Michelle Hurdle-Bradford has been at YWCA Clark County for the past eight years. Started as a volunteer as a trainer of diversity classes,she was then hired four years ago as the Social Change Program Manager. Before coming to YWCA, Michelle worked 25 years as Vice President of Operations for a major bank. She began her foray into the social service world in 2001, working as a Workfirst counselor. While there, Michelle attended the Dynamic Works Institute to earn National Certifications as a WorkForce professional, both as an administrator, as well as a supervisor. She was also a Loaned Executive for United Way.
Michelle was drawn to YWCA because her values of eliminating racism and empowering women align so well with the organization. Her role as Social Change Program Manager includes imparting a great deal of education. She runs the Eliminating Racism classes, providing training to high school and college students, as well as companies. The Social Change Program, through Michelle’s leadership, hosts the annual Community Celebration and monthly Conversations in the Community.
The Community Celebration is a public commemoration of diversity, racial justice and social change. Each year, the Val Joshua Awards are bestowed to people who demonstrate leadership in eliminating racism and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
Conversations in the Community is a monthly lunch series, held every first Monday, that explores issues of discrimination and cultural challenges in a safe, respectful, discussion oriented environment. shared, Every meeting starts by having attendees introduce themselves and discuss their business or any events in which they are involved. Next, staff of a featured YWCA program gives a presentation. June featured YWCA’s Independent Learning Skills Program. Afterwards, participants present news articles or issues they’d like to discuss and everyone engages in a roundtable discussion. This past meeting attendees discussed, among other things, the Boy Scouts new policy allowing openly gay youth, the controversy over the recent Cheerios ad that featured a biracial family, and bullying in school. Bev Collins, ILS Program Director, worked with Michelle at both these events shared, “Michelle knows how to relate to all individuals and truly makes you feel like a valuable part of the team. Her vast amount of experience with the public offers you great opportunities to build on your personal development and goals.”
Recently Michelle was honored with by Educational Opportunities for Children and Families (EOCF) and received their Early Learning Community Partner Award to recognize her outstanding leadership and contributions to the early learning community. “They (EOCF) had a luncheon with over 200 attendees at Club Green Meadows. I had 20 of my co-workers and friends attend the event. It was wonderful.”
While Michelle is very proud of receiving this recognition, her greatest joy from her job comes from the citizens she engages, especially those who are initially hesitant to participate. “I love it when I am teaching a class and a few of the attendees come in mad, or with an attitude that they are in the class. I get excited when those folks contribute to the class, and at the end, they come up to let me know they really learned a lot. That makes me feel like it’s all worth it.