New Canaan YMCA Announces Margaret Riley as Next Executive Director

On April 23, the New Canaan YMCA Board of Directors announced long-time community member and former member of the New Canaan YMCA Board of Directors, Margaret Riley will assume the position of Executive Director for the non-profit community organization effective May 10, 2021.

President of the New Canaan YMCA Board of Directors, Chris Pohle, shared, “On behalf of the entire Y Board of Directors, we are incredibly proud and excited to announce Margaret as the New Canaan YMCA’s next leader.  We are confident that Margaret’s deep connection to and understanding of our community, along with her previous leadership as a distinguished New Canaan YMCA Board member will make her an incredibly inspiring and highly effective Executive Director who will successfully lead our Y into the future.” 

Riley has lived in New Canaan with her family for 23 years, where she has served as an active volunteer in the community, dedicating time as President of the South School Parent Teacher Council, Editor of the New Canaan High School Parent Faculty Association newsletter, volunteer for the New Canaan Community Foundation, and religious education instructor.  

During her tenure as a Board member for the New Canaan YMCA from 2018-2020, Riley participated on the Executive, Governance, and Endowment Committees.  Riley also chaired the Post-COVID Reopening Task Force, where she collaborated with staff and fellow Board members to navigate through the challenges and logistics of safely and responsibly reopening the New Canaan YMCA after its COVID-19 closure.

In addition to a strong foundation of community service, Riley joins the Y with a professional background in law, specializing in civil litigation, employment litigation, probate litigation, and landlord tenant law.  She will be leaving her current firm of Carta, McAlister, & Moore in Darien where she has been practicing since 2013.  She graduated from Providence College with a double major in Italian and Business and attended law school at St. John’s University. 

Riley shared, “I am extremely excited and grateful for this opportunity to join the talented and dedicated staff of our Y. I had the pleasure of serving as a Board member for two years and look forward to serving the Y and our community in this new role.”

Riley will become the first female Executive Director of the New Canaan YMCA and only the fifth individual to hold the title in the organization’s 67-year history.  Riley will be assuming the role from Craig Panzano, who has served as the organization’s Executive Director since 2004.

Riley added, “Under Craig Panzano‘s leadership, our Y has grown into a place where all members of our community gather for life-enriching experiences. I hope to build on Craig’s great success to ensure that future generations will benefit from all that the Y has to offer.”

Pohle also added “The Board would like to extend its heartfelt appreciation to Craig Panzano, who has served as a remarkable and innovative leader for the New Canaan YMCA for the past 17 years.  Craig’s leadership has helped shape the Y into the leading community resource that it is today.  He has helped change and improve the lives of thousands of individuals and he will leave behind a grateful community that is stronger thanks to his dedication, vision, and leadership.”  

Retiring on May 7, 2021, Panzano shared, “It has been a remarkable 17 years leading the New Canaan YMCA.  We’ve achieved so many great things together to make our Y, our members, and our community stronger, and when I leave, I will be taking many proud moments, inspiring stories, and cherished friendships with me.  I’d like to thank the Y Board of Directors, members, staff, volunteers, partners, and donors once again for their support over the years and for being a part of our Y community; it has truly been an honor serving you all.” 

Panzano added, “As Executive Director, it was a true pleasure to work alongside Margaret while she served on our Board of Directors.  Her genuine dedication to our Y and community, combined with her determination, focus, demeanor, and wisdom, has already helped guide the New Canaan YMCA in many meaningful ways, and I am both confident and excited to watch Margaret as she leads the New Canaan YMCA into the future, undoubtedly becoming an even stronger community resource.”