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Casey Harden, 36, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the YWCA

Jan 04, 2011 09:56PM ● By Anonymous

When Annapolis born-and-bred Casey Harden graduated from Broadneck High School she headed to Evergreen State College in Olympia,Washington, which offered an “alternative education, not unlike St. John’s,” she explains. She felt that type of school in that area of the country would better suit her “activist nature.” She was certain that she “was never, ever coming back to Annapolis,” she says with a laugh.

Her service-oriented philosophy and need to make the world a better place found a nurturing environment in the Northwest as she spent 12 years teaching and becoming involved in such local organizations as the Pierce County Commission Against Domestic Violence, Pierce County Coalition for the Homeless, Thurston County Family Planning Advisory Committee, and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Casey’s teaching experience and community involvement made her a natural for a job opening with the YWCA in Tacoma that a friend insisted she pursue. “I grudgingly went to the interview…and came out desperately hoping I’d get the job.” She did. Everything was great. Then came her brother’s dramatically timed San Francisco wedding… four days after 9/11. “My east coast family members had come in early for the wedding, before the airports shut down,” she remembers. “But I ended up having to drive down from Washington.”The intense emotions of those days, and her family being together for the first time in quite awhile (she’s one of five kids), proved too strong a force for Casey. She and her partner decided then and there to move to Annapolis. There was a little culture shock for him and his kids, but it soon passed. Everyone loves it here now.

Once back home, Casey began working as Director of Operations for the YWCA in Arnold; then the Baltimore YWCA recruited her. In October she was named Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the YWCA, where she will be providing education, advocacy, and marketing support to more than 40 “Y” facilities from New Jersey to Tennessee. She will also be working from home, something that delights her since it will allow more time with her five-yearold son, Peter, and his sister Sadie, two-and-a-half.

“Strong alone, fearless together” is a YWCA tenet Casey deeply believes. “I will work hard to have that notion manifest on a regional level to achieve the YWCA mission of peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.”

—Sarah Hagerty