CEO

Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., joined YWCA USA as Chief Executive Officer in 2012. YWCA is the nation’s oldest and largest multicultural organization dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

Featured in The New York Times as one of four women chief executives discussing female voices in leadership, Richardson-Heron is currently utilizing her voice to lead YWCA USA and YWCA local associations across the country in building a national movement for the elimination of racism and the empowerment of women with a focus on racial justice and civil rights, empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls, and health and safety of women and girls. Together with her executive leadership team, she works to develop and implement innovative, value-added solutions and supports for the 25th-largest nonprofit in the nation, comprised of a network of 225 local association members in 47 states and the District of Columbia with net assets of nearly $1 billion who are offering life-changing, community-based services. She also works closely with the YWCA USA Board of Directors to provide strategy, leadership and governance for the organization.

Richardson-Heron regularly represents the organization on Capitol Hill, at the White House and in the media. She has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, Forbes, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Huffington Post, Nonprofit Times, Black Enterprise and many other national and local media outlets. In addition, she meets frequently with key stakeholders, including elected officials, coalition partners, corporations and donors, and speaks at events across the nation.

Richardson-Heron has more than 20 years of leadership and management experience in the healthcare, corporate and nonprofit sectors. Prior to her role at YWCA, she served as the CEO of the Greater NYC Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, Chief Medical Officer and National Chief Medical Officer at United Cerebral Palsy Association and Executive Medical Director at Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. During her tenure at Consolidated Edison, she was also selected to serve as Special Assistant to the CEO.

Because of her many accomplishments, she has been honored with numerous awards, including the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers, Woman of Excellence in Philanthropy and “25 Influential Black Women in Business.” She has been named one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” and also included in the Ideagen Impact 100 list. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, she was included on The Nonprofit Times “Power & Influence Top 50” CEO list and also in 2015, she was honored with the Distinguished Alumna Award from Barnard College, her alma mater. 

Dr. Richardson-Heron, a physician by trade and advocate by choice, holds a Doctorate in Medicine from New York University School of Medicine and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Barnard College of Columbia University. She also completed an Executive Human Resources Program at the University of Michigan.