Leadership change at West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA, as Josh Sutton heads east and Shalimar Gonzales heads west

(WSB photo)

Above are the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA‘s current and future leaders – Josh Sutton and Shalimar Gonzales, photographed at the Y’s Triangle headquarters this morning. This announcement from the Y (a longtime WSB sponsor) explains:

The West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA will be changing executive leadership this spring, with Shalimar Gonzales coming over from the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA and Josh Sutton headed to the Bellevue Family YMCA.

These moves are part of a larger Seattle YMCA reorganization to ensure continued strong programs and services locally and success for our 2020 Opportunities for All Campaign, including the completed new Sammamish Y and the West Seattle Y’s expansion and renovation. A new Kent Y that will break ground in 2018 and the University Y are major projects still in the works, and Josh will also manage the construction for the Kent YMCA.

“It’s been an amazing time here and I’m so happy with all we’ve gotten done,” says Josh, “I’m thankful for the educational & youth programs we have established in schools, the support of the community as we raised over $4 million locally for our expansion and renovation- just fantastic. I’m especially pleased to have Shalimar here next – she’s a great Y leader for our West Seattle community.”

Shalimar brings nearly 15 years of Y leadership to her new role, most recently as the executive of the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA in the Central area of Seattle. “I’m excited to hit the ground running in West Seattle as the board, staff, and community continue to develop what it means to be a YMCA in the 21st century.”

The two executives began planning the transition earlier this month, along with the West Seattle & Fauntleroy Y Board. Josh will wrap up his work at the end of March, with Shalimar coming over in the following weeks.

Gary Potter, current Board Chair, shares: “We thank Josh for his steadfast and positive leadership throughout his many years here. Our Y is in a great position to serve the growing and changing needs of West Seattle because of his work. We’re excited to partner with Shalimar as we look forward to what the community needs next from our YMCA.”

Sutton has been leading the West Seattle Y since 2001, and working with the regional organization since the mid-’80s, preceded by years of Y membership and volunteering while growing up in our area.

14 Replies to "Leadership change at West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA, as Josh Sutton heads east and Shalimar Gonzales heads west"

  • Tim Morgan March 14, 2017 (1:10 pm)

    I was a Y member for over 20 years.  I left, along with a host of many other members, when they began the remodel.  I have never been impressed with their ‘leadership’ and when they ignored the voices of full dues-paying members who also contributed to their fundraisers, we said enough was enough, and we left.  Good luck to them – they are going to need it.  You won’t see me in there again.

  • ImmaMom March 14, 2017 (6:16 pm)

    The beatiful Matt griffin Y has a lot of problems- hoping these problems don’t follow their leadership. Specifically: broken showers in family changing areas for at least the last 2 yrs, no enforcement of public health rules for the pool including requiring people to wear non street clothes/ undies in the pool, allowing people to wear street shoes on the pool deck, no enforcement of people taking showers before getting in pool.  This results in a VERY chlorinated pool which will stay with you for hours even after a thorough shower.  I hope the WSEA Y maintains higher standards than above.  

    • WSB March 14, 2017 (6:35 pm)

      I hope you have spoken to the management there, IM. Just for the record, though, Shalimar Gonzales is coming from the Meredith Mathews East Madison Y, as mentioned in the story, which is in central Seattle, not the Matt Griffin Y, which is in SeaTac. – TR

  • chantalinws March 15, 2017 (12:15 am)

    Grateful to Josh for his dedicated leadership to the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA and our greater community for many years. Best wishes to Josh in his new role at the Bellevue Y. 

  • Elevated Concerns March 15, 2017 (9:09 am)

    I have nothing but respect for Josh and his work for the Y organization and to his community.  Best of luck with your new position, they picked the right man.

  • James Guest March 15, 2017 (11:18 am)

    Can anyone explain to me why the YMCA membership is so much more than LA Fitness or WS Health Club? It seems odd that they would be the least affordable. Are my dues subsidizing others?

      • James Guest March 15, 2017 (1:30 pm)

        Thanks, just read through your article and comments.  Regarding the Y’s page:

        “With the Y, you’re not just a member of a facility; you’re part of a cause. With a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, improving health and well-being, and giving back and supporting our neighbors, your membership will not just bring about meaningful change in yourself, but also in your community.”

        How does it benefit the community? Do they need to pay dues? Are people with lower income allowed in for free? It’s okay if my dues subsidize others but no can answer what I feel to be a simple and honest question. Thanks.

    • Tacos r Bomb March 15, 2017 (1:42 pm)

       Long story short, if you’re just looking for a meat head gym and want to look at your biceps, and go to a gym where the only interaction that happens is when people watch you work out, go to LA fitness or WS health club.

      If you would like to get to know the community and the people, have a family with children who need to learn a sport, interested in swim lessons, need a place for children to learn and grow at their preschool, and on top of all that, want to look at their biceps, you can do it at the YMCA.  The price you pay monthly for a membership at the Y is worth it if you’re not a loner.

      • My two cents ... March 15, 2017 (3:04 pm)

        Wow!  I never knew I was a “meat head gym guy” — why aren’t my biceps bigger?  I flex every day.  

        Long story short – your comments are off-base and focused on YOUR concerns, not the community as a whole. I  find your tone rather demeaning and condescending.

  • Josh Sutton, YMCA March 15, 2017 (4:33 pm)

    JAMES GUEST: Hope this helps clarify…

    Monthly Membership Fees at the YMCA include most all programs & services within the building, and access to all YMCA facilities in King County, State of Washington, and often free access across the country.  At the West Seattle & Fauntleroy Y, we also are able to sell a “Local” Membership, if you’re only using the WS and Fauntleroy locations, at about $10/month less than what you see on the web.  Most published rates that you see for the gyms you mentioned do not include the same range of programs & services. 

    The Y seeks to provide more than what you might compare for a cost at some of the for-profit fitness centers that you named, including a focus on community programs, youth & family serving programs, and programs for seniors. 

    It’s also true that we provide a “sliding scale” for members with limited household income.  Anyone can apply, and staff can usually help right away.  A little less than 1 in 5 members at the West Seattle and Fauntleroy YMCA receive some support, with the majority of those being youth. 

    TACOS R BOMB – we want to provide a more welcoming environment at the Y.  If you’d like to be reckless online, please  use your real name so that you are responsible for the statements you make.

    IMMAMOM – I am reaching out to the new maintenance director at the Matt Griffin Y to ensure that those issues are resolved.  Very sorry that it hasn’t been before. 

    TIM –  I believe that many of the members you are referring to are former racquetball players.  Closing those courts to create Family Programs space was very difficult, and we tried to be respectful and honest about the situation throughout.  Regardless, I can understand the loss and feelings, and I’m sorry for that. 


    • My two cents ... March 16, 2017 (4:53 am)

      Frankly there was also a certain frustration with the management of the facility –  concerns were not addressed in a serious manner. Other factors drove people away from the YMCA than  racquetball courts.   Year after year membership  fees increased without seeing any tangible maintenance or upkeep of the fitness equipment.  An additional frustration was the consistency of being able to open on time,  have lifeguards available, and what seems to be excessive number of days closed for maintenance and such.  The track record for either this being closed or this not available was not very good in my opinion.  The lack of concern towards parking lot security and member feedback also contributed to people  giving up and moving on to other choices.

    • James Guest March 16, 2017 (11:54 am)

      Josh, thank you so much for posting and clarifying. I was not aware of the Y programs being complimentary and thanks for the tip on the discount to exclude other Y locations. Congrats with the new redesign.

      Is parking there an issue? I noticed that the lots were pretty small, I assume most members park on the street?  Or are the lots not that busy. I drove by on a Wed night and noticed the lots were full.

  • Sam-c March 16, 2017 (5:05 am)

    I don’ know, i thought tacos r bomb’s comment was complimentary of the ymca.  It’s more than checking out your biceps.:)

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