Terry Pottmeyer is the new president and chief executive officer for Friends of Youth in Redmond. Before this the Pennsylvania native was the nonprofit’s chief programming officer. Pottmeyer began her new job on Aug. 1.

Terry Pottmeyer is the new president and chief executive officer for Friends of Youth in Redmond. Before this the Pennsylvania native was the nonprofit’s chief programming officer. Pottmeyer began her new job on Aug. 1.

New Friends of Youth CEO continues her work to make a difference

Since her earliest jobs, Terry Pottmeyer has always interacted with children, so it was no surprise when she applied for the chief programming officer position at Friends of Youth (FOY) in Redmond.

Since her earliest jobs, Terry Pottmeyer has always interacted with children, so it was no surprise when she applied for the chief programming officer position at Friends of Youth (FOY) in Redmond.

Now, almost two years later, she has been promoted and is the nonprofit’s new president and chief executive officer.

“It’s humbling to take on an organization that has a 60-year legacy in the community,” Pottmeyer said. “And I’m thrilled to be doing the work that I do — which is making a difference for children.”

Pottmeyer began her new job on Aug. 1, succeeding Joan Campbell, who retired after holding the position since 2009. The organization held a meet-and-greet event with Pottmeyer last Friday.

A Pennsylvania native, Pottmeyer moved to the Pacific Northwest when she was a sophomore in college. She transferred from the University of Pittsburgh to the University of Washington, where she earned degrees in business and law. Pottmeyer said she is still a member of the Washington State Bar Association.

Despite her two degrees and “double Husky” status, Pottmeyer said she was hesitant to even apply for a job with FOY because her first job, chief programming officer, required a Master of Social Work (MSW).

“I applied despite not having an MSW because I cared so deeply about the work that Friends of Youth did with kids,” she said.

In its 60th year, FOY works with young people in challenging circumstances. According to the FOY website, their services include youth and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, in-home family support for young parents of newborns and parent education. The agency also works in foster care and runs the only overnight emergency shelter on the Eastside for young adults: The Landing, which is in Bellevue, serves individuals ages 18 to 24.

Pottmeyer said FOY mostly serves north and east King County and south Snohomish County, but also have two sites in Seattle.

As the new president and CEO, Pottmeyer said it was important to have a smooth transition, which was made easier because she was already with the organization and everyone knew her.

She also said her personal goals for FOY align with the organization’s goals, which include becoming a regional leader in homeless services for youth and young adults; providing more direct services in Redmond such as showers, laundry, storage and social services; and creating a FOY campus that will become the heart of the organization.

With the latter, Pottmeyer said they want to move all of the agency’s administrative services — most of which are currently in the Together Center at 16225 N.E. 87th St. in downtown Redmond — into one building. And once that happens, she said that space in Redmond will open up to offer direct services.

Pottmeyer said FOY is currently in the process of purchasing property in Kirkland to move the administrative services.

Additionally, she said this campus will also be the site of a youth haven program for runaway and homeless youth younger than 18. Pottmeyer said this will create additional transitional housing, which is desperately needed as FOY currently only has 65 units and a wait list of 250.

“We’ve been looking for (a new campus) for over a year and a half,” Pottmeyer said.

With all of the services FOY provides, Pottmeyer said her favorite thing about being part of the organization has been seeing all the different ways they help youth.

“There’s a lot that is so good about what we do,” she said.

Pottmeyer added that she has a “special place in (her) heart for the teenage years,” which covers a lot of the work FOY does.

Despite all the help the agency provides, Pottmeyer said there are challenges. One of the biggest ones she has faced during her time with FOY has been the economic downturn. She said they are serving more people in need with less money as they face budget cuts from the state on a regular basis.

“We’re not unique in that,” Pottmeyer said, referring to nonprofits struggling financially in general.

But instead of getting discouraged by this, Pottmeyer keeps pushing because she believes the work is worthwhile.

“I find it really fulfilling to help (young people),” she said.


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