“There are so many lessons I learned during my time at CBU. I did not start CBU in the best way. I finished my Freshman year with a 1.9 GPA, I lost my HOPE scholarship, and struggled in the classroom. However, my professors and advisor continued pushing me to be better. I learned how to build my personal ‘board of directors’ with my advisor, professors, teammates, and friends. They cheered me when I needed to be encouraged, challenged me when I needed to be challenged, and advised me when I need advisement.”

Lizzie McLean Kelly says she is grateful for all the wonderful connections she made during her time at CBU. “With their support, I was able to bring my GPA back over 3.0, become President of Delta Sigma Pi, and be exposed to so many internship opportunities that helped me prepare for my career!” A member of the Lady Buccaneer volleyball team (and the team leader in blocks during her CBU career!), she graduated with a degree in Business Administration, concentrating in Sport Management. And she took those examples of encouragement, advisement, and sportsmanship into her career.

Lizzie has made her career in the nonprofit world, taking her first position at a YMCA — the leading national nonprofit committed to strengthening community by empowering young people — while working on her master’s degree in Sport Commerce at the University of Memphis. Her eight-year journey in the organization has taken her to posts as Wellness Director at YMCA at Schilling Farms, Senior Program Director at Church Health YMCA at Crosstown Concourse, Executive Director at Millington Family YMCA, Vice President of Culture and Recruitment, and to her current position as Vice President of Healthy Living at YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South.

The mission of the YMCA is very similar to that of the Lasallian Mission that is the foundation of CBU, fostering the care and respect all people need and deserve, and strengthening healthy living and social responsibility in order to create meaningful change in our community. Lizzie has combined these missions in her own effort to make the world a better place and to invest in the people around her.

“I love working for the Y because of our core pillars of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility,” Lizzie states. “My career allows me the opportunity to make Memphis a better community by providing childcare, meals, and a place for the community to join together in wellness. During the pandemic, we quickly pivoted to providing meals in our community to combat food insecurity.”

My favorite CBU memories involve volleyball, especially winning against the University of West Florida my senior year by a block in the fifth set! It was our first time as a team to beat them, and we continued on to the NCAA in Tampa — where we beat them in four sets!