Meet Berwyn’s Leaders: Jamie Kucera – Executive Director/CEO – Pav YMCA
Describe yourself using 3 words:
Organized, Perfectionist, Driven
Which person from history would you most like to meet?
It would be incredible to sit down and have a glass of wine with Diana, Princess of Wales. Her life intrigues me, her humanitarian efforts and charitable giving has always been fascinating to me.
What song or artist are you listening to now? What is your go-to song or artist?
The wide range of music on my playlists is ridiculous. I go from Enya to Pitbull in one set! My go-to artist is and forever will be P!nk. Her music just resonates with me.
What is something that you’re NOT good at?
Delegating. I am absolutely awful at delegating. I have gotten better over the years as CEO at the Y, but it is still the one thing that I wish that I was better at. I feel like I have to take care of everything and everyone, all the time.
What do you bring with you everywhere you go?
Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. The original Beeswax; no flavors, no tint, I have a serious addiction. I will always have it in my pocket or purse, but there is likely already a tube of it where I am going…my car, my office, on my kitchen windowsill, they are everywhere.
What is one question you get asked repeatedly about your profession?
Do I make a lot of money as a CEO? My answer is always the same. “I make a lot less than the middle aged man in my position and I work for a non-profit, there generally are not excessively high salaries in this professional sector.”
Other than your business where, in Berwyn, is the first place you would take someone that has never been to Berwyn?
Benny’s Pizza, obviously for the best pizza on this planet, Vesecky’s Bakery for the best kolacky and Lavergne’s Tavern because I like the ambiance and am always up for cocktails!
Are there any myths/untruths about your profession or industry that you would like to clear up?
The YMCA is not just a “gym & swim.” While we have a great pool and gymnasium, your local YMCA does so much more for the community than provide opportunities for physical health. From feeding seniors to providing remote learning childcare, we are constantly pivoting to meet the needs of the community often with limited resources.
If you could travel back in time, what 3 tips would you give yourself before opening your business?
1.) Learn to delegate early; If I started this habit early in my career, it would not feel so difficult now. 2.) Take time to prioritize your wellbeing. Know when to walk away for the day/week, the task/job will likely be there the next day. If there is a time sensitive project that requires longer work hours, make sure that you take time to recover your spirit, mind and body. 3.) You cannot please everyone. Working in non-profit customer service for the last 20 years has taught me that no matter what decisions I make, I will never please everyone.
Why do you work in Berwyn/Why did you choose Berwyn for your business location?
I work in Berwyn because this is where I grew up, I know this community and I have built many relationships here. There really are so many great businesses and leaders that support one another. It is hard to leave when there is so much work to do for the community.
What resources would you recommend to a fellow business owner or someone thinking of starting their own business which have been key to your success?
I always tell people, find your inner circle to support your efforts. Oftentimes, partnerships allow for greater impact to reach an end goal; I try to surround myself with like-minded people who support the mission of the Y movement and serving others. It is really important to get involved in community events and be in the constant state of introducing yourself to people.