Pictured: Janelle Marietta (left) passes leadership of United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta to new executive director Jaci Zalesak
LETHBRIDGE-As the local United Way gears up for the 2022 Community Fundraising Campaign, the organization welcomes a new, yet familiar face to the captain’s chair. Former chair of the board of directors, Jaci Zalesak has been selected to take on the role of executive director as Janelle Marietta departs to pursue a PhD at the University of Lethbridge this fall.
Zalesak says she’s looking forward to what is expected to be a very busy season.
“It’s exciting to be able to carry on with the significant work that has been going on here. As we pivot through the challenges of the past few years, and re-open the doors, I look forward to continuing the many collaborations that have progressed over the years.”
Newly elected board chair Krysty Thomas explains that upon Marietta’s announcement, a hiring committee was struck which included members of the board and community stakeholders. Over three weeks, the position received applications from all across Canada.
“After a thorough interview process, it became clear that Jaci has an excellent combination of skills and experience,” said Thomas. “These, combined with her previous knowledge of the organization will mean strong leadership into the next campaign season and beyond. On behalf of the board of directors, we look forward to working with her.”
Marietta’s long-standing background in nonprofit work, education in management and social marketing, and life experience lent themselves extremely well to the organization for five years, and she leaves the organization in a strong position to continue the work of collective impact.
“It’s been amazing getting to know our community through this lens,” she said. “It’s incredible to see the good things that can happen when we work together. Obviously, there will be challenges ahead, but it’s exciting and empowering to see so many people doing incredible things for the community.”
Marietta’s PhD work will focus on Cultural, Social and Political Thought, and applying social marketing to local programs, particularly those serving newcomers, and finding ways to collaborate, support and create better opportunities for people. The United Way team and board of directors wishes her success in this.
Zalesak says the upcoming Community Fundraising campaign will be an important one.
“As we continue building the United Way as an organization, my focus will be on growing our Community Fund so that we’ll be in the best possible position to support the needs our community is facing,” she said. “It’ll take all of us, and I welcome conversations with businesses, partners, and local organizations to see how we can move forward together.”
The United Way Community Fundraising Campaign runs from September to December each year. There are many ways to be involved. For more information on how to help, please contact United Way at 403-327-1700 or visit www.lethbridgeunitedway.ca.