Paul Henson YMCA welcomes new executive director to Prairie Village

Vivian Maria Livanos, left, comes to the Paul Henson YMCA from Chicago.
Vivian Maria Livanos, left, comes to the Paul Henson YMCA from Chicago.

Six months after its previous leader left for another position, the Paul Henson YMCA in Prairie Village has a new executive director.

Vivian Maria Livanos joins the organization from a position with the Chicago YMCA, where she was a director of membership. The new role represents a step up for Livanos, who said she was attracted to the Paul Henson job because of the strong community ties in the area and the history of partnerships between other YMCA branches and cities or school organizations in neighboring communities.

Livanos, who started in her position a couple of weeks ago, said her initial focus will be to build relationships with current members and community leaders. She said there was the “potential for a relationship” with the Shawnee Mission School District that could allow for the growth of the Prairie Village facility.

“I’m very excited to be here and see what we can do,” she said. “There are a lot of things we can do to extend the reach of the Y beyond just this facility, but we also want to look at how we’re using our land here.”

Livanos first started working for the YMCA in 2002 when she was living with her family in Lansing, Mich. Her father, who worked for Lucent Technologies, was transferred to Tokyo for a job before she graduated from high school, so she spent part of her teen years in Japan. Livanos returned to the United States to start college at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Livanos replaces the former executive director Ashley Wohlgemuth, who took a position with Catholic Charities of Kansas City/St. Joseph that allowed her to spend more time with her two young daughters. Wohlgemuth still works a shift or two per week at the Paul Henson YMCA.