Greater Green Bay YMCA President/CEO
In November of 2018, the Greater Green Bay YMCA witnessed a passing of the torch from Steve Harty, President/CEO for the past 20 years, to Sean Elliott. Sean most recently served as the Vice President of Operations, Services, & Capital for the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA. This Philadelphia native has been with the YMCA for 19 years and knows the kind of impact the Y has in a community. He says it is “tremendous. The Y has an incredible opportunity to impact so many people each and every day in a positive way throughout the communities we serve.”
Outside of the Y, you would likely find Sean spending time with his family. “My wife Andrea works at a not-for-profit organization (Cradles to Crayons) in Philadelphia that provides clothing & school supplies to families throughout the city. We have four children: Joseph (14), Sean (13), Charlotte (11), & Evelyn (7), and love attending sporting events, dance recitals, playing golf, and spending time at the beach.”
Let’s get to know Sean!
Stay in or Go out? Stay in
Peanut Butter or Jelly? Jelly
Black or White? Black
Fat tire or Mountain bike? Mountain bike
Pizza or Organic Salad? Pizza
Sweet or Salt? Sweet
High Ropes or Zip Line? Zip Line
Strength Train Together or Cycle Together? Cycle Together
Read a magazine or read a book? Book
10K or 5k? 5k
Tent Camp or Trailer Camper Camp? Tent Camp
Favorite Group Exercise class? Spinning
Favorite food? Seafood (just about anything)
Favorite quote? “Without a lot of people working together, there would be no successful leaders,” John Maxwell
Favorite movie? The movie Miracle about the 1980 USA Hockey Team
And how does Sean feel about moving to Packer country? “I absolutely love football and my favorite Leadership topic is teamwork. My family embraces sports and we love going to events together, as well as look forward to being a part of the “Packer” experience throughout the Green Bay community. The Packers are so much more than just a football team. The Packers aren’t the only highlight of Green Bay.”
When asked what surprised him the most about his visit to Green Bay, Sean was surprised by “How ‘family oriented’ it is. "I was hopeful when I visited, but was amazed at the authenticity and values of the people I met.” What is Sean most looking forward to learning more about in the community and at the Y? “The secret of Green Bay. Family, values, community, and the Y. People who come here don’t ever want to leave. The Y is an amazingly stable, growing, and forward thinking organization and one I am honored to be a part of.”
After reflecting on his transition to Green Bay, Sean took time to discuss the YMCA’s mission and how he helps to deliver it. “I think you have to start with modeling the behavior you want to see in others. I believe our mission is alive in our character values and needs to be evident in everything we do. I’m also a believer that no one in the Y has accomplished anything of significance completely on their own and it takes a collective Team to achieve success in our business, which is to deliver our mission to our community every day.” Sean also mentioned his greatest contribution as a YMCA employee has been “positively impacting lives. I hope that when I look back at my career (and my life) that is something I am fortunate enough to be remembered for.”
As our interview ended, Sean wanted to add one note:
I feel I have the best job in the world. Working with a great team of amazing people in an organization that has the opportunity to impact countless lives each and every day in our community is simply a blessing. It never feels like “work”, and I am fortunate to do what I love in collaboration with great people which always makes me feel like the luckiest person on earth.
Greater Green Bay YMCA Healthy Living Executive
Originally from Plymouth, WI, the “Cheese Capital of the World,” Sarah Seifert made her way to the Greater Green Bay YMCA after attending YMCA camps while growing up and previously teaching group fitness classes at the Sheboygan YMCA. She joined our YMCA family in December 2017 after working for Sports Core in Kohler, WI. A proud UW-Stevens Point alumna, she has always been fond of the YMCA and has a long history in Health and Wellness.
As Healthy Living Executive, her days are anything but typical. She helps members and the community become healthier in all aspects of spirit, mind, and body by building programming on Christian principles to enhance their life. “I travel to all of the centers throughout the week, typically visiting two or three locations per day. I work on creating and implementing healthy living initiatives focused on Group Exercise, Personal Training, Small Group Training, LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA, and fitness equipment to create the best experiences possible for YOU, our members.”
Sarah's passion is helping people, and she enjoys knowing she has the chance to make a positive impact on someone’s life. “Providing encouragement, empowering others, seeing them succeed, and watching their confidence grow is the reason I do what I do. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many different people and everyone holds a place in my heart.” Defend Together for Group Exercise, along with our Small Group Training options, are her favorite fitness classes at the YMCA. She encourages you to meet with one of our personal trainers who are here to help you succeed.
