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April may be the cruelest month, but for anyone working in an office, August runs a close second. With schools emptied and kids shipped off to camp, who doesn’t daydream of kickboards and capture the flag? Janet Koran ponders these activities year-round. As the top in-house lawyer of YMCA of USA, the nonprofit community service organization, Koran provides counsel to more than 2,500 Ys across the country. Koran, 55, also supervises two lawyers, a risk manager, and two legal assistants at the organization’s Chicago headquarters. Prior to joining the YMCA, she spent two decades as a trial lawyer in the Chicago office of McDermott, Will & Emery. In 1995, after she tried a number of lawsuits for the YMCA, the Y asked her to apply for the GC job. Describe a typical day. Most days are long and pretty intense. We provide counsel to local YMCAs. They call us and say things like “How does HIPAA [the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996] relate to us?” It’s intellectually stimulating because of all of the issues that relate to nonprofits. Thankfully, we don’t have a lot of litigation. We basically give proactive advice about how the local corporations can do a better job. I travel about 10 percent of the time, speaking to volunteers and senior staff. What do you like most and least about your job? [I like] the satisfaction that comes with helping people who are trying to help others by lifting up the spirit, mind, and body. What I like least is that I don’t have the luxury of time that I used to have in private practice, to think about, read about, and analyze issues. What legal issues are unique to your job? Nonprofit tax is an area totally unto its own. Most recently, I’ve gotten involved in making sure that we are complying with Sarbanes-Oxley. It is not imposed on nonprofits, but YMCAs are committed to compliance. What do you think is the YMCA’s most novel program? The YMCA is partnering with the Search Institute in Minneapolis. The premise is that children need 40 “assets” to develop into well-functioning adults. Virtually no community has more than 50 percent of these assets. An example of an asset is something like making sure that youth have strong personal relationships with adults who are not family members, and that these relationships extend beyond the school year. Another asset is having dinner five times a week, sitting and talking. Are there any YMCA services that you would like to expand? If I had one to pick, it would be the Search Institute program. We are among the most age-segregated societies. We need to teach children how to grow into productive adults. Do you have children, and, if so, do they participate in any YMCA programs? I have two children � 26 and 23 years old. They both participated in the YMCA when they were young. They did aquatics and a father-child program where my husband and children participated in activities together. Did you attend summer camp as a child? I attended camp for several years and loved it � sleep-away camp � one in Wisconsin and one in Michigan. I still love tramping around in the woods.

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