Swathi Staley
Aug 1, 2023

YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Swathi Staley Announced as Member of 2023 Obama Foundation Leaders USA Program

CHICAGO, August 1, 2023 — The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is pleased to announce that Swathi Staley has been named a member of the inaugural cohort of 100 emerging changemakers selected to participate in the Obama Foundation’s Leaders USA program. 

The Obama Leaders program is a six-month virtual program that supports and connects emerging leaders in the United States, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Europe through a values-based leadership framework inspired by the ideals and legacy of President and Mrs. Obama. Chosen from a highly competitive pool of applications, Staley was selected to join the program for her work as the Y’s Chief Community Investment Officer and General Counsel and is eager to build her skills and expand her impact for the communities the Y serves.

The inaugural cohort of United States “Obama Leaders” is composed of values-driven changemakers from every corner of the country. Hailing from 37 states, Washington, D.C., American Samoa, Guam, and five tribal nations, these Obama Leaders are united by their passion for building a stronger, more sustainable, and more inclusive world.

“We are excited to welcome these 100 changemakers from across the United States into the Obama Foundation family,” said Valerie Jarrett, CEO of the Obama Foundation. “Our newest Obama Leaders are already making a difference in their communities and are ready to take their work to the next level. They embody the values of President and Mrs. Obama, and their impactful work will create positive change in communities across the country."

The Leaders USA program offers participants a unique and comprehensive experience, including a values-driven leadership curriculum, action labs focused on strengthening democratic institutions and culture in the U.S., community groups for fostering constructive dialogue in a polarized environment, and one-on-one support to help tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time. 

As part of the six-month program, Staley will convene virtually each week with the United States Obama Leaders cohort for interactive sessions designed to help them drive change by honing their leadership skills, building deep relationships with their peers, and engaging with thought leaders and members of the Obama Foundation community. Staley will also have an opportunity to engage with President Obama, participate in various virtual experiences and special events, including one-on-one conversations with experienced mentors in the Foundation's global network.  

“I feel both enormously humbled and enormously privileged to have been selected for the Obama Leaders program alongside these 99 incredible human beings. It’s very much a pinch-myself kind of moment!” said Staley. “I’m eager to learn everything I can from my cohort colleagues and our mentors and to bring these insights and perspectives back to my teams and my role at the YMCA. And I hope that I can share insights, experiences, and perspectives that prove valuable for my fellow cohort members, as well!”

To learn more about the program and the individuals who make up the inaugural cohort, visit obama.org/programs/leaders/usa

About the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago
The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is the leader in accessible, inclusive programming for more than 300,000 individuals each year, strengthening community by connecting people to their purpose, potential, and each other. The YMCA of Metro Chicago is evolving to become a 21st-century social enterprise for the region, through an association of 14 centers, 5 overnight camps, and 100 extension sites throughout Chicagoland and the Midwest. Learn more about the Y's locations and programming at ymcachicago.org.


Katy Broom
Director, Public Relations & Communications
YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago
[email protected]