A man who is no stranger to hard work on behalf of the agencies of the United Way, and the work they do, will take over the helm as executive director this fall.
United Way of Chatham-Kent’s Board President, Brad Langford, announced that Steve Pratt would become its new Chief Executive Officer. Pratt will replace Karen Kirkwood-Whyte, who has held the position since 1983 and recently announced her retirement, effective Aug. 17.
According to Langford, Pratt brings with him a blend of post-secondary education, a strong background in liaising with all levels of government, and extensive experience holding senior leadership positions in the business and non-profit sectors.
As a former recipient of United Way services, he said Pratt has first-hand knowledge of the benefits derived from charitable gifts to funded agencies. He demonstrated, on a personal level, the value of giving when he co-chaired the 2016 United Way campaign.
“Steve has a proven track record of delivering quality results, leading organizations through transformational change, building and leading high-performing teams, and collaborating with community partners, donors and service recipients,” Langford said.
When Kirkwood-Whyte was asked to describe the type of individual best suited to serve as her successor, she recommended the Board of Directors should seek an individual with a business head, a non-profit heart and clearly demonstrated leadership skills.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Steve for the past three years. He is one of the most multi-talented individuals I have met. It is clear that his passion and commitment to community will serve our organization well. I look forward to passing the baton to an individual who is focused on ensuring that our organizational mission – to improve lives and build community – is achieved,” said Kirkwood-Whyte.
“I am both humbled and honoured to accept this leadership position with an organization that affects over 40,000 lives each year in our community,” Pratt stated. “I look forward to working with the United Way Board of Directors, volunteers, and staff, to build ‘a strong and vibrant community free of poverty with children achieving all they can be.’”
A retirement party to acknowledge her years of service is currently being planned for Kirkwood-Whyte with the theme, “Karen Kirkwood-Whyte: This Is Your Life.” The event will be her last official fundraiser for United Way, and participants will be helping her to “give as she goes” in making a parting gift to a great cause.
Tickets are for the event are available at uwock.ca/event/this-is-your-life/.