Photo Caption – Newly appointed Chief Volunteer Officer of YMCA of Greater Monmouth County Michael A. Wright (left) with new board members: top row, Tasha Youngblood Brown, Kanesha Jones, Theresa Lyons; middle row, Heather Merrigan, Steve Richel, Rev. Ronald L. Sparks; bottom row, Danielle Van Wert and Diana Walters.

Volunteering to Strengthen Communities
YMCA of Greater Monmouth County Announces New Board Chairperson & Welcomes 8 Board Members

SHREWSBURY, N.J. (July 18, 2023) – The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities, is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael A. Wright as its new board chairperson, and the addition of eight distinguished board members.

The 48-member volunteer board steers the charitable organization’s strategic direction, sets policy, and raises philanthropic support to ensure that everyone, no matter who they are or where they are from, can access the Y’s life-changing programs.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike Wright as our new chief volunteer officer along with eight exceptional individuals who have joined our cause-driven organization to improve the lives of the people we serve in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean counties,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Laurie Goganzer.

Wright, a veteran human resources executive, replaces Ted Nappi, who served as chief volunteer officer for two years.

“The Y is deeply grateful for Ted’s strong leadership over the past two years as we helped our community recover from the impacts of the pandemic,” Goganzer said.

Wright of Freehold said: “It is an honor and privilege to assume the role of chief volunteer officer for the YMCA. This iconic organization has been a welcoming place and a catalyst for positive change in communities for generations. I look forward to working with our board, our talented leadership team and all our YMCA employees to nurture an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive and reach their full potential.”

Wright first became involved with the YMCA in 2015 when he served on the board of directors for the YMCA of Western Monmouth County. As second vice chair, he played an instrumental role in the successful merger of the Western and The Community YMCA in 2019 to create the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County, now one of the largest YMCAs in New Jersey.

Before his new leadership role, Wright was vice chair of the board. He has served as chair of the annual YMCA Dr. Martin Luther Memorial Breakfast committee and has led the Y’s development, human resources/legal, and major gifts committees. Additionally, he serves on the board of trustees for the Red-Bank based nonprofit Lunch Break, where he is president of the advisory council.

The new board members, elected to three-year terms, are:

  • Tasha Youngblood Brown of Long Branch, managing director at EY, a technology consulting practice.
  • Kanesha Jones, director of product quality vigilance at Janssen Pharmaceuticals and a resident of Neptune.
  • Theresa “Terry” Lyons, a certified matrimonial attorney and author of Sticks and Stones, Life Lessons from a Lawyer. She lives in Somerset County.
  • Heather Merrigan of Middletown, global chief compliance officer for Fitch Ratings.
  • Steve Richel of Wall, co-partner of Richel Commercial Brokerage LLC.
  • Ronald L. Sparks, pastor of Bethel AME Church in Freehold and a sourcing manager for Agilent Technologies. He lives in Jackson.
  • Danielle Van Wert of Yardley, Pennsylvania, vice president of clinical services at CentraState Healthcare System.
  • Diana Walters, chief operating officer at Hudson Wealth Management and a resident of Rumson.

Goganzer said the Y is looking forward to working with the volunteer leaders and partnering organizations to address spiraling social and mental health issues in local communities.

“We’re eager to combat the troubling social and mental health impacts of the pandemic and reconnect our youth, teens and adults to each other and to our community,” Goganzer said.

About YMCA of Greater Monmouth County
YMCA of Greater Monmouth County is here for all – to empower youth and teens, improve health and strengthen community. Over the past five years, our Y has provided more than $5 million in financial assistance and subsidies to Y participants throughout greater Monmouth County. Our life-changing programs and services are anchored in eight communities: health and wellness facilities in Freehold Township, Old Bridge and Red Bank; an outdoor day camp in Wall; counseling and social service centers in Eatontown, Matawan and Middletown; a childcare center in Freehold Township; and integrated in over 100 schools in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Named a New Jersey Top Workplace in 2023 and 2022 by New Jersey Advance Media, we’re based in Shrewsbury, NJ. Learn more at