President & CEO, United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes
Years in current role: 4
What was your biggest success in 2021?
Mobilizing the goodwill that permeates our community. This is not my success, but ours. Despite unknowns, exhaustion, and hardship, our generous community came together to raise and leverage a breathtaking $32.1M with United Way to support our region in 2021 — this is the hard work and commitment of 1,500 workplaces, 50,000 donors, and over 11,000 volunteers — all driven to contribute to the community they want to be a part of shaping and call home.
What are your expectations for 2022?
The “Great rethinking, reshuffle, and reflection” will continue and challenge us all to reconsider what we value personally and organizationally. We have gone through the unthinkable together. We will re-examine how things have been and how they can be. The old adage to “not let a crisis go to waste” rings true. Through the hardships of COVID, silver linings have also emerged that have made way for new ways of thinking and operating that provide tremendous opportunity as we move ahead in 2022.
What is your biggest takeaway from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
We can accomplish great things when we have a unified goal and work together — especially when we recognize and bring the best from the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. The innovation and quick response of our business community, the scale and positive power of good government, and the essential mission-driven services of our nonprofits create the ultimate success for our region. May we learn from this time and maximize what this powerful trifecta can accomplish when working together.
If time were no issue, what would you do to help the community that you aren’t already doing?
Spending concentrated and regular time walking block by block in neighborhoods and communities throughout the region, visiting with people I do not know, honoring their journeys, and listening to the hopes and dreams of our neighbors, especially our young people. There is so much that connects us, there is so much to learn, and there are great ideas and solutions we have yet to amplify.