Girls Inc.’s new leader lays out plans to grow the organization


Ashli ​​Fragomeni grew up with parents who instilled in her the importance of giving back to the community and using her talents for the good of others.

“I have always had parents who encouraged me to work in public service, to give back and to be part of the community,” said Fragomeni, who was named Girls Inc. major capital in May 2020, during the first months of the pandemic.

Born in Wynantskill, she grew up with her parents as role models who dedicated their lives to helping others, her father working in law enforcement and her mother in education.

In the summer of 2008, after earning her BA in history from Russell Sage College, she applied to be a camp counselor for the YMCA of East Greenbush. She liked it so much that when she found out that a full-time position was available at the Y for the year, she quickly applied and got the job.

“That’s when my path changed because until then I wanted to be a high school history teacher,” Fragomeni said. “But then I realized that I can still have a really big impact on the kids, but I can do it in a space where they want to be rather than they have to be. That’s the mentality that I took on. .

She remained at the YMCA for the early years of her career. After East Greenbush, she moved to New Orleans and worked at the YMCA of Greater New Orleans for a few years before returning to the capital area in 2014 to take on a succession of jobs with local YMCA affiliates: Glens Falls Family YMCA, Troy YMCA and the Saratoga Regional YMCA.

Although her career path kept her steady and busy, Fragomeni always intended to pursue her education as another building block for greater success in the nonprofit world.

She earned an MBA with a concentration in leadership from Walden University through a program created in 2010 with the YMCA to give their employees the opportunity to earn an online degree from the university.

“It was a great way for me to get my masters from a university that understood what I was doing full time and helped me get a degree which turned out to be a really good step in my education in regarding my career path.”

In 2020, Fragomeni felt her time was up at the Saratoga YMCA, and she was ready to see where her career would take her next.

“I felt it was time to spread my wings and fly to see what I was made of,” she said.

“Everyone’s story is different and I really had the chance to say to myself, ‘I’m not going to wait for someone else to tell me when is the right time for me to move on'”, she said. “I felt in my soul that I needed to see what lay ahead, and I’m eternally grateful and incredibly lucky that it was Girls Inc.”

In the two years since she has been at the helm, her growth as a person and as a leader of the organization has rapidly accelerated.

“Over the past two years I have learned a lot about myself, what it means to be a leader and to be active in your community as a servant leader. I really enjoyed the journey that got me to this point.

She began her role at Girls Inc. at a critical time when the pandemic was severely affecting everything from programming to financial resources. Fragomeni noted that the budget had been reduced slightly as a result. Yet that hasn’t stopped her from creating free initiatives and programs with the funding available.

“We have some really great people in our corner who have allowed us to keep our services free, so we’re at a pivotal moment right now as we look at the vision of hopefully having a strategic plan in place in the next 12 to 18 months, which is really important for us as an organization,” she said.

Currently, Girls Inc. operates from centers in Schenectady and Albany, providing free after-school programs for girls in K-12 to equip them “to overcome gender, socioeconomic, and social barriers to grow up healthy.” , educated and independent”.

Girls Inc.’s Ashli ​​Fragomeni, right, with Tashai, 9, the Schenectady Girl of the Year.

Provided by Girls Inc. GCR

Fragomeni said his biggest goal is to expand Girls Inc.’s reach in Troy. A key program to kick off this expansion is a partnership with the Capital Region Arts Center to create a STEAM program to nurture girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

To aid in her efforts to raise awareness of her work, Girls Inc. will be hosting a girls-only informational event at 5 p.m. on June 15 at the Palette Cafe in Schenectady for those interested in becoming a mentor or board member. or find out more. on the organization.

Former mentors, current members and staff will be there to discuss their experiences and talk about the needs of young women in the Capital Region.

“We aim to run this free event as an information session about our mission and how women in the capital region can get involved to ensure that every girl has the opportunity to see how how strong, intelligent and daring she is.”

What: Those interested in learning more about Girls Inc. or interested in becoming a mentor or board member will have the chance to meet staff, current members and past mentors.

When: 5 p.m. on June 15

Where: Palette Café, Schenectady


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