After a nationwide search that included 47 applicants, the West Cook YMCA has named Jan Pate, an Oak Park village trustee, its new president and CEO.

Pate joined the West Cook YMCA in 2005 and was promoted to vice president for operations and development last year. She’s now the first female CEO at the more than 100-year-old organization.

The YMCA’s board announced her selection last Tuesday morning, June 30. This Monday morning, Pate stepped into the job, meeting with staff and getting better acquainted with what on her Facebook page she called “a new chapter” that will keep her “very, very busy.”

Pate, 53, who started her career with the Y as a volunteer in Florence, S.C., says it’s almost surreal that she’s now the boss of her own branch.

“Our lives are so funny,” Pate said last week from Montana, where she was on a vacation she’d planned before the CEO search started. “There’s no way that I could ever dream that I would be the CEO of a YMCA in Oak Park.”

The local nonprofit is ramping up a massive fundraising effort to build a new facility in Forest Park that Scott Gaalaas, the Y’s recently retired CEO, worked for several years with the Y’s board of directors and local leaders to clear the way for. Approval came in January.

Groundbreaking for the 80,000-square-foot facility is scheduled for the spring on an almost 8-acre campus near the intersection of Madison and Van Buren. Construction is estimated at $17 million. Gaalaas told the Review last month that about $4 million had by then been collected.

Major tasks on a to-do list don’t faze Pate, who since 2007 has managed her executive position at the West Cook Y with her role as village trustee in Oak Park.

“There were a lot of candidates, but we really felt Jan would be the best,” said Geri McLauchlan, chair of the YMCA’s board. “She offered the most for our Y.”

Josh Adams, editor of Forest Park Review, contributed to this report.