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Tina Grant – YW Spotlight Profile

A self-described ‘child of St. Paul,’ Tina Grant grew up mere blocks from the YWCA St. Paul. But it wasn’t until a colleague invited her to a YW fundraiser in 2012, that she began to really understand the scope of YW’s work. “I thought they just offered swim lessons!” laughs Tina. “Attending Sweet Success was a great introduction to the organization. I was so moved by the breadth of the programming and services.”

Smiling group of Black people with arms around each other, pictured at a nonprofit fundraising celebration
Tina Grant (pictured in orange) with a group at Sweet Success.

The timing of that initial introduction was fortuitous. “I was looking for an opportunity to serve on a Board where I could actually make a difference. The Y offered that, as well as the chance to support a nonprofit that benefits the community where I grew up.”

As the HR Leader of Ecolab’s Global Food and Beverage division, Tina brings a mix of skills to her role as a YW Board member. “I wanted to be a journalist when I went to college, but I decided to be more pragmatic about my career opportunities and switched to Business, with a Finance focus. The time spent working in Finance taught me how to introduce better ways to communicate the numbers side of an organization’s story and to ensure we are transparent.” A mid-career transition to Human Resources built other talents. “The skills I’ve developed working in a HR leadership role were deployed in the search for a new leader when the YW was seeking a CEO.”

With a demanding job herself, Tina knows people often feel overwhelmed at the thought of adding volunteerism to an already full plate. “Everyone can give back! Give back based on your personal circumstances. If you don’t have time to serve on a Board, join a committee. If you can’t join a committee, volunteer for a single event. Just be really thoughtful about where you want to spend your time – don’t just stumble into volunteering.”

Having served on the Board since 2013, Tina continues to be impressed by the work YW does. “The racial justice work we’re doing is impactful because it’s integrated across all our programming. That’s something that really resonates with me. Additionally, the supportive housing services we offer are truly foundational. If you don’t have a safe place to lay your head, you really can’t expect to succeed at work, school, parenting – anything.”

When Tina isn’t working or volunteering, she’s dreaming about writing a book. “When I retire, I plan to write a book – fiction!” Tina also dreams about the future of YW. “I like to envision the YW as a new community hub model – that includes a new headquarters campus complete with affordable housing and expanded services – that would be a game-changer for this community.”