President and Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland
Yolanda Y. Armstrong is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and a proud graduate of John Adams High School. She earned her Bachelor’s in Health Services Administration degree with an emphasis in long term care and a minor in gerontology from Ohio University. She then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Social Work Administration from Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences in Cleveland, Ohio. Ms. Armstrong currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland. She is a 25 year veteran in social services in the areas of mental health, chemical dependency, juvenile justice, domestic violence, management and community development.
Ms. Armstrong began her career in the social services field as a case manager for Murtis H. Taylor Multi-Services Center, working with dually-diagnosed consumers. Because of her passion in the field of social work and her own personal family experiences, she was encouraged to apply for her master’s degree, and earned a scholarship from the Mental Health Board now known as the Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. This opportunity allowed her to expand her interest to the areas of children and youth and management and community development.
Ms. Armstrong then went on to work for Berea Children’s Home and Family Services (now Ohio Guidestone) where she worked for 21 years in social work and a variety of leadership positions. She earned the title from her colleagues as the agency’s “ Go to Person” because of her excellent networking and leadership style, as well as her passion for working with and on behalf of families in need of a voice.
As President/CEO of one of the largest mentoring programs in America, Ms. Armstrong has focused her energies in strengthening families and the “Bigs” and “Littles” in her program. The positive impact that is being made on the lives of Big Brothers Big Sister families, she prays, will transcend from generation to generation. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland’s mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that will forever change their lives.
In addition to her tenure at OhioGuidestone and her current work at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland, Ms. Armstrong has also served as the Executive Director of the Phillis Wheatley Association, where she was responsible for the planning, overseeing, administration and direction of all agency programs. Additionally, she was the Director of Social Services at HCR Manorcare, as well as served as a part-time liberal arts instructor at Cuyahoga Community College.
In addition to her professional background, Yolanda has contributed to the following civic and volunteer organizations: proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.; Special Events Chair of the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation Board of Trustees; member of the Advisory Council of the Cleveland Chapter of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement); a Professional Advisory Committee Member of Rogers Home Care; and an active member of the Cuyahoga County Children of Incarcerated Parents Initiative.
Furthermore, Ms. Armstrong has served as a champion for Rosie’s Girls through Hard Hatted Women, Beachwood, Ohio’s Diversity Matters, Diamonds in the Rough (a female mentoring program), Cuyahoga County Domestic Violence Council, and the Mental Health Advocacy Coalition.
Ms. Armstrong is a past member of the National Association of Black Social Workers, MSASS Alumni Board, the Ohio University Alumni Board College of Health and Human Services, the Public Relations Society of America, as well as past President of the Cleveland Chapter of the National Alliance of Market Developers.
In 2016, Armstrong received the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Hall of Achievement and Centennial Alumni Award from Case Western Reserve University and the Non-profit Executive Director of the Year Pillar Award for Community Service presented by Medical Mutual and Smart Business Magazine. In 2014 and 2015, she was named to “Who’s Who in Black Cleveland” and was the recipient of the Amazing Woman Award for her work in the community with youth and families.
Ms. Armstrong is the proud mother of daughters Camarie Victoria, currently a Senior at Ohio University, and Katelyn Juanita, currently a Senior at Beachwood High School and recently accepted at Spelman College in the Fall majoring in Pre-Med.
She is a proud member of Mt. Zion of Oakwood Village, where her Pastor Dr. Larry L. Macon and family have been great supporters of her work in the community.
Ms. Armstrong believes that her purpose in life is to be a servant leader and to affirm the Bible scripture “To whom much is given, much is required.”