succeeds Unroe, who has served as CEO and executive director of the Alleghany Highlands YMCA for the past 13 years.
“Jennifer and her team have done an incredible job serving this community, and I plan to continue that important work,” Wagner said. “Strengthening community only happens one person at a time, and the YMCA is positioned to transform lives for many years to come.”
Unroe said that Wagner’s previous experience will be a key in positioning the Alleghany Highlands YMCA for future success.
“As a former executive director of the Rockbridge YMCA, Bobbie has the experience and knowledge to move to the next level of chief executive officer of the Alleghany Highlands Y,” Unroe said. “She has the drive, enthusiasm and passion of none other for the YMCA, and I feel at peace to leave this organization that I dearly love in her hands.”
Wagner will become the sixth chief executive officer in the history of the Alleghany Highlands YMCA. Previous CEOs include Jennifer Unroe (2010-2023), Gwen Bagley (2008-2010), Pat Newman (interim YMCA consultant 2008), J.B. Bufkin (1997-2008) and John C. “Chris” Ayers (1992-1997).
The Alleghany Highlands YMCA, since its inception in 1992, has provided a variety of youth and family programs and expanded membership and services into all of the Alleghany Highlands communities. For more information on the Alleghany Highlands YMCA, call 962-9622.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.