Greensboro Y Staff Member Recognized with National Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award

photo of Karen Jeffries

Congratulations to Karen Jeffries, Executive Assistant to the President/CEO at YMCA of Greensboro, who was named as the co-recipient of the 2021 Carlos Sanvee DIG Legacy Champion Award last month at the YMCA Emerging Multicultural Leadership Experience.

The award, named after the current Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs, recognizes a YMCA leader who has made a significant and lasting contribution towards the advancement of the diversity, equity, inclusion and global engagement (DIG) principles, values and practices, multicultural leadership development, and anti-racism throughout their YMCA career.

Jeffries, a 19-year YMCA of Greensboro employee, began her journey of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) with the Y in 2005. She began by initiating dialogue about DEI among community members and organizations and expanded into the creation of programming centered on the DIG principles.

“We are living in a time where this work is crucial at every level -- from childhood to adulthood. We have to be present, have conversations, educate ourselves and others, and take some form of action,” said Jeffries. “I heard someone say that one difference between a moment and a movement is that a movement requires sacrifice. I am proud to say that the YMCA of Greensboro understands and is making that sacrifice. We believe that we need to be in conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion with others.”

Due to Jeffries’ initiative and sacrifice, the YMCA of Greensboro joined the YMCA USA DIG Innovation Network as the 90th member in February 2020. With the YMCA of Greensboro’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, the association developed several panels and webinars to discuss the topics. One of the most well-known, nationally talked about series is the 8:46 Series that launched in August 2020. Co-hosted by NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad and the YMCA of Greensboro, the series has reached more than 900 individuals per event.

“Karen has been instrumental in the YMCA of Greensboro’s movement of diversity, equity and inclusion in the organization,” said Rhonda Anderson, YMCA of Greensboro CEO and president. “When obstacles were presented, Karen has been able to problem solve and pivot to continue the Y’s efforts including creating a partnership with NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad to bring the 8:46 Series. We are proud of what Karen has accomplished and we are excited to see her continue to grow DIG conversations.”

For more information about the YMCA of Greensboro DIG program, visit