Skip to main content
Photo of Karla at the Giving Tree gift distribution

At the YMCA of Lincoln, people make everything possible. We are so grateful for the wonderful staff we have that not only make the Y a great place to be, but serve our community every day. Keep reading to meet one of our amazing team members:


Karla Hudson, Cooper YMCA Associate Executive Director - Health & Wellness

How long have you been working at the YMCA of Lincoln? 

I have been at the Y for 25 years..

What other roles have you had at the Y? 

I began as an intern for a few months then served as the Health & Wellness Director at the Downtown YMCA. I've been an Associate Executive Director since 2006.

What makes the YMCA of Lincoln different than other places you've worked?

This has been my only "big girl job"... the Y and helping people is my career, it's a special place that I truly feel blessed to be a small part of. The team I get to work alongside are here because of the people and the small communities this organization creates. I enjoy being able to mentor and develop new staff, and I LOVE that I've worked with some team members for over 20 years. That says a lot about the YMCA.

What has been your proudest career moment and why?

When a member has driven across town for my class because it's "worth the drive," or they recruit a friend to join because they love it so much and want to share it with their favorite people. I was able to help lead a wellness floor refresh project for the association this past year – working with staff and members, researching trends, and bringing major changes and improvements to our wellness areas has been a big highlight.

What is one of your favorite memories from working at the Y?

In my first year I remember taking a deposit to the bank and seeing an "Angel Tree." It sparked an idea that I shared with our CLC Director that had recently told me many students in our program at Elliott Elementary wouldn't receive any Christmas gifts. I suggested we add ornaments to our lobby tree requesting gifts for all the kids in the program. Our Y members, volunteers, and staff stepped up big, and have every year since. The Giving Tree had brought hundreds of kids joy every holiday for the past 25 years.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Never stop learning. The health and wellness world is always changing and evolving. If we continue doing things like we've always done, we will never progress, we won't grow, and we become stagnant. Our goal is to help each other be the best versions of ourselves and being open to new ideas, and change makes that possible.

What's something most people don't know about you?

I'm a small town kid that grew up on a farm in Kansas. I was overweight and sedentary until I discovered sports in 7th grade, eventually earning a college basketball scholarship. I stumbled into an Exercise Science degree and because of the requirement to complete an internship, I ended up at the Lincoln YMCA and the rest is history!


We want to extend our sincerest thanks and congratulations to Karla for helping to make the YMCA of Lincoln a great place for 25 years! We can't wait to see how she will continue to make a difference in our community in the future.


Locations: Cooper YMCA
Category: Employee Spotlight