In her free time, she enjoys going on adventures, although not many would guess she has a fear of heights. Striving to overcome this fear, she began rock climbing in college and has since taken it up as a hobby. She also enjoys cooking and creating new dishes. “Food is fuel for the body. My general rule of thumb is: if it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”
She loves to be active and spend time outdoors camping, running on trails, stand up paddle boarding, and looks forward to exploring volunteer options within the area through various organizations and church groups. Currently, she is training for a Half Marathon Trail Run this summer in Upper Michigan.
Let’s get to know Sarah!
Stay in or go out? Both
Cats or dogs? Both
Sweet or salty? Sweet
Winter or summer? Summer!!
City or countryside? Both
Morning or night person? Morning! Especially for working out!
Water or land? Water!
Pizza or taco? Taco
Chocolate or vanilla? Blueberry Crumble (Preferably Halo Top for a healthier version!)
Cake or pie? Neither- I'd rather save my calories for cheese! Sartori BellaVitano flavors are my favorite indulgence.
Book or movie? Both!
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!” is her favorite fitness quote from Zig Ziglar. She says that people think they have to already be fit before going to a class or working with a personal trainer, but it really is the other way around. “It doesn’t matter where you’re at on your fitness journey, you can always try something that excites you! The best advice is simple: Step outside of your comfort zone, try something new and find a partner in crime to join in the fun!”
As an employee of the YMCA, she enjoys the people the most, including “all of the amazing members and staff!” She envisions herself growing into her role within the next five years and influencing the Healthy Living Initiatives to create a healthy community. “I see the YMCA continuing to grow in the positive impact it has in the wonderful Green Bay community and providing more opportunities for everyone to grow in health and wellness!”
Greater Green Bay YMCA Chief Operating Officer
Sharna Braucks came to the Greater Green Bay YMCA from the Twin Cities to continue her 20-year-long career with the YMCA. We’ve been fortunate enough to have Sharna as Chief Operating Officer for the Greater Green Bay YMCA since September 17, 2017. This role involves supporting the leadership teams at our four centers to ensure that we fulfill the Y’s mission, provide exemplary programs and services, and work to better our community.
“Our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. I deliver on that by helping our teams at the centers have the resources they need, a structure to support them, and a facility that is functional to work with our members on attaining their goals of spirit, mind, and body. I help plan for the future so the YMCA will be here, delivering on that mission, for generations to come.”
She made the move to Green Bay with her husband of 24 years, Darren, along with her mother. She also has a daughter who attends the University of Minnesota-Rochester. Her mother, Sarona, is named after a small town in Wisconsin, and they named her daughter, Sanora, after her by switching two of the letters from her name. When asked about the transition from Minnesota to Wisconsin, she says she has always loved the Midwest and finds it to be pretty similar, aside from a few new words like “bubbler” or “Ashwaubenon.”
Making a difference in the lives of others is her passion and hopes her greatest contribution to the YMCA is to help people feel great about themselves and do what they once saw as impossible. “I want to help people achieve their best life, whatever that looks like for them. I know the work we do through the Y changes people’s lives for the better and to see that impact motivates me every day.”
Let’s get to know Sharna!
Stay in or go out? Go out
Cats or dogs? Dogs
Sweet or salty? Both!
Winter or summer? Spring, I’m not an extremist.
City or countryside? Countryside
Morning or night person? Night time is the right time!
Water or land? Land
Pizza or taco? Taco
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate if I have to choose, otherwise- Twist
Cake or pie? Pie
Book or movie? Movie
Sharna enjoys spending her free time watching movies, taking walks, being with friends, and traveling. She volunteers with her church and participates in community service organizations, and looks forward to becoming more involved in the Green Bay community. Her favorite movie is Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell. Something few may know about her is that she lived in Norway during her junior year of high school as an exchange student and can still speak some Norwegian.
As far as what a ‘typical’ day looks like for her, she says one of the great things about working for the Y is that there are not any. There are always different challenges and opportunities. Her days consist of working with key stakeholders to ensure that we are being fiscally sound, customer focused, and delivering on mission critical results.
Looking forward to the future, she anticipates an evolution in the communities we serve. “We might become more digital, we might offer more off-site programming, or fitness could take on a whole new format or trend...I love that the YMCA is ever changing to meet the community’s needs. We are not stagnate. We see a gap, and we try to fill it.”
A quote from Sharna’s favorite movie, Auntie Mame with Rosalind Russell, serves as her reminder to live out each day to the fullest and appreciate all that life has to offer: “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!”