Name: Dr. Patricia A. Clary
Member Segment: United Way Retiree
Member Quote: I became aware of United Way NEXT shortly after completing my Ph.D. in organizational leadership in 2022. Even though I had retired, my passion for positively impacting society remained unwavering. I was determined to reconnect with organizations capable of driving meaningful change in our ever-evolving global landscape characterized by formidable challenges. I recognized that United Way and United Way NEXT were integral components of this solution. Having served as the President & CEO of a United Way in California, I have long held a profound appreciation for the valuable work conducted by United Way and the dedicated individuals whose passion aligns with the organization’s mission.
United Way NEXT allows me to remain actively engaged and effect positive change through my involvement with the organization. I have discovered that UW NEXT fully lives up to its mission statement, serving as a platform for leaders to connect, listen, lead, and inspire. My journey with UW NEXT led me to discover and complete the Interim Executives Academy offered by Third Sector Company. Additionally, I had the opportunity to participate in a networking event in Louisville, KY, where I rekindled relationships with former United Way peers and forged meaningful connections with new friends and colleagues. Moreover, the potential to come alongside United Way CEOs offering mentoring best practices based on life experiences in United Way’s ecosystem inspires me. Carole Peters, President & CEO of UW NEXT, and her dedicated team care about what’s NEXT and how United Way NEXT can support the United Way local and global community. I am honored to be a part of UW NEXT and their work to effect positive change.
Name: Charles Wright
Member Segment: United Way Alumni
Member Quote: I have always been driven by wanting to be a member of a larger effort driving social impact. While in graduate school, I interned at United Way, leading to a full-time opportunity. The timing was great as United Way was moving to outcome measurement and community impact. While I enjoyed being a local staff leader, I found a passion to be involved with UWW on several network initiatives. I am working on teams focused on tackling issues that could impact the whole network. With an evaluation background, I was given a chance to step up and play a leadership level both locally and in helping United Ways around the country. What I miss the most is going to national and regional conferences and sharing excitement and knowledge with hundreds of people from around the country. Happy hours were where the real innovative ideas were drawn out on a napkin – true story! Since departing my local United Way after a glorious 23-year career, I have been working as a consultant with a number of local foundations and nonprofits, as well as being a lead instructor for classes in the School of Social Work at the University of Cincinnati. Upon leaving my local United Way, I saw the United Way Retiree Association reimagining itself and selecting the right leader to evolve this important organization. Immediately, I felt plugged in and began to connect with people. “Priceless,” is the word I would use to describe all the mentoring and lessons learned as I grew my career. I felt like being part of UW NEXT, I would continue to be around individuals where I could learn valuable lessons. My experience with UW NEXT has been very fulfilling. I have used the webinars for continuing education and enjoy the fact that I am still learning new things. Please reach out if we did work together and aren’t connected.
Member Name: Savannah Lyon, CEO of the UW of Kearney Area - Nebraska
Member Segment: Local United Way
Member Quote: I sobbed in the middle of a state director meeting. Having not slept well for months, I felt very much alone in my role as a new United Way Executive Director. I desperately wanted support and a place where I could be transparent. I needed expertise from people who had walked a similar path ahead of me. As the meeting closed, one of the leaders forwarded me Carole Peters’ email. “They can help get you a coach,” she promised. Finally, a glimmer of hope. I wasn’t even out of the parking lot from the meeting before I tapped out an email to Carole. She replied within 90 minutes. The following day, Carole zoomed with me for two hours. She encouraged me and provided me with tools, resources and ideas. Later, she connected me with Kyle Rahn, a UW NEXT Member and Mentor.
Kyle Rahn is a former United Way Executive who is passionate about building up leaders, especially female leaders. She meets with me frequently. Since our relationship started, I have finally slept. I have clarity in my vision and a reliable resource when I’m unsure or my board is doubtful. Most of all, I have a cheerleader who encourages and supports me. Having Kyle as a mentor has been a game changer and a lifeline. I believe this is something that every new executive director needs to be successful
Member Name: Neil Parekh
Member Segment: United Way Alumni
Member Quote: I started my United Way journey on October 3, 2011 in Everett, Washington with the United Way of Snohomish County. I am particularly proud of how well our marketing team worked together. Leading that group was truly a privilege. The only reason I left is because I had the opportunity to work with United Way Worldwide as the Director of Network Communications, supporting the work of local staff, helping with crisis communications, messaging, branding, social media, running monthly #UnitedWayChat Twitter Chats, organizing webinars, and speaking at conferences. Every interaction with local staff gave me energy. When I left UWW early during the pandemic, the first thing I did was join United Way NEXT. I am active on social media and am still connected to former colleagues from UWW and local United Ways. Being part of United Way NEXT, however, gave me something I was missing- real interactions with former colleagues and friends. I particularly enjoyed the History Hangouts with Dick Aft and have found a home serving on the UW NEXT Marketing Committee. United Way NEXT keeps me connected to the idea of United Way and the people who made United Way special. My United Way journey continues. Thanks to United Way NEXT.
United Way NEXT’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
United Way NEXT harnesses the passion and experience of current and former United Way professionals for the betterment of each other, the United Way network, and our communities. In achieving this purpose, we aim to create member experiences that enhance a sense of value and belonging by:
Board approved – 9/11/2023