Uren selected to lead local United Way

Published 7:31 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023

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Following a rigorous nationwide search led by Korn Ferry, the United Way of South Hampton Roads board of directors and executive search committee selected Mark Uren as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer. 

Uren, who is currently the vice president of resource development at United Way of Forsyth County, North Carolina, will be moving to the Hampton Roads region from Winston-Salem and will assume the role on July 17, 2023.

The executive search committee, made up of corporate and community leaders, reviewed more than 500 resumes to narrow their focus to three exceptional final candidates, all with extensive United Way leadership experience, according to a news release. With 12 years of United Way tenure, prior CEO experience, a passion for collective impact, and a track record of leadership and fundraising success, the decision to select Uren was unanimously approved.

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 “On behalf of the entire board, I am thrilled to announce the selection of Mark for this critical role for UWSHR and for our community,” said Lewis Webb, chair of the UWSHR board of directors and head of the search committee. “As we work to deepen our connections to our donors and partners, we sought a servant leader that reflected our core values. Mark’s leadership style perfectly aligned with how we approach our work, and I am confident he will steward our strong legacy into an even brighter future.”

Uren has spent more than 25 years in nonprofit leadership with responsibilities over finance, operations, fundraising, IT and marketing, according to the United Way release. 

At the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, he played an active role in two capital campaigns and directly managed a capital expansion project and construction of the Triad Community Kitchen. 

As the executive director at Forsyth Humane Society, he led the group through a period of dramatic reorganization to prepare for a capital campaign for a new state-of-the-art facility.

In his current role at United Way of Forsyth County, the release said he leads strategy and execution of all development activities raising over $15 million annually.

“I have dedicated my life to public service, and I am excited and humbled that the selection committee has entrusted me to lead this amazing organization into the next 100 years,” Uren said. “I know every community has unique challenges, but I am confident that by working together, we can create a brighter future for our entire region. I look forward to partnering with our dedicated staff, volunteers, donors, and other community partners as we face these challenges and bring positive change, so all our neighbors have the opportunity to thrive.”

Additionally, as a participant in United Way Worldwide’s Advanced Leadership Program, Uren received extensive leadership training and continues to receive support from a team of national United Way leaders, making him uniquely prepared to assume this role, according to the release. 

“I am incredibly excited to welcome Mark as our new president and CEO,” said Erin Ruane, vice chair of the UWSHR board of directors and a member of the search committee. “He stood out in our wide candidate pool as a proven leader with the right experience, skill set and demeanor, and his commitment to United Way is beyond impressive. In each of my interactions with Mark, he has proven himself to be strong, steady and focused. I know he will lead UWSHR with vision and warmth. His style is one of inclusivity – humbly building relationships by listening first to understand and then leveraging others to turn those insights into action. I look forward to working alongside Mark and learning from him as well.”

Prior CEO Michele Anderson left the position in January and since then Dr. Kristel Fitzgerald, chief operating officer, and Kelsey Mohring, chief marketing and strategy officer have been co-leading the organization. 

For more information about United Way of South Hampton Roads, visit unitedwayshr.org.