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McGilvray Nielsen to lead YWCA of Hawaii Island


The YWCA of Hawaii Island has hired Kathleen McGilvray Nielsen as its new chief executive officer.

McGilvray Nielsen will oversee operations of Hawaii Island’s principal service organization directed to women and children. Programs include the only 24/7 sex assault crisis hotline and Healthy Start program for mothers and babies.

Kathleen McGilvray Nielsen

The YWCA operates from two facilities in the Hilo area and one location in Kona.

Prior to her appointment at the YWCA, McGilvray Nielsen served as a Housing Specialist V for the County of Hawaii, administering the Workforce Investment Board and its education and training programs.

She also spent four years as the Hawaii County Branch Director for Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, Inc., where she doubled revenue and increased the number served by more than 500 percent.

“Kathleen’s extensive organizational leadership experience combined with her background in the social sciences and community development will make her an effective and compassionate CEO,” said YWCA Board President Jennifer Tanouye. “She is a great team-builder, and we look forward to seeing her ideas implemented.”

McGilvray Nielsen earned her B.S. degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City. She is actively involved in women’s issues as a member of Zonta International and past president of the Zonta Club of Hilo. Other community activities include the Virea Society, the Orchid Society and the Palm Society, and she has been a VisionKeeper with Envision Downtown Hilo 2025.

The YWCA is the voice for every woman. For more than a century, the YWCA has spoken out and taken action on behalf of women and girls. More than 2 million people participate each year in YWCA programs at more than 1,300 locations across the U.S. Worldwide, the YWCA serves more than 25 million women and girls in 125 countries.

YWCA Hawaii Island is a not-for-profit membership organization and a United Way Agency Partner, providing services to meet community needs. YWCA Hawaii Island is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

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