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United Way director resigns

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
November 5, 2010
— United Way of North Rock County leaders are looking for a new executive director after President Gail Graham resigned Wednesday.

"I'm done. Yesterday was my last day,'' she said.


Graham is leaving to care for her elderly in-laws, she said.


"That's where my heart is right now. They need the consistency of someone they know and trust. That's the role I'm going to play. I'm lucky to have such a wonderful family. I want to show them how much I love them,'' she said.


Graham met with executive committee members Wednesday.


"It's not something I think they were surprised by. Lynn (Gardinier, board chair) and I have been talking about this for some time,'' she said.


Graham said she leaves the United Way in good hands.


"I'm lucky enough to have a wonderful staff that can continue with the organization and its programs. They're awesome and have 89 years of experience between them. They've got it under control,'' she said.


Gardinier agreed: "We're obviously fortunate to have a strong, capable staff.''


Janine Peterson, vice president, was appointed Thursday by the executive committee to act as interim president, Gardinier said.


All the members of the search committee have not yet been appointed, but the executive committee will create a job description, post the position and go through the interview process so somebody can get on board as soon as possible, Gardinier said.


"We're not in any great hurry to fill it within the next month. We're thinking more like January as the ideal time to get someone in place so we can get the (current) campaign wrapped up successfully," she said.


During a preliminary discussion, United Way leaders decided applicants should possess strong leadership, fundraising and people skills, she said.


"That person will be the spokesperson for United Way, and fundraising is a very important part of the job,'' Gardinier said.


"Gail has done a fabulous job cross-training people, has a great name in the community and people understand her reasons for leaving and respect that," Gardinier said.


Graham replaced Gary Smith, who retired in August 2006. Her first day on the job was Dec. 1 that year.


Previously, Graham was coordinator of the YWCA's CARE House, a child advocacy center that specializes in child abuse issues. The United Way also employed her from 1982 through 1993, when she left to raise her family.



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