As the Bangor Region YMCA’s Community Health Advocate, Vanessa Newman addresses the social, emotional, and community health needs of Y members and the Greater Bangor Region. She oversees the Y’s Caring Connections program for cancer survivors as well as Second Wind, a social program for older adults. She helps health and wellness staff with evidence-based chronic disease programs, health fairs, and building relationships with community and health partners. She also produces the Strong Connections calendar for emotional and social wellbeing events.
With a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology, a Masters in sports medicine, and certificates in health coaching, mediation, CPR and first aid, Vanessa’s career has focused on how to take care of the whole person – mind, body and spirit. “I believe that we can all lift each other up,” she says. “We are lifelong learners of ourselves. I see my role as a facilitator and empowerment coach and I use my communication skills to do this.”
Vanessa enjoys the Y’s inclusiveness and willingness to meet the needs of every person. “The Y is a compassionate and holistic organization that allows me to offer my strengths and gifts and also address my needs as an employee,” she says. “I chose the Bangor Region YMCA because it was unique, is located in Maine, serves many in need and employs innovative, gifted and talented people. Life balance is important and the Y encourages this in its staff.”
Originally from Haverhill, Massachusetts, Vanessa spent the first 25 years of her life on the East Coast. Moving to the West Coast to pursue her education and explore, she has worked for various YMCAs, fitness organizations, colleges, medical offices, health and wellness facilities. She has taught college health and wellness courses at Rogue Community College, Oregon, and is a freelance writer. She has been an academic dean, curriculum designer, group fitness Instructor, personal trainer, health coach, recreational director and college instructor.
The people who impact her the most are creative problem solvers who look at challenges in unique ways such as Buckminster Fuller, Leonardo da Vinci and Carl Jung. “I admire leaders who are passionate and compassionate and remember where they came from and who helped them get there,” she says.
The Y’s values of Caring and Honesty rank highest with Vanessa. “You will always get a straight, direct answer from me and I expect authenticity in return,” she says. She enjoys writing, walking, travelling, watching movies and kickboxing. Her favorite quote is: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Something people might not know is that has self-published children’s stories and novels. “I am a trained mediator and once hypnotized people when I interned for a well-known East Coast hypnotist,” she reveals. “I think a sense of humor is required in life and I hope that one day comedy will be considered a literary genre.”