President & CEO
YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago
Location: Cook County
Year Founded: 1858
Industry Group Specific: Nonprofit, Social Enterprise
As the president and CEO, Dorri McWhorter tries to always work with a “yes” mindset. “Rather than dismissing or rejecting ideas, I encourage our leaders to explore what saying ‘yes’ could mean,” she said. “Not every idea works out and we might have a lot of unplanned learning opportunities along the way, but it opens us up to so many possibilities for progress.”
Under McWhorter’s leadership, the organization has seen significant growth to further serve the community.
One of the first things McWhorter did after joining the YMCA in late 2021 was reopen spaces and centers that had been closed due to the pandemic. “The Y is a vital community resource for hundreds of thousands of people each year, so we needed to make sure our doors were open to those people,” said McWhorter. She was also instrumental in forming partnerships with Nike, Wilson, Peloton, DePaul Athletics and others, creating a major multi-year digital equity partnership with Comcast and activations to welcome and shelter new arrivals to Chicago at the formerly shuttered High Ridge YMCA.
More than 165 years ago, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago was created as a place where community members could find growth and support. Today, the YMCA of Metro Chicago has 14 centers, five camps and nearly 100 extension sites, making the Y one of the largest social enterprises in Chicago. More than 200,000 YMCA members and over half a million Chicagoans rely on the Y each year for social guidance and individual empowerment.
Prior to joining the YMCA, McWhorter served eight years as the CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, transforming the organization from a traditional social service organization to a 21st Century social enterprise. Increasing impact and organizational sustainability, YWCA’s operating budget grew from $10.5 million in 2013 to $38 million by 2022. Her efforts in her professional career to empower others led to a 2019 induction into the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame.
“Dorri prides herself on being a socially conscious business leader and is committed to creating an inclusive marketplace by leveraging a cross-sector approach of engaging business, civic and community partners,” said her staff.
One of McWhorter’s favorite quotes is “Work is love made visible.” She wholeheartedly believes that can be the case for everyone. “It ties in so closely with my personal mission of empowering all people to discover their value and share it with the world,” she said. “I love my job and my time and efforts on behalf of the Y are a reflection of my love for and commitment to humanity.”
Due to her success as a socially-conscious business leader, McWhorter has been named a titan.
None of my superpowers are secret! With me, what you see is what you get. So, I guess you could say that my non-secret superpower is authenticity!