Our People

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RHSRickell Howard Smith


Rickell Howard Smith is a civil rights attorney with experience as a nonprofit executive director in racial justice advocacy serving the Greater Cincinnati region. She began her career in Cincinnati in 2006 as an attorney at Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, rising to a number of prominent leadership roles serving women and children in the community.
Most recently, Rickell has served as the Founding Executive Director of the Center for Social Justice at Urban League of Southwest Ohio. She also has served in leadership positions at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Children’s Law Center, Inc. in Covington and the Ohio Justice & Policy Center.
Smith is also active in the community serving as the Past Board Chair of Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, Advisory Board Member for All-In Cincinnati Racial Equity Coalition and a Member of the Hamilton County Economic Inclusion Advisory Council and the Cincinnati City Manager’s Advisory Group on Policing.




Alex Kuhns

Chief OPERATIONS officer

Alex Kuhns brings a tremendous breadth of leadership experience in the areas of education and nonprofit management into his current role as Chief Operating Officer at the YWCA Greater Cincinnati. Alex joins us from Shelterhouse (COO), with previous experience as executive director of UpSpring, with Lighthouse Youth Services and Cincinnati Public School Board.  Alex will oversee general operations, including facilities, IT, HR and collaborate with the team to manage our real estate portfolio.




Debbie Brooks

Chief Program Officer

Debbie has been with YWCA for 23 years and has a Master's Degree in Social Work, is a Licensed Independent Social Worker, and has 40 years experience in social service as well as leadership positions on local and state-level boards and committees.

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Rene Cheatham

Chief Financial Officer

Rene possesses extensive finance leadership experience in a variety of industries, including nonprofit, corporate, and government sectors. He provides tactical long-term financial planning to support our programs and services.

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Kat Steiner

Chief Development Officer

Kat is a Certified Fund Raising Executive with more than 20 years of experience leading fundraising campaigns for nonprofits and in higher education. She is a nonprofit executive and strategic visionary with an extensive track record.

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Yvette Johnson-Hegge

Director of Executive Services

Yvette has provided administrative leadership at the YWCA for 17 years. She holds an M.A. in English from Idaho State University and has served on several local coalitions and committees.

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