Eliminating racism.

Empowering women.

Promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

YWCA Alaska Announces Jessie Lavoie as new CEO

The YWCA of Alaska is thrilled to announce Jessie Lavoie as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective August 12. Lavoie currently serves as the Director of Grants and Programs at the Alaska Community Foundation, where since 2018 she has led a diverse set of programs through the pandemic, through leadership transition, and through sustained growth. Lavoie was selected after a rigorous and expansive national search, as the YWCA Alaska has been under interim leadership for nearly a year as the Board of Directors worked on a new strategic plan in alignment with new leadership.

Jessie Lavoie

Jessie Lavoie will join the staff of the YWCA after spending the last six years serving the organization as a volunteer Board member (2019-2023) and the last year as Board President (2023-24). She stepped off the board earlier in the summer in order to be considered as a candidate. This progression, moving from governance to leadership, mirrors the trajectory of the YWCA Alaska Founder and first Executive Director Sharon Richards. “In 1988, I was the president of the Organizing Board of the YWCA Anchorage and I resigned that role in order to become the first YWCA ED. Jessie is certainly perfect for this role, and I am so excited to welcome her,” says Richards, who served the organization as ED from 1989 to 2003.

In addition to her considerable commitment to the mission of the YWCA demonstrated through her Board leadership, Jessie’s professional resume and leadership ability were unrivaled among the candidates from across the USA that applied. “Jessie Lavoie is the candidate you come up with in your wildest imagination,” says Davina Napier, YWCA Alaska Board President. “Her experience in coordinating community programs, her network within Alaska, her knowledge of our organization and her personal and professional alignment with our mission just could not be more perfect. I speak for the entire Board of Directors in saying that we are beside ourselves with excitement that she decided to make the leap.”

Jessie’s first months are expected to align with the release of the YWCA Alaska 2024 Strategic Plan, which will govern the strategic and operational goals of the organization in the next few years “I’m excited to facilitate the mission of the YWCA Alaska by leaning into social justice here in Alaska. We’ve worked hard to develop a great, ambitious, and actionable strategic plan for the next phase of our organizational life, and it’s an exciting time to be starting my time as CEO of the YWCA. I’m also looking forward to bringing my personal and professional network to the work of the YWCA, and think we will really be able to hit the ground running.”


YPOA logo transparent

Young People of Achievement Nominations Open Now

2024 Award & Scholarship

YWCA Alaska’s Young People of Achievement Awards are competitive awards recognizing and celebrating five youth leaders in Alaska. These are young people who have overcome major obstacles in their lives, and who have made efforts to eliminate racism, empower others and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

We need your help to identify, encourage and help these amazing youth apply for this incredible opportunity. The application deadline is June 30, 2024.

2024 YWCA Alaska Race Against Racism featured

Race Against Racism

Join us in August 2024 for a virtual 5K or 10K to advance awareness and advocate for equity. Registration and sponsorship opportunities are open now!

Anchorage Community Housing Conversation

Anchorage Community Housing Conversation

Friday, August 23, 2024

It's no secret that when there's a housing shortage, women and people of color feel the pinch the most. Join us to speak with and to Municipal Assembly members about housing challenges in our city. This is an opportunity to put your experience on the record, which will be conveyed back to our lawmakers as they make decisions and plan for the future.

FREE: no registration required!

WOA Save the Date 2024

Women of Achievement 2024

Monday, November 18, 2024

Celebrate this year’s outstanding awardees at the 35th Annual Women of Achievement and Youth Awards Luncheon at the Marriott. Held annually, this celebratory event acknowledges the exceptional leadership of women in Alaska. Each year, ten women are selected based on their demonstrated personal and/or professional leadership and their service to the community which aligns with the mission of YWCA Alaska. Nominations close on September 6, 2024.

Calling All Past Women of Achievement

We’d like to stay in touch and share updates and special opportunities with you.


YWCA Alaska has been serving Alaskans since 1989. We are committed to supporting and fostering a community where all the peoples of this great land can live and thrive. And we work to accomplish that by focusing on work that helps to eliminate racism and empower women and girls. We believe in the power of dialogue and the value of respectful conversations and action on issues that matter to Alaskans. As you explore our website, know that you are welcome and invited to engage in this work with us.


Access, Equity, Opportunity

Women of Achievement

Wellbeing & Health

Young People of Achievement

With sincere thanks to our friends at Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest and AmeriCorps for their ongoing partnership and support.


A year of service, a world of difference.