2023 Keynote Speaker

Wendy L. Waters-Connell

Wendy L. Waters-Connell, RN, MSN, LNHA, CPASRM

Wendy Waters-Connell, CEO of YWCA Hamilton, is a graduate of  New Miami High School who earned her undergraduate nursing degree from Miami, followed by a Master of Science in Nursing Administration from Wright State University. She furthered her education in Nursing Home Administration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition she holds a professional certificate in Aging Services Risk Management, a certificate for professional fund raising, and is a Train the Trainer for Trauma Informed Care. 

Prior to joining the YWCA, Wendy served as CEO for the Quaker Heights Care Community for over 18 years, where she oversaw the expansion of the elder care community from a small private nursing home into a larger assisted living and rehabilitation center. Earlier in her career, she worked for the Fort Hamilton Healthcare Corporation as a Director of Nursing.

She began serving as CEO of the YWCA Hamilton in 2018, and has reaffirmed it’s dedication to eliminate racism and empower women by expanding programs and services. Wendy also built a brand-new campus with permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless disabled adults and emergency domestic violence shelter units. 

She has served on many local, state, and national boards and committees for elder care and risk retention groups. Her current service includes several local, state, and national boards and committees for organizations such as Ohio Domestic Violence Network, Women Walking West, Ohio Council of YWCAs, YWCA USA, Hamilton PRIDE, and the Greater Hamilton Coalition Against Hate. 

Acknowledging her distant non-tribal membership heritage with the Saskatchewan area Cree, and the more recent Euro-American heritage, Wendy uses her intersectional identities to help others grow their understanding around issues such as appropriation, objectification, health, and gender and racial disparities for Black, Indigenous, and Women and People of Color. 

Wendy has been married to Chris, another Miami graduate, since 1988 and they have two adult sons who live in Hamilton with their families. Wendy believes her most impactful role is now that of grandmother.