A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Amber Alexander

By: Kayla Weiss Last Updated: January 21, 2015

Amber-AlexanderAmber Alexander has long been invested in helping her community. A graduate of Wheeler High School, Alexander went off to Ball State University where she received her bachelor's degree in Sociology. Her entire life has been devoted to serving others – from student council to youth groups, from coaching volleyball to being an AmeriCorps volunteer. Alexander came to the Portage Township YMCA in the summer of 2008 as a volunteer in the day camp program, and she never left.

"I love my job and having the opportunity to positively influence the lives of people of all ages," Alexander said. "The Portage Township YMCA provides services for people aged 3 months to 90+ years old. I am honored to have the opportunity to offer guidance and direction for our staff and organization in our recent time of transition. I'm so looking forward to 2015 and all of the promise it brings for the Portage Township YMCA and the greater Portage community."

In her time there, Alexander has held many positions, including youth program director and associate executive director. Currently, she is in her second stint as the Interim CEO for the organization where she has many responsibilities to ensure a smooth running facility.

"She handles everything thrown at her with an incredible kind of grace," Carol Crowe, Marketing Coordinator of the Portage YMCA, said. "She's a great beacon for our values. She believes that God will give her the right direction, and it shows in everything she does."

She oversees the daily operations of the YMCA, represents the YMCA at all community events, partners with community organizations to offer programs and services to fit community need, raises funds for their annual support campaign with a goal of $70,500, seeks out and requests funds from granting organizations to supplement and support programs and services, and takes care of all of the duties related to the Senior Program Director positions.

"Working with Amber has been a refreshing experience," Arthur, one of Alexander's co-workers, said about his time with her. "I have previously had bosses who were dour and so serious as to seem angry and others who gave me no input at all. I would sometimes feel my job was threatened after just having a routine meeting with them. Amber motivates me to perform at my best with her enthusiasm and correct balance of seriousness and lightheartedness. She is so approachable and willing to help that I don't feel judged when I need to go to her for assistance.

"I believe her Christian ideals and background lay the groundwork for her desire to handle all situations to the best of her ability and with an eye toward the consequences of crafting her words carefully. She has a good command of the English language and seems comfortable in all kinds of situations. She recognizes the need to continually be in training to become better leader and encourages her staff to lean into gaining similar knowledge for themselves."

Through her work, Amber is very involved in the community and community events. She was an active committee member for the Y's 20th annual Bowl-A-Thon, raising over $15,000. She has initiated a chapter of Girls on the Run at the Portage YMCA. She has built teen programming efforts – initiating over-night events and dances that serve more than 500 teens every school year. She has also served das chairperson for the YMCA regional child care committee, facilitating meetings for child care directors, and participated in the creation of the Y's current strategic plan.

"Amber is showing a great commitment to the YMCA with perseverance and a can-do attitude. She is a great role model for all, especially those who find themselves facing adversity. Her deep faith in God guides her to make the right decisions and lead our staff in a positive direction," Susan Colvin, the Aquatics Coordinator at the Portage YMCA, said.

In her free time, Amber enjoys spending as much time as possible with her husband Jeff, and their sons, two-year-old Elijah and four-month-old Oliver.