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Board Spotlight: Barb Tretheway

Retirement for some means slowing down to enjoy life without work. For others, like YWCA St. Paul Board Member Barb Tretheway, retirement is just the next step in your career. The former Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Health Partners now serves on four boards of directors in the Twin Cities and Portland, Maine.

Portrait of Barb Tretheway smiling at camera

Just back from a trip to Nebraska to visit the annual Sandhill Crane Migration, a phenomenon that happens before the cranes fly north, Tretheway took a few minutes from her busy schedule to share why she loves her position as one of YWCA St. Paul’s board members.

“You can’t have a bigger vision than YWCA’s mission,” Tretheway said.  “Empowering women and eliminating racism, it’s great work. I like interacting with people who are different than me, and I like the diversity of thought on the board.  It humbles me every day to work with so many highly intelligent, dedicated people.  The collective influence of support to the organization is inspiring.”

When contemplating what draws her to this work at YW, Tretheway is committed to building community resilience but says it’s impossible to build community resilience if a large segment of the community does not have access to programs like what YW provides.  Services that provide crisis and transitional housing out of homelessness, supporting young women to get through high school, educational support for youth in times of crisis, job training, and life skills development; these things uplift community resilience and build generational wealth.

So, what lead her to serve at YWCA St. Paul? Living in the neighborhood, Tretheway joined YW’s Health & Fitness Center and enjoyed getting fit close to home.  At some point early on, a friend who also belonged to HFC invited her to Sweet Success, YWCA St. Paul’s annual fundraiser.  It was there that she and her spouse learned about all the programming YWCA St. Paul provides, and she says, “as a club member, we were shocked to learn about all the great programming, so we donated to the organization.”

Phyllis Goff, a colleague who served on the Governance Committee with Tretheway at Health Partners set up a lunch with CEO Gaye Adams Massey and invited Tretheway.  While at that lunch, Goff suggested Tretheway join YWCA St. Paul’s board, and “when Phyllis Goff asks you to do something, you say yes,” said Tretheway.

As a member of the board for the American Red Cross Twin Cities, board member for Common Bond Communities, the Board Chair for Martin’s Point Health Care, and board member at YWCA St Paul, you won’t find Tretheway bored during her retirement. When she isn’t sharing her insight and professional experience, Tretheway takes time to travel, see friends and cook delicious meals.