David L. Duro
Executive Director • Treasure Valley Family YMCA
“I know that I am very seldom the smartest person in the room, and so I really rely on people around me, which is our leadership team and our staff.”
To Serve All
Servant-leader mindset allows organizations opportunities to connect with the community
“Our YMCA will change the world,” he says. “We envision a community where all children can reach their individual potential — that’s why I’m so excited to get up and go to work every day. I know our programs really make a difference for people.”
The efforts of Duro and his team give people throughout the Treasure Valley a place to take control of their own health, and for tens of thousands of Boise-area children to participate in youth programs such as camps for art, dance, music, STEM, teen leadership and more.
The Y’s programs make a huge difference in the community, but Duro says it’s not about the big things, but the little ones.
“It’s the families that we get to work with in our 23 child care centers,” he says. “It’s seeing somebody really blossom and get confidence, and gaining skills to get on a different path in life because of the small contribution we make to helping them.”
A servant-leader mindset
While Duro enjoys seeing members of the community grow, his colleagues say his leadership style is centered on helping staff members thrive and grow, too.
Treasure Valley YMCA CFO Tom O’Neil says one of the first things Duro did after taking over as CEO was to implement 20 key operating principles to shape the culture at the Y. Part of that culture centers around making staffers feel valued.
“David welcomes new staff by hosting a monthly meeting,” O’Neil says. “He learns the names of all new staff members, something about them, and shares his personal story of working at the Y. When David encounters these new staff members as he visits the branches, he remembers them. He has an incredible capacity for remembering people and their stories.”
Tom Corrick, CEO of Boise Cascade, has worked with Duro for several years as a board member and volunteer for the Treasure Valley YMCA. He first met Duro in the 1980s when Duro was a frontline manager for the Y.
“Over the years, I have seen David in every type of situation — from high-stress organizational challenges in the board room, to laughing with a 10-year-old in the Y’s Downtown Youth Center,” Corrick says.
“My overwhelming image of all these experiences is that David is a servant-leader, for the Y, its employees, its members and the community,” he adds.
Duro believes in shared leadership, he says.
“I know that I am very seldom the smartest person in the room, and so I really rely on people around me, which is our leadership team and our staff,” Duro says. “The Y is volunteer-driven, and we’ve got a great board and great committees. We don’t have to look too far to find an expert in anything.”
In 2018, under Duro’s leadership, the YMCA opened a new facility in south Meridian. It is integrated into Hillsdale Elementary, St. Luke’s health clinic, a 10-acre city park and a “Tiny Library,” which is housed in a repurposed shipping container but will expand into a full library branch in the future. The project was a collaboration between local government and the nonprofit YMCA.
“It’s a unique model in that the school and the Y are directly connected,” Duro says, “and it’s got a strong St. Luke’s hospital component, where St. Luke’s owns part of the building. Really the concept is that by bringing all those parties together, we didn’t have to build as much infrastructure and we shared in the cost, so it made it much more efficient for the taxpayers and private donors.”
The donations Duro and his staff raised totaled $18.6 million and allowed the new facility to open debt-free from day one.
“Those are all private contributions,” Duro says. “Individuals, businesses and foundations that really believed in what we were doing and stepped up to support it.”
Maureen O’Keeffe, a board member of the Treasure Valley YMCA, has known Duro for 20 years. Duro has often been recognized as a key talent in the organization, and his reputation as a strong leader has earned him several promotions over the years, she says.
“It’s not overly surprising that the national YMCA also recognized Dave’s talent,” O’Keefe says. “They recruited him to the national office in Chicago. For the next four years, he had responsibilities for 140 YMCAs across the western half of the U.S.”
But Duro returned to the Treasure Valley Family YMCA in October 2015 as CEO. Since then, he has demonstrated the excellent leadership she and the board had hoped for when they hired him, O’Keeffe says.
Since Duro took over as CEO, the Treasure Valley YMCA’s revenue has grown by 18.5% and its net income has increased by 54%, O’Keefe says.
“He not only has retained the core value of the YMCA’s cause — to serve all, regardless of their ability to pay — but he has allowed the Treasure Valley Y to expand its reach and solidify its footing,” she says.
“We build people at the YMCA,” Duro says. “We strive to ensure that all of our team members, staff or volunteers, grow new skills and gain valuable experience that will serve them in their continued role at the Y, or in another position elsewhere. It is their development that matters.”
Open to everyone
Those who know Duro best agree that he’s a great leader worthy of being called a CEO of Influence, but Duro credits his nomination for the award to the YMCA.
“The thing I was thinking when I was nominated and chosen to receive this award is that it really is more about the Y and the work that we do,” Duro says. “The greatest thing for me is that everyone’s welcome at the Y, no matter what. It doesn’t matter their income, or their background or their belief system, our doors are open to everyone. It’s a pretty great environment to work in, and I feel thankful every day that I fell into this career.”