UWRA: In what roles have you served during your United Way years?
Marian: I began my 30-year United Way career in 1974 as the childcare coordinator for United Way of Eastern Fairfield County (UWEFC) in Bridgeport, CT. With UWEFC, I served as the Associate Executive Director, Executive Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer. The title of President and Chief Executive Officer was rare in those days! In 1992, I joined the United Way of Massachusetts Bay in Boston (UWMB) as the President and CEO. I also served as CEO of the United Ways of New England. I retired from United Way in July 2004.
UWRA: What were some of your early successes?
Marian: UWEFC was chosen as the best United Way program in America and featured in the annual Presidential Message delivered by President George H.W. Bush. We were honored for our "Regional Youth Substance Abuse Prevention'' initiative. I was blessed with a great staff, a very involved board, and a fantastic group of volunteers, which allowed us to earn this type of recognition.
Another successful venture was our Alexis de Tocqueville efforts. I had my broker buy 1-5 shares of stock of every public company in our area, and I would take the annual reports with me when meeting CEOs and “encourage” them to increase their giving, host dinners, or help by recruiting others. Also, whenever a local couple was featured in Architectural Digest or another national magazine, I personally made cold calls to confirm their willingness to host a United Way dinner—and, they all said yes!
UWRA: You have worked with several U.S. presidents. Can you elaborate on some of those experiences?Marian: Early in my tenure, Bill Aramony suggested I represent United Way with President George H.W. Bush's "Thousand Points of Light." I agreed to meet with philanthropic giant Raymond G. Chambers, the chairman of this newly formed foundation. We discussed our thoughts about childcare in America, youth development, and the importance of volunteers. The following week, I was invited to the White House to talk about being the founding President and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation.
I accepted a three-month position, which turned into almost a year. During this hectic time, UWEFC surpassed campaign goals and received six awards for community leadership and programming. We were invited by President George H.W. Bush to meet him in Westchester as he arrived on Air Force One. My husband, the board chair, the incoming board chair, and the campaign chair attended this meeting. This meeting led to a long-standing relationship with the Points of Light Foundation.
I have now worked with six United States presidents: Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. With board support, I took a leave of absence to serve as the President and CEO of the Presidents' Summit for America's future. Presidents Bush and Clinton were the co-chairs, and retired General Colin Powell was the honorary chair. First Lady Hillary Clinton also played a prominent role.
UWRA: Who were your mentors?
Marian: My mentors included George Wilkinson. He demonstrated how critical it was to focus on research and data analysis as a part of our reports and presentations. That served me well!
One of our innovative programs was the Ambassador's Circle. The first Chairman was Oz Nelson, the CEO of UPS. Our first speaker was Jack Welch, CEO of GE. That was a fateful meeting, because Jack became my mentor. From Jack I learned the concept of wild-card planning and "how to plan" for success. Jack continued to be my mentor when he moved GE's world headquarters to Boston. I could write another book about Jack's words.
During 2018, we lost my great friend and long-term supporter, President George H.W. Bush. During 2020, both Jack Welch and Ed Ansin, another mentor, passed away. I feel blessed to have had these and many, many others in my life.
UWRA:Tell us about your time in Boston.
Marian: In 1992, I was asked to take over at the United Way of Massachusetts Bay in Boston (UWMB). Bill Aramony has just resigned amid an internal investigation and unfavorable news reports about the misuse of funds. To help reset the trajectory of the situation, Ray Chambers, a tremendous supporter and friend of mine, asked me the amount of the largest gift in Boston’s history. I confirmed it had been $35,000. Ever generous, Ray sent a check for $50,000 and asked me to tell the Boston United Way Board that someone they didn't know believed in me and offered this gift as a vote of confidence. From there, we simply got down to business!
We are excited to announce one of our newest Board Members Robert Hines. Robert brings a plethora of experience and executive leadership to the UWRA Board.
UWRA: Tell us about yourself.
Robert: I served six years in the United States Navy before being recruited by Amoco Oil Company (now BP Oil), where I spent 20 years of my professional career in various executive roles. My family and I moved seven times and lived in almost every region of the country during that time.
While living in Scottsdale, AZ, I was recruited to become President of the Upward Foundation, a school for K-12 special needs children. This opportunity was my initial introduction to working in the philanthropic world and led to my professional tenure with the United Way.
UWRA: Describe your history with United Way.
Robert: A United Way colleague invited me to assist with a unique project for the United Way in Albany, NY. As I was leaving Albany at the end of the project, I was offered the position of Campaign Director and humbly served in that role for three years.
In 2004, I was selected as the fourth President & CEO of United Way of Cumberland County in Fayetteville, NC, where I served for sixteen years, retiring in July 2020.
My time in Fayetteville filled me with such a sense of purpose and belonging. My proudest accomplishments include launching the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (which delivered nearly a half-million books to children in our community over the past 15 years) and collaborating with the Cumberland County School District on the Character Playbook (which helps students cultivate and maintain healthy relationships). The most lasting accomplishment of my tenure will undoubtedly be the United Way of Cumberland County Endowment. We invested $25,000 from our reserve account in 2004, and the investment is now valued at nearly $300,000.
Join us in welcoming one of our newest UWRA Board members Robert "Bob'' Ferriday II. Bob adds rich leadership experience to the UWRA Board as we embrace strategic initiatives and growth in 2021.
UWRA: Tell us about yourself.
Bob: I was born and raised in Indiana and earned a BS in Business from Purdue University. I completed my MBA from The Ohio State University while serving in the Air Force in Dayton, OH. In 1964, my late wife Sally, three young daughters, and I moved to Milwaukee. I spent the next 13 years of my career with Globe Union. The game-changer came in 1977 when I responded to a blind job posting that turned out to be a position with United Way of Greater Milwaukee (UWGM).
Family has always been most important to me. My wife Barbara and I were long-term good friends and both widowed. We married in 2003 and continue to share in the joy of our big extended family, including our six children, 18 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
UWRA: Describe your history with United Way.
Bob: I retired from the Milwaukee United Way in 2003, after serving 25 years as CFO and Operations Director working with four CEOs. It was a remarkable journey. I enjoyed learning about this caring business and will always cherish the relationships built with volunteers and staff.
Significant highlights during my time with United Way include growing resources, introducing new technologies, and finalizing a new UWGM headquarters site in a vacated Schlitz brewery. Participating in a four-community collaborative technology initiative to build out an electronic campaign information system to expand our reach and streamline giving was significant, too. After retiring, I returned on a part-time basis to head up a planned giving initiative where we secured a million-dollar foundation honorarium gift.
My years with United Way instilled a love for service and my community. I currently volunteer with several United Way funded agencies and other organizations close to my heart.