Centers People

Yvette Kell

Director of Campus Recreation at the University Missouri - St. Louis

Serving as the Director of Campus Recreation, at the University of Missouri – St. Louis Dr. Kell is responsible for hiring all site staff for the newly constructed Recreation and Wellness Center that opened July 28, 2015. Yvette and her staff are tasked with creating quality programming and services for the campus community. Dr. Kell received her Ph.D. in Education Leadership from the University of Kentucky in 2018. She brings 25 years of professional collegiate recreation experience. She has worked in a variety of different roles, beginning her professional career as the Coordinator of Fitness and Aquatics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she oversaw the group fitness and personal training program as well as the fitness and aquatic facilities. Next, her career took her to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas where she began as the Assistant Director of Facilities and was later promoted to Director of Facilities and Operations. Most recently Yvette served as the Director of Recreation and Wellness at Morehead State University where she opened a new facility as well as led a newly formed department.
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Ph.D., Education Leadership (University of Kentucky)

M.S., Kinesiology (Sam Houston State University)

B.S., Leisure Studies (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

American Red Cross

Lifeguard Instructor, Lifeguarding

Lifeguard Instructor Trainer

First Aid and CPR Instructor

Automated External Defibrillator Instructor

Aerobics & Fitness Association of America (AFAA)

Group Fitness Instructor

National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA)

Certified Recreation Sports Specialist

National Swimming Pool Foundation

National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA)

National Women’s History Month – Yvette Kell

Opening a new recreational facility is a challenge in itself, but the ace in the hole that Yvette Kell, Director at CENTERS, LLC @ University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL), had was CENTERS. Vet was hired to be the Director at UMSL as we opened the new facility in 2015. With the support and framework already created by CENTERS, and leadership Vet brought to the table, the UMSL staff made it look easy. We are thankful to have her on our leadership team for the last 6.5 years.

Can you talk about how the CENTERS Culture with POI, our commitment to Better is Better, our Quest for X, and cross-site collaboration opportunities helps motivate you to continue learning and growing within the CENTERS organization?

Our culture of learning is a great support to continue pushing and providing new and inventive ways for not only individual development, but team development. You can’t sit back on your heels, which helps me stay continually motivated.

What women inspire you, and which of CENTERS’ core values/attributes do they exemplify most?

There are many women who inspire me, this changes with every person I meet and interact with on a daily basis. I admire women who are able to balance work with family responsibilities, I admire women who are not afraid to speak up and speak out, and I admire women who quietly get ‘er done. I believe all of these things are values in CENTERS, as we are all about balancing our lives, ambition to be better, and making sure we get things done!

How do you feel having strong and respected female leaders in the company attracts women and minority talent to the company?

I feel it shows our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We are able to show our ability to include voices from all backgrounds, which gives us strength.

How does working for CENTERS help you overcome common challenges and inefficiencies that campus recreation professionals that work outside the company live with?

Having a built-in support system has been very helpful when navigating a number of challenges on campuses. Our connections make us stronger!

What are the most important competencies that younger female professionals need to acquire to become the next generation of leaders in the industry?

Flexibility, confidence, and know your WHY!  It’s so important to know WHY you do what you do and what motivates you to keep learning and getting better. Also, understanding things change, being ready to change with them, and knowing that you can get it done.

Name a female employee on your staff who has inspired you by the way they have broken barriers or set new standards in the industry.

Emily Davidson, our Associate Director, is a master at getting things done. I admire her ability to take on numerous tasks and get them done while making it look easy. Her relaxed and easy demeanor make her a great collaborator and teammate.

We are happy to have you on our leadership team, Vetty! Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the company.