YMCA of Central KY staff Nate Williams

Nate Williams, membership and aquatics director at the High Street YMCA, began his Y journey as a member in 2018. To say he was already active may be an understatement; at the time, he had already completed over a dozen half marathons, and had cycled 4,000 miles across the country to raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for young adults. Having ample running and biking experience, and fueled by the inspiration of seeing his cousin complete the Ironman Louisville, Nate began training for his own first triathlon. For this, he needed access to a pool, which led him to the Y. He completed that triathlon - and five Sprint triathlons, eight Olympic triathlons, four in-person and one virtual Ironman 70.3 distance triathlon since! - all while something professionally was occurring simultaneously. By summer of 2020, Nate had joined the member services staff part-time; two years later, with the encouragement of his supervisor and predecessor Caitlin Ellis, he transitioned to full-time work in his current director role.

This was perhaps an unexpected path for Nate, who grew up thinking he would be an executive director of a Symphonic Orchestra or music festival. But as an athlete, a lifelong learner, and community-minded young professional, he has found a niche in the work and opportunities of the Y. "As a result of my part-time Y experience, I quickly fell in love with the High Street community and the inspirational individuals I met every day. After having received a Master's Certificate in non-profit management in 2021, my professional goals and aspirations began to change, incidentally aligning with some staff structure changes at High Street YMCA." It was truly a matter of timing and Nate says he has not looked back. "I enjoy the organic conversations I get to have with members and the variety of tasks I'm going to encounter every day. Outside of my 'typical' duties, I never know what I'm going to be faced with when walking through the doors of the High Street YMCA. I look forward to coming to 'work' every day!"

When he's not working, Nate reads, cooks, hangs with his niece and nephew, explores breweries and coffee shops - and is back to participating in triathlons after a foot injury took him out of the 2023 race season. "During that time, I was able to turn to the Y for support and motivation to try new things, such as improving my swimming, mental health, my relationship with food, and just being thankful that I was still able to move," Nate shares. "Although running was taken away from me, I was still able to move freely and appreciate normal day-to-day movement that some people don't have the opportunity to experience." He has worked hard to rehab his foot and in a fun full-circle moment earlier this month, Nate and his former supervisor Caitlin swam, biked, and ran alongside each other in the North Lexington Family YMCA Indoor Triathlon - each competing in this event for the first time.

It's no wonder that Nate regards the Y as a place of community and safe spaces, or that he feels inspired to create that for members. He's set a goal to personally raise $2,500 for the annual Impact Campaign that provides financial assistance for membership and programs. Clearly not one to shy away from a challenge, he has committed to a personal polar plunge if he raises or surpasses his goal.

The next time you're at the High Street YMCA, be sure to look for Nate and say hello. He loves a great conversation, learning about others - and plans to be around a while. "In a perfect world, my future career would include opportunities full of collaboration, small teams, community involvement, and healthy living. It's safe to say I aim to be a 'Y Lifer.'"


We love celebrating our staff! If you know someone who deserves a shout out or spotlight, let us know! Email us at marketing@ymcacky.org. To make a donation to the YMCA annual Impact Campaign and send Nate into a polar plunge, click here.

YMCA of Central KY staff Nate Williams


Locations: High Street YMCA
Category: Staff Spotlight