Resides: Keene, NH, but previously lived in Brattleboro, VT and New York.
Likes: Her kids and grandchildren, swimming, walking, reading, travel, and meeting new people at the Y!
If you pass the Y’s Welcome Center, you’ve probably met our bright and shining Maryann Valenti. She’s our Staff Spotlight this week!
Maryann has worked at the Y for the last 6 years but has found a love and passion for meeting new people at the Welcome Center of the Keene Family YMCA. She’s previously worked in different areas of the Y, but greeting and helping members and guests at the front desk has been her favorite part.
“My passion is the front desk. I absolutely love talking to people and I’m an extremely social person… That’s what I do,” Maryann said.
Before coming to the Y, Maryann worked a long career in banking, but when she retired, she wanted to do something new with her time.
“My husband and I moved to Keene. I needed something to do… and [my husband] said ‘Why don’t you go apply at the Y,’” she said. “I just love being at the Y. I absolutely love meeting the people, I love listening to their stories, and they just love talking to me… It’s definitely more than a job.”
Maryann has learned a lot about the Y over the years, even if she didn’t know what she was walking in to when she first applied.
“When I first started here, I had no idea [what the Y does], but now that I’ve been here a while, I’ve found it to be an amazing organization for so many reasons,” she said. “We are so welcoming to so many people and are always here when needed.”
Maryann loves to swim, walk and read. She’s has even joined in a couple of the group exercise classes here at the Y, notably the yoga classes.
“I like the chair yoga class, that’s a good class. We have great instructors, and everybody can go at their own pace, and it’s just a good place to be,” she said.
Maryann loves to travel and said she’s going to continue to travel as long as she can. Her favorite place she’s been to was Hawaii.
“We were on Maui, and it was absolutely beautiful. I’ve been in many states, I’ve been to Europe, but I still really enjoyed Hawaii it’s one of my favorites,” she said.
Maryann has a love for meeting and having conversations with the people she meets at the Y.
“I’ve met a lot of friends here at the Y, not only colleagues or people I work with, but members have become my friends as well,” she said.
The employees of the Welcome Center have a myriad of duties on their plate from answering the phone to supporting members and answering their questions. Maryann said that above all, making sure the guests and members of the Y feel, well, welcome, is most important.
“Of course, we meet and greet everyone that comes in the door, always with a smile. I call them by name because I think that’s very, very important. They appreciate it and I get to know them that way,” she said.
Maryann wants people to know that the Welcome Center is always going to do what they can to help the members and guests of the Y.
“It’s a very supportive organization and I feel that we support from infants right up through older folks, and it’s great, that’s what we do,” she said. “We’re here to answer and respond to all the questions you have, and if we don’t have an answer, we’ll get one for you.”
Overall, Maryann summarized being at the Y as a great place to be and a place for everybody to come together.
“The Y is a place for everyone. It’s a complete place for everyone to come and to feel good and to meet people and to make friends. It’s more than a gym, it’s a community.”