YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW) Announces Appointment of New President and CEO 

Bertram Lawson, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine

Bertram L. Lawson II joins YGBW on Monday, July 10 

(West Chester, PA) – The board of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine is pleased to announce the appointment of Bertram L. Lawson II as President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. Lawson will take office on Monday, July 10.

Lawson is a seasoned 24-year YMCA professional who most recently served as the President and CEO of the YMCA of Central New York, which boasts nine branches and more than thirty program sites in Central New York. Lawson previously served as the Chief Operating Officer for Mastery Charter Schools Network and Senior Vice President of Operations at the YMCA in Central Maryland.

“The YMCA board conducted a national search to identify the next individual to lead this association,” shares Donna Urian, YMCA of Greater Brandywine board chair and chief volunteer officer. “Bertram is a mission-driven leader and a passionate advocate for impacting lives and enhancing organizational culture. The committee was also impressed with his leadership and experience in the realm of DEI.” 

“In his previous YMCA experience, Bertram created strategic partnerships to advance the organization’s mission and brand and we look forward to him doing the same here in Chester County.”   

Lawson is a Philadelphia native who began his Y career at the Greater Philadelphia YMCA, where he held numerous increasing roles including Vice President of Operations. He also established their DEI department.   

He is an active volunteer, serving on numerous boards. His volunteer roles include serving on the Board of Trustees for Lincoln University, YMCA of the USA’s National Membership Standards Advisory Committee, as the immediate past chair for the YMCA of the USA’s African American Employee Relations Network (AARN) and as a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - in addition to many others.   

“We are most grateful for the hard work of the CEO search committee and of the many individuals who participated in the process. I hope that you will join me in welcoming Bertram to the YMCA of Greater Brandywine. We are looking forward to beginning this new phase of work under his leadership,” continues Urian.  

Lawson succeeds Denise Day, the organization’s President and CEO for more than thirteen years, who retired in June 2023. 


Bertram L. Lawson II serves as the President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine (YGBW), impacting more than 50,000 residents of Chester County through services offered at nine branches and program centers. Prior to joining YGBW in July 2023, Bertram served as the President & CEO of the YMCA of Central New York – and has been devoted to the YMCA mission for nearly 25 years.

Bertram has served in leadership positions with the YMCA of Central Maryland, as well as the YMCA of Greater Philadelphia where he streamlined operations and improved member and staff experience through his visionary leadership, operational excellence, fiscal responsibility and philanthropic expertise – combined with his passion for education; youth development; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and community service.

Bertram’s passion for education and youth development extends beyond his career with the YMCA as he served as the Chief Operating Officer for Mastery Charter Schools Network. In this role, he led all aspects of school operations – financial planning, facilities, real estate, athletics, extra-curricular programming, health and safety, food service and enrollment – for twenty-four campuses across Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ.

Bertram serves on numerous boards including Community Rec Magazine-National Advisory Board, Core Health & Fitness-National Advisory Board, YMCA of the USA-National Membership Standards Advisory Committee and Lincoln University (PA) Board of Trustees. Bertram is the Immediate Past National Chair for YMCA of the USA’s African American Employee Resource Network (AARN) and is an active member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University (PA) and is currently working towards an MBA from Wilmington University. Bertram holds multiple Y-USA certifications, including Organizational Leader. Bertram is a graduate of Y-USA’s Multicultural Executive Development Institute, C-Suite Next Level Coaching Program and CEO Institute.

Bertram is the proud father of four and husband to Melissa.


Category: Press