Reid Thebault, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, announced he will retire next May. His retirement will mark the end of a 45-year career at the YMCA, nearly two decades of which were spent in Detroit.
Thebault first began his YMCA career in 1969 in Houston, before moving to assignments in Oklahoma City and St. Louis. By the time he arrived in Detroit to take over leadership of the city’s YMCA network, he had already led the Dayton Metropolitan YMCA through a major reorganization process that included the elimination of capital debt, a redefining of the Y’s role in the community, a successful capital development program, and the construction of a new downtown YMCA facility.
His impact has also been felt in in Detroit, where’s he’s led the Y through a series of change initiatives. In 2006, under his leadership, the Y opened its Boll branch in downtown Detroit, marking the completion of a $100 million capital development program.
Even so, Thebault says what he’s most proud of is “attracting a really terrific staff. Over the last four to five years, it hasn’t been the easiest place to operate a YMCA for all sorts of reasons, but I’m very proud we kept our leadership together, the reason being they felt valued and knew their work was important.
“I’ve often said the measure of what a leader’s contributes to an organization isn’t necessarily what they’ve done. It’s what they’ve created for future leaders to build upon.”
Regarding post-retirement, Thebault plans to continue his work in supporting YMCA initiatives in health, education, and community development.
“My wife (Cathi Duchon) is the chief executive at the Ann Arbor YMCA,” Thebault says. “She has no plans for retirement. We’ve kind of become Michiganders, so we plan on living in Ann Arbor.”
In the meantime, he has plenty on his plate. Over the next seven months, Thebault says he plans to continue to develop the YMCA’s charter school initiative, address childhood obesity, and provide services for exceptional children, especially those along the autism spectrum, along with their parents.
Thebault is vice chairman of the Board of the Y Retirement Fund. He serves on the Board of Advisors of Redwoods Insurance Group, and is a former chair of the North American Urban Group YMCAs, representing the 32 largest YMCAs in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.