I see the YWCA as hopefully remaining as a vital part of the fabric of the community because we start with early care and education and we do youth development and health and wellness. In fact our department is called Wellness and Health Equity, and we do housing for women, and we do domestic violence programs. We have a very diverse but important group of services and we are a collaborator. I used to say that I would feel like I’ve been successful when we are called upon as an expert on race and gender and so we have been called on as an expert. When the Equal Pay Act and when the nasty laws were repealed, we get calls to comment on that and I am able to say, "Yes, pay is not equal, but when you look at race then pay is even more unequal." And then we are the place where a lot of race and gender equity groups meet, so we are a resource, plus we are in the thick of it. I hope that we stay true to our mission and that we see ourselves as a resource to community and as a safe place for people to come together and have those difficult conversations.
This interview follows the professional and personal life of Linda Cavaioli born in 1954 and originally from Leominster, Massachusetts. Ms.Cavaioli is the executive director at the YWCA of Central Massachusetts. Raised in a close knit and diverse community, Ms.Cavaioli details how such an upbringing expanded her perspectives. As an undergraduate, her studies dealt with social work and the impact aspects such as gender and race contain in our social world. Before working at the YWCA, Ms. Cavaioli spent years at United Way of South Florida and Worcester, Massachusetts. She details some of her experiences in the organization. Ms. Cavaioli describes her experience as an MBA student at Clark University and explains the significance of a business background in the non-profit sector. Lastly, Ms. Cavaioli details the important role the YWCA plays in the lives of Worcester residents and in the fight towards gender and racial equity. She received the Worcester Women’s History Project’s Women Making History Award in 2015.