BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Vincent Lyles

Vincent Lyles, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
Organization address: 1558 N. 6th St., Milwaukee, WI 53212
Industry: Nonprofit/Youth service
Number of employees: 800
Family: Wife (Bethany) and two daughters (Miranda and Shelby)

What inspired Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee to deem 2014 “Year of the Girl”? What was your organization’s greatest accomplishment under that initiative?
“2014 marked the Club’s 30th anniversary of officially offering memberships to girls. The Milwaukee Clubs were the first in the national Boys & Girls Clubs movement to serve girls and change its name. Today we serve more than 18,000 girls annually. Our Year of the G.I.R.L. initiative created great opportunities to connect community leaders with our female members for mentoring opportunities, and it engaged more people with our mission.”

How will you carry “Year of the Girl” on through 2015?
“At our Year of the G.I.R.L. Celebration event, guests purchased opportunities for our girls – behind-the-scenes tours of local businesses and attractions, dinner with area executives, tickets to performances, etc. Hundreds of girls will participate in these experiences in 2015, and we plan to once again host an event in November celebrating the accomplishments of our young ladies. In addition, we will continue offering programming that meets the specific needs of our female members.”

What are your organization’s top priorities this year?
“2014 was a year of tremendous growth. We opened up five new sites and served more than 41,000 kids. Four of the five new sites serve teens, so we are looking to grow our job training and internship program, which will require more local businesses to partner with us to offer job placements. In addition, we will raise money to sustain our recent growth, and continue to bolster our after-school academic programming to ensure our members have opportunities to continue their education in a safe and welcoming environment.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your organization in the next year?
“We will hire staff as we expand our academic programming, and if our membership grows, we’ll hire staff accordingly. A priority for me is to continue to invest in the staff who serve our kids so they are prepared to handle the ever-increasing needs of our members.”

What will be your organization’s main challenges in the next year?
“I always challenge my colleagues to reach as many children and teens as possible, knowing the positive impact we have on their lives. And once a young person becomes a member, a new challenge is ensuring he/she attends frequently in order to reap the full benefits of what we offer.”

What inspired you to transition from the corporate sector to the nonprofit sector? Why did you want to lead Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee specifically?
“As president of M&I Community Development Corp., I became familiar with many different facets of our community and grew a deeper appreciation for the way the Clubs contribute to the stability and health of neighborhoods. I also saw the Clubs as an organization with a broad reach thanks to its board of trustees, history and focus on collaboration. I knew that if I wanted to be part of a big and positive change, Boys & Girls Clubs was a great fit.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“Be good and good things will happen for you.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“My list of role models is very long and it includes family, friends and even a few famous people. In general, I look up to people who are willing to take risks.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“Hire people other people want.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“Work out, golf, travel and read.”

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