So often we hear about the heartless companies or the faceless bureaucracies of the working world, which is why it is so inspiring and a privilege to know someone like Judy Kutler, a YW Administrative Systems Manager, who is retiring after 33 years at the organization. The truism is that she’s seen change, perhaps no more profound than when we sold our home a decade and a half ago, and not only changed venues, but also transformed our identity into the diffuse and diverse nonprofit we are today. Fortunate for us, humanism has been the bedrock on which the YW was founded, while compassionate and courageous people like Judy Kutler are the pillars on which it’s stood.
Judy began her work with YWCA of the City of New York (YWCA) in 1983 at Polly Dodge Early Learning Center, where she was an assistant teacher. At the time, her daughter Marci was also enrolled in the program at Polly Dodge. “[YWCA programs are] vital… I needed to work, [my husband] was out looking for a job but, then who was going to watch my daughter? So she went to Polly Dodge. We needed it.” Later, her daughter Marci came back to YWCA as a teaching assistant during her undergraduate and later as a full time teacher during her graduate education before moving to New Jersey to continue her career. “It’s been a big part of my family’s life,” she said. Indeed, three plus decades make it difficult to extricate what you do from who you are in the nonprofit world, when ‘clients’ are families being held together from every task, no matter how seemingly mundane, accomplished by Judy. The stories she can tell could fill volumes and New York City itself is more cohesive because of every one of them.
Judy is modest when discussing the reciprocation of influence between her and the organization. She has held 4 positions at YWCA over the past 33 years. Demonstrating the versatility and professionalism demanded by a small nonprofit, she, early in her tenure, was concurrently responsible for Human Resources and financial management. Listening to her tell her story, it is readily apparent that she has seen all of the ins, outs, ups and downs, within every department which translate well to her current role as the Administrative Systems Manager. Judy liaisons with every department to negotiate the intricate web and processes involved with securing contracts, licenses and permits that support the structure of YWCA programming—like the bolts, holding it all together. “It takes a lot of teamwork,” she says.
“[YWCA] is a great place, I’ve spent half of my life here, I will miss it but, it’s time to move on,” she says, smiling. After retiring, Judy looks forward to going on a cruise (probably to the Caribbean!) with her husband and spending time with her grandson. When asked if she had any advice to pass on to employees and anyone else reading she said, “Keep your sense of humor, and maintain open communication.” In her place, she leaves behind a strong, relevant, and vibrant organization, and communities, because of the work of Judy Kutler. Celebrate and emulate